How does travel benefit the mindset

You should pay attention to this when traveling to developing and emerging countries

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  5. 12 tips for fair travel

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) counted 1,035 million trips abroad in 2012 - worldwide. This was the first time that more than a billion people traveled abroad within one year.

Strangers, cultures, and long-distance travel has never been so cheap. Almost half of all trips are to developing and emerging countries, which gives tourism an important place in North-South relations. Tourism is one of the world's most important economic sectors. This opens up opportunities for the target countries: tourism creates jobs in and, traditional handicrafts are promoted, art and souvenir production and trade offer additional sources of income for the local population.

Developing countries are therefore hoping for an economic upswing from tourism. The price for this is often high, because tourism can also increase social inequalities, cause environmental problems and overwhelm local cultures.

With good preparation and the selection of socially responsible and environmentally friendly trips, you can lay the foundations before your holiday so that your trip will be a positive, unforgettable experience for you and your hosts.

What does fair travel mean?

  • Respect for foreign cultures
  • Involvement of the local population
  • Respect for human rights

12 tips for fair travel

  • Get informed: Good preparation helps to better understand a travel destination and the local people and thus to experience more. Travel in your head first! You can find information in travel guides, specialist literature and international reports on the radio, television and on the Internet. You can find web links, for example, at and Good travel guides not only describe tourist destinations and sights, but also the people and their everyday culture (travel guides of a special kind: SympathieMagazine). You can also get deeper insights into the way people live and think in other parts of the world through contemporary literature.

  • Understanding: You should definitely have a little command of the English language and be confident enough to speak it. In Latin America, Spanish is important; in Africa, French is sometimes helpful. At least learn the words and gestures commonly used in the holiday area for “good afternoon”, “goodbye” and “thank you”. However, one does not say “thank you” all the time in every country. A smile or a nod is often enough. You can download an English translation app for smartphones at It offers you important words in different languages ​​from Arabic to Khmer to Swahili including audio files for correct pronunciation.

  • Labels for sustainable tourism: The labels can be a useful guide when deciding on accommodation, or a tour, because they show the extent to which a provider is committed to sustainability beyond the legal requirements. In general, the following applies: A label gains credibility through a transparent presentation of the certification criteria, which includes both ecological and social indicators and an independent review. A “guide through the label jungle”, which presents 20 quality seals for accommodation providers, tour operators and travel offers, can be found at The international portal DestiNet describes many other certificates with regard to their sustainability standards, test procedures and geographical areas of application.

  • Flying and climate protection: The airplane is the most harmful to the climate of all means of transport - a single long-distance flight already significantly exceeds the “climate-friendly” emissions budget that a person would have for a whole year. Global air traffic currently accounts for at least 5 percent of man-made climate change and is the world's fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. It is estimated that emissions from aviation will increase by 4 to 6 times over the next 40 years if there is no reduction in air traffic. Tips for climate-fair travel: Fly less often and stay there longer. A rule of thumb: for a flight of up to 2,000 km you should stay at least 8 days, over 2,000 km choose a stay of at least 14 days.

  • Choice of hotel: Small, simple accommodations often belong to the operators themselves. The money you spend there usually benefits the local population. However, employees are often poorly paid, especially in small businesses outside Europe. They often have to work long hours and exploitative child labor is no exception. The income from international luxury hotels, on the other hand, often goes to large corporations. However, the employees there often have better or at least regulated working conditions. Medium-sized, locally owned hotels can be a good compromise. If you notice poor working conditions or inadequate handling of rubbish and water, speak to the hotel owner about it or inform your tour operator.

  • Souvenirs: When buying souvenirs, make sure that they were actually made in your holiday destination. In doing so, you support local handicrafts and strengthen the regional economy. Do not take secret finds from archaeological sites with you. These are often valuable cultural treasures that are better kept in the local museum. Do not buy products made from endangered animal and plant species (such as crocodile leather bags, ivory carvings, stuffed animals). Their importation is punishable in Germany (and not only here) for reasons of species protection. Find out about the respective import and export regulations. For example, corals as a souvenir can cause trouble when you leave.

