The COVID-19 pandemic almost brought the Zimbabwean tourism industry to its knees in the past two years as lockdown restrictions were implemented in order to contain the novel coronavirus. The relaxation of restrictions following a decline in cases rejuvenated the industry, but for sustainability, we need to avoid irresponsible behaviour.
A responsible tourist is one who tries by all means to minimise negative social, economic and environmental impacts; generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities. Responsible tourism calls for all stakeholders including tourists, local communities, hospitality services providers and the government, amongst others to cultivate and water a culture of responsible travel.
Responsible tourism also aims is to provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues. As responsible tourists, we must ensure that we minimise pollution and disturbance of natural ecosystems especially if we are traveling in large numbers.
We can learn from the demonstration of responsible behaviour by the April Camp de Tuli crew, a programme organised by the Rural Enterprise Development Trust with the aim to promote local and rural tourism. The crew took time to interact with local people, left no traceable damage on the environment and appreciated local businesses.
The breath-taking aesthetic value of the environment that accommodates us during our tours can be made unattractive by irresponsible behaviour. Be a responsible traveller and contribute to the attainment of sustainable tourism targets.