First things first, ethical travel is important anywhere and everywhere you go. However, in Asia, specifically the developing countries within Asia, opting for ethical travel can have a huge impact. If you’re wondering what that impact is, then read on to learn about the various benefits of ethical travel:
Supports local craftsmanship
By choosing to shop local, you’re supporting local craftsmanship and the lives of these traditional artisans. In many developed and developing countries around the world, fast fashion is a huge problem, not only because of worker exploitation but also for its detrimental effects on our environment. Locals are also competing with fast fashion despite how many fast fashion brands actually produce their goods in Asia. So next time you’re shopping whilst travelling, think twice about where you shop. Plus, local items mean unique items, whereas fast fashion items are available around the world.
Supports local causes
While on the topic of shopping, brands with a cause exist everywhere; it just requires some digging to find out! For example, in Laos, Ock Pop Tok empowers local women for crafting local textiles. Meanwhile, in Myanmar, Friends The Restaurant employs youth who were formerly on the streets. Remember, choosing local includes choosing local restaurants, accommodation, and the likes.
When you think heavenly islands, think Oceania. With so much natural beauty on display, it has some of the most luxurious retreats offering an eco-friendly escape:
Supports communities in need
If you’re searching for an adventure while travelling, a community homestay or trek can definitely provide that adrenaline. What’s even better than a homestay or trek with locals? Ethical homestays or treks, of course! In Nepal, Community Homestay provides job opportunities for women in villages who would otherwise be unemployed. Instead, these women now share their traditions and culture with foreigners – a win-win situation!
Supports the voiceless
In Asia, it’s unfortunately common for exotic animals to be displayed for profit. Naturally, the animals are affected negatively. Just imagine living in a cage with people constantly eyeballing you. However, there are ethical animal sanctuaries out there – such as the Mondulkiri Project in Cambodia. Here, they ensure the safety and wellbeing of the local elephants. Besides that, they also employ local villagers. If you were thinking of riding an elephant in Thailand (where the activity was made infamous), please think again as the activity is actually classified as animal cruelty.
Supports the local economy
Most importantly, choosing to travel in an ethical manner supports the local economy of the country that you’re visiting. This means the country can continue developing and providing for its people. Instead of just travelling through a country, ethical travel ensures that you respect the country you’re visiting by respecting the people of the nation you’re discovering. For example, haggling over goods at a local market is common and sometimes necessary (when you’re being taken advantage of for being a tourist), but remember that at the end of the day, the person you’re haggling with probably needs the money more than you.