  • Bargaining and bargaining: Colorful markets and bazaars are among the highlights of every trip. However, haggling, i.e. to achieve the lowest possible price through skillful negotiation, has to be learned. Only haggle if you are really interested: doing the right thing is communication and game at the same time. It has to be fair. The more you smile while you bargain, the more fun it is. If you accept the former price with a grim face, you will lose money and you will not be a partner for good and fair business. A glass of tea is part of the ritual in oriental bazaars. It doesn't oblige you to anything. If you don't want to bargain, you'd better buy from fixed-price stores.

  • : Not everyone benefits equally from tourism. Locals who do not have a formal job in tourism try to earn an income by selling home-made jewelry or food, for example. If you are approached by a hawker on the beach, make sure that he is also trying to earn a small income in tourism. Also treat hawkers with respect. They are trying to make a living for themselves and their families. Do not react annoyed to sales talks that may initially appear penetrative. Many hawkers and traders are extremely poor. They often have clear lower price limits. Do not haggle mercilessly for every penny!

  • Water is. It is very scarce in many vacation areas and should not be thoughtlessly wasted. Find out about the water conditions in the destination country and, if possible, choose hotels whose water consumption is adapted to the landscape. Extensive hotel complexes, whose park-like lawns have to be watered, increase water consumption. Only shower briefly if there is a shortage of water. When you brush your teeth, turn off the tap and report leaking taps. Defend yourself against daily changing of towels and hotel bed linen. This saves water and chemicals.

  • Energy: A moderate use of energy is particularly important when traveling to countries in the South. Do you really need the air conditioning? If not, just skip this - it can also save you an unpleasant cold. The same applies to heating: By lowering the room temperature in your hotel room from 20 to 18 degrees, for example, you can save 3 to 5 percent energy. If wood is scarce in the holiday region, you should refrain from campfires even as a fan. Leave the precious raw material to the locals, who often have few alternatives. Make sure that kerosene, not wood, is used to cook on mountain tours.

  • Sports and other activities: Many adventure sports cause ecological damage. Climbing, mountain biking, rafting and other sports should only be practiced in designated areas. Don't leave any rubbish behind and avoid motorized nature exploration - nature is best experienced on foot or by bike! Stay on the marked trails, do not camp wild and do not light a fire. Caution is also advised when smoking.

  • Crime: There is increased crime all over the world and in tourist locations. The lack of prospects for many young people and poorly functioning legal systems are the reasons for this. Be attentive and keep your eyes open. Carry money and documents directly on your body and distribute valuables in several places. You shouldn't be afraid, because fear is a bad advisor in any situation. Inquire in advance about emergency numbers and German or English speaking doctors.

Fair travel with heart and mind

... from Tourism Watch at Bread for the World encourages a discussion of the effects of tourism and gives practical tips on fair and socially responsible travel, humorous and without wagging a forefinger.

We would like to thank Bread for the World for making the brochure “Travel Fairly with Heart and Mind” available to us.

You can download it here as a PDF or order it free of charge.

Tourism is considered a beacon of hope almost everywhere in the world. It offers 240 million jobs worldwide, is the most important source of foreign exchange for every third developing country and appears to have inexhaustible growth potential. The question, however, is how tourism can be designed to be development-friendly and sustainable.

Tourism potential: Sustainable and development-friendly

Year of Sustainable Tourism

In November 2015 in Rio, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2017 the “Year of Sustainable Tourism”. The final document of the conference says: "Well-designed and managed tourism can make a significant contribution to, it is closely related to other sectors, can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities."

The world's largest tourism trade fair ITB in Berlin has also been focusing on environmental protection and sustainability for years - a sign that more and more people are choosing a sustainable form of tourism. In the download area of ​​the website there is a document for exhibitors who want to make their trade fair appearance environmentally conscious and sustainable. In addition, the ITB takes up current sustainability issues at various so-called events.

That would be a dream: Travel how and where you want, but without harming the climate. Is there any climate-neutral travel and if so, how does it work? Are honest and useful or just a kind?

Is climate-neutral travel possible?

March 2017

Further information from Bread for the World