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Welsh Responsible Tourism Group


What is “Responsible Tourism”?

Relishing the diversity of our world's cultures, habitats and species and the wealth of our cultural and natural heritage, as the very basis of tourism, we accept that responsible and sustainable tourism will be achieved in different ways in different places.
Accepting that, in the words of the Global Code of Ethics, an attitude of tolerance and respect for the diversity of religious, philosophical and moral beliefs, are both the foundation and the consequence of responsible tourism.
Recognising that Responsible Tourism takes many forms, that different destinations and stakeholders will have different priorities, and that local policies and guidelines will need to be developed through multi-stakeholder processes to develop responsible tourism in destinations.

Having the following characteristics, Responsible Tourism:

  • minimises negative economic, environmental, and social impacts;
  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry;
  • involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
  • makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world's diversity;
  • provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues;
  • provides access for physically challenged people; and
  • is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence

We call upon countries, multilateral agencies, destinations and enterprises to develop similar practical guidelines and to encourage planning authorities, tourism businesses, tourists and local communities - to take responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit.
Responsible tourism seeks to maximise positive impacts and to minimise negative ones. Compliance with all relevant international and national standards, laws and regulations is assumed. Responsibility, and the market advantage that can go with it, is about doing more than the minimum.
We recognise that the transparent and auditable reporting of progress towards achieving responsible tourism targets and benchmarking is essential to the integrity and credibility of our work, to the ability of all stakeholders to assess progress and to enable consumers to exercise effective choice.
We commit to making our contribution to move towards a more balanced relationship between hosts and guests in destinations, and to create better places for local communities and indigenous peoples; and recognising that this can only be achieved by government, local communities and business cooperating on practical initiatives in destinations.

This is an abridged version of the Cape Town Declaration available at http://www.responsibletourismpartnership.org/CapeTown.html

The International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) brings together all those who support the ‘Principles of the Cape Town Declaration’. There are sister organisations in a number of countries, and others pursuing the idea of using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. The ICRT seeks to encourage and enable people to take responsibility for making the changes necessary to make tourism more sustainable, by researching the issues around the sustainability of tourism and advocating solutions based on research and scholarly activity.

Impetus for the founding of the Welsh Responsible Tourism Group
Tourism accounts for £6.2bn of GDP and 13.3% of the total economy of Wales (more than in any other region of the UK) and the visitor economy is forecast to grow by a further 20% by 2020 (“The Economic Case for the Visitor Economy”, Deloitte & Oxford Economics, June 2010).

In September 2011 The Wales Business Minister Edwina Hart designated tourism as a priority sector for the Welsh economy, saying:
“By making [tourism] a priority sector we can strengthen the distinctive national identity Wales has in the UK and internationally as a place to visit, invest in and as a place to do business.”
Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Panel for tourism in Wales, stated: 
“We shall be aiming to bring a fresh approach to tourism development in Wales, we need to think outside the box and to be innovative and shall be looking at how the aspirations of the tourism industry in Wales can be developed to bear fruit in terms of job creation and income."

Work undertaken by the Welsh Institute for Natural Resources has highlighted the importance of tourism for sustainable development, and the “National Ecosystem Assessment” for Wales (coordinated by the Wales Environment Research Hub) has also identified tourism as a crucial “cultural ecosystem service” for Wales.
However, responsible tourism expertise within the Welsh higher education sector is limited and widely dispersed. WRTG will therefore seek to engage with partners across Wales, to create a school of expertise combining complimentary skills from a range of organisations, in order to offer world class training, research and advisory services within Wales and internationally.