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Tourist pledges as a tool to reduce damage from tourism

joe

500+ Posts
An article from CNN describes how some tourist destinations in the world are creating a pledge to educate tourists and encourage them to behave properly during their visit. For example, the Icelandic Pledge. This is deemed as a more appropriate way to influence tourist behavior, than standard signs and admonitions.

From the article :

"While pledges are only a small piece of tourism management, the hope is that by getting visitors to think about a destination as more than just a backdrop to their vacation photos, they'll act more thoughtfully.
"People want to do the right thing," says Alsop, "and this is a soft way to give direction."
He goes on to say the overall goal of the pledge is to reduce damage to the environment and curtail conflicts between guests and locals.
"We want guests to have a meaningful experience," he says. "But we also want them to know that this is our home and after they leave, we'll still be here, depending on it." "
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Personally I like the idea, though it's dependent on how clever they are at pitching it according to the audience, plus the responsiveness of tourists, many of whom have previously shown very little interest in the underlying culture, nor indeed the problems they create. Definitely worth trying, though I fear it will be an uphill battle.
 

joe

500+ Posts
Personally I like the idea, though it's dependent on how clever they are at pitching it according to the audience, plus the responsiveness of tourists, many of whom have previously shown very little interest in the underlying culture, nor indeed the problems they create. Definitely worth trying, though I fear it will be an uphill battle.
I'm with you, Ian : this is generally a good idea and one that I'd be happy to see implemented (and effective) in many locations. I would certainly be happy to sign one of these, even though I consider myself to be a conscientious tourist and am respectful when I am a stranger in a strange land.

I think that we can also give credit to the local institutions that try and advance this type of thing. I am sure that any place in the world that has experienced a surge in tourism has to deal with conflicting sentiments among the locals concerning increased tourism. Striking the right balance is not easy, but a tourist pledge seems to be a proper way to find the sweet spot between conflicting views and interests.

In this respect, a sense of community, and co-operation within it, is a great asset (as always). While not exactly connected to tourism, I am reminded that when we visited Bubbio, Asti, for the first time, in 2008, I was impressed with a sign at the entrance to the town signifying that it is a community against GMOs (genetically modified organisms). I know that you are familiar with the town. Maybe you felt, as I did when meeting people there, that there was something like a sense of community there. It was probably not that easy to have everyone agree that this should be singled out to be purposely designated.

Just for kicks, I checked Google Street View now to see if the sign is still there - and lo and behold, it sure is. I am attaching below the screenshot. The date says July 2019.

A tourist pledge like this certainly has to involve a parallel commitment by the locals to "walk the talk". No tourist is going to be impressed by a pledge requesting non-littering in a place where they don't collect the garbage.
And in this day and age, when so many people are fed up with gimmicks of every kind, I think that there will certainly be readiness on the part of tourists to belong to a genuine effort in a good cause.

And what good causes aren't uphill battles? ;)

bubbio.png
 
Last edited:

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Hi Joe
We certainly found Bubbio friendly, though by staying in an Agriturismo, we didn't mix quite as much as if renting an apartment. Nonetheless the decently stocked Alimentari was a friendly place and the evenings eating in the Agriturismo were certainly convivial (with I presume most of the larger tables being local groups / families). In terms of sense of community - yes, though it's also come through strongly in a lot of other places.

For walking the walk, and really working hard to get tourists (and locals) to be responsible, the Cinque Terre villages (and especially Riomaggiore) stood out the most for us. My partner is from New Zealand and they've been a couple of decades ahead of the Uk in terms of recycling and responsible waste disposal. Seeing the wide range of recycling bins was very pleasing (and she was impressed), but also they worked hard on wider publicity and ring-fencing of funds to protect the community. They've got good reason to feel the need to protect what they have, but other locations could learn a lot from them.

I like your comment re: the message unemptied bins say to a potential litterer. I like to think that most people will do the right thing if doing the right thing is easy enough. The harder we make it for them (or the less effort we make ourselves), the fewer will make any effort. In addition though, the bigger the volume of tourists, the greater the chance of getting people who just don't think / care, and the danger of that, is that their behaviour can normalise such disrespect for others. Hence why Pisa around the field of miracles is pretty disgusting and the overpriced rubbish in the area & from there to the two stations gives the impression that 'Pisa' is disgusting and not worthy of any effort, creating a downward spiral. FWIW Pisa itself is much better, but does get missed by much mass tourism. Whenever anyone says Pisa is disgusting, I'm confident they never actually made it into the city centre. I may also smile wryly!

Regards
Ian
 

Ratnasdiary

New Member
An article from CNN describes how some tourist destinations in the world are creating a pledge to educate tourists and encourage them to behave properly during their visit. For example, the Icelandic Pledge. This is deemed as a more appropriate way to influence tourist behavior, than standard signs and admonitions.

From the article :

"While pledges are only a small piece of tourism management, the hope is that by getting visitors to think about a destination as more than just a backdrop to their vacation photos, they'll act more thoughtfully.
"People want to do the right thing," says Alsop, "and this is a soft way to give direction."
He goes on to say the overall goal of the pledge is to reduce damage to the environment and curtail conflicts between guests and locals.
"We want guests to have a meaningful experience," he says. "But we also want them to know that this is our home and after they leave, we'll still be here, depending on it." "
Totally agree ! It's high time we educate people around us about benefits of eco-tourism.
 

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