More lingo to learn
Transformative tourism refers to experiences that bring about significant changes to a region – and those that are, hopefully, positive. An example is Bhutan’s carefully curated tourism programme, which charges visitors a set sustainable development fee (SDF) of US$200 per person, per night. This income is used to support tourism infrastructure throughout the country, as well as provisioning towards the local health and education systems. A significant part of the aforementioned infrastructure includes maintaining large areas of native forest, preserving heritage architecture throughout the country and training local people to be guides. As a visitor, you are paying upfront of a trip in which you are personally guided on a immersive journey through both culture and landscape, learning about local customs, language and a deep-rooted heritage.
Community tourism, meanwhile, highlights the need to centre local people and knowledge within travel experiences. From eating out at community restaurants to meeting and engaging in Indigenous-led activities, your expenditure not only goes directly back into the local economy, but your presence will also produce employment opportunities. G Adventures’ Planeterra programme is a strong example of this, where small group tours to lesser visited regions result in investment into valuable local projects that uplift communities.
While it might take some time to decipher why a particular phrase is being used in travel writing, what’s important is to realise these terms present a similar idea. That we need to be more aware of our footprint when on holiday – and we can do that by acknowledging the importance of the local people and environments that host us. No matter what kind of trip you’re planning, simply looking to the local community will help you to be a more a responsible traveller.