Tourism Concern was founded in 1989 to give a voice to people impacted by the development of the industry around the world, to stand up for their human rights and help them protect their environment.
In 2018, the charity was forced to close. Since then we have been in discussion with their founders and trustees about how we might ensure as much as possible of their vital, ground-breaking work carries on, and will remain freely accessible for those that need it most.
All of Tourism Concern’s reports, ethical dilemmas, online annual reports, and back issues of the In Focus magazine can now be found here at Travindy. A selection of articles from its archive have also been added to our website. We do not own the copyright to any of this content and they will always remain free for anyone to use, share or copy.
You can also read the inside story of Tourism Concern’s pioneering 30 years of activism, as told by the organisation’s founder, Alison Stancliffe.
In addition, the entire Tourism Concern website archive will soon be available on The British Library’s web archive. When it is we will update this page and link directly to it.
Although there is an increasing awareness of animal welfare issues, many tourists are unaware of how their daily decisions impact both animals and local residents in tourist destinations. These include human rights issues, as well as animal welfare concerns. Tourists have a responsibility to ensure that, if they are paying and supporting an activity, they are not encouraging and sustaining the mistreatment of animals. With this in mind, tourists should seek activities that will support local people and prevent harm.
This report introduces some of the key issues surrounding Indigenous peoples and tourism. It is split into sections dealing with main themes, offering examples of both good and bad practice. The themes included are: marketing, ecotourism, spirituality, land rights and control. Our aim is to promote discussion and offer guidelines for best practice in this growing industry.
Slum tourism – which involves touring marginalised and impoverished areas that tourists would normally never visit – is becoming increasingly popular in many locations around the world. Proponents argue that it can enable economic and social mobility for residents and that it can also change the perspectives of those visiting. However, many critics see it as little more than voyeuristic classicism with potentially damaging consequences and few benefits for those who live in the slums.
Whether it’s travel by river boat on the Rhine or aboard one of the gigantic ships that ply the Caribbean, cruise tourism is becoming ever more popular. But is this form of tourism ethical and sustainable? Does it bring real benefits to local communities in the places visited?
Following on from our previous work in southern India, we have been working with local partners in Alleppey to develop a code of conduct for houseboat tourism since December 2014.Houseboat tourism is a wonderful way to experience the beauty and tranquility of the backwaters. It could and should be a model of ethical tourism, and a valuable and sustainable source of local employment and income. Unfortunately, though, it is expanding in an unregulated and unsustainable way.
A survey of over 1700 holidaymakers found that the majority believe that the shift towards all-inclusive holidays is a negative development. However most people thought that tourists benefit from all-inclusive holidays, but equally that local communities were worse off.
Volunteering can be a rewarding and sometimes life-changing experience. It can also contribute something to the people in the place where you volunteer. However, this is not necessarily the case. This briefing seeks to identify the questions you need to ask in seeking a worthwhile volunteering experience.
In 2013, Tourism Concern supported by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) undertook the research detailed in this report in order to seek to understand more fully how the all-inclusive model of tourism impacts upon the rights of hotel workers. The primary aim was to generate new evidence and understanding about how the all-inclusive holiday model impacts upon pay, working conditions and labour rights of hotel employees in the selected destinations, including comparison with those in other types of hotel.
Tourism Concern reveals the stark inequities of water access and consumption between tourist resorts and local people in developing countries. Tourism Concern demands concerted action by governments and the tourism sector to protect community water rights over tourist luxury. Featuring research from Bali, The Gambia, Zanzibar, and Goa and Kerala, south India, the report finds that the unsustainable appropriation, depletion and pollution of water by poorly regulated tourism are threatening the environment, while undermining living standards, livelihoods and development opportunities of impoverished local communities.
Many in the tourism industry are increasingly embracing the sustainability agenda. This includes some of the smallest and largest tour operators, hotel groups and travel trade associations. The next challenge is for the industry to recognise that true sustainability means taking a human rights approach to tourism. This briefing makes the business case for doing so. A human rights approach means recognising and addressing the multiple human rights impacts and issues associated with tourism. It makes business sense on several levels. This includes risk management, competitive advantage, social sustainability, and business leadership and ethics.
This report exposes the violations of human rights that have occurred as a direct result of tourism through an examination of key articles of the UDHR and subsequent UN declarations. It challenges the UK Government and industry to recognise that human rights are a fundamental element of any sustainable approach to development – including tourism development, and calls for action to ensure their protection
Tour operators in Europe sell a profitable and highly desirable product. In order to do so they contract with distributors, transport providers, sales agents and hotels all over the world. The demand created by consumers, using the tourism product, creates millions of jobs world-wide. However, labour rights and working conditions are invisible on the corporate social responsibility agenda. Low wages, poor conditions and negligible promotion prospects are consistent across the tourism sector in both rich and poor countries and, ironically, often worst in developed economies where human rights, democracy and good governance infrastructure is strong.
Is it OK to ride an elephant? Go on a cruise or haggle for goods? Most people don’t set out to cause harm, but can unwittingly do so. Our aim to change consumer behavior in order that people make better and more informed choices about their holidays. Read our series of Ethical Travel Dilemmas.
Ethical travellers should take some time and find our about the options before taking part in elephant tourism – all good tour operators will have a policy on elephant tourism and if they do offer treks should be able to justify the options they offer.
Every country and person has their own norms and codes of conduct; but should you adjust to them, even if you don’t necessarily agree?
It is becoming common on holidays of many kinds for tourists to be invited to take part in ‘spiritual experiences’. But is it OK to say yes?
Volunteers need to be realistic in what they can offer and appreciate that however well meaning volunteering may result in more harm than good.
We urgently need to start thinking about how tourism will look in 2030 and beyond
Certain souvenirs and gifts are sourced from local animals and in some case can threaten the survival of local species.
Tourists sometimes feel that the need to drive a hard bargain, but local people need to make a living so people should expect to pay a fair price – not the lowest possible.
Is this form of tourism ethical and sustainable? Is it acceptable ethically to take a cruise?
There may be culturally sensitive issues to think about before reaching for the camera or phone.
Going on holiday to exotic destinations seems the perfect opportunity to get up close with wild animals, but things are not always as they seem.
Should people still decide to visit or volunteer in orphanages, they should know they could be contributing to harm of the children.
Online rental platforms are part of the new world being forged all around us, and here to stay. But they are not a sure fire win-win for the local community.
IN FOCUS MAGAZINE BACK ISSUES
ANNUAL REPORTS 2006-2017
- Annual Report 2017
- Annual Report 2016
- Annual Report 2015
- Annual Report 2014
- Annual Report 2013
- Annual Report 2012
- Annual Report 2011
- Annual Report 2010
- Annual Report 2009
- Annual Report 2008
- Annual Report 2007
- Annual Report 2006
DIGITAL AND PRINT ARCHIVE
Thanks to the British Library, a website archive covering the last ten years of Tourism Concern’s web presence will soon be publically available.
An extensive paper based collection recording Tourism Concern’s actions and achievements since its formal founding in 1989 is stored in Warwick University’s Modern Records Centre (which specialises in archive collections of pressure groups). Tourism Concern’s first newsletters, issues of its long running magazine In Focus, press cuttings, annual reports and publications are there, along with papers and documents relating to how and why Tourism Concern was founded.
The archive contents have been catalogued online by the MRC. Personal visitors can access the original papers and publications free of charge.