A Conversation for How to Be a Successful Tourist
So, what sort of tourist are you?
Bob Dodd Started conversation Sep 2, 2001
The problem with being a "tourist" is that it's such a relative term. One man's holiday with the kids is another man's eco-terrorism...
Take sunny India, and Goa in particular. Lovely sandy beaches, cheap flights, relatively cheap beer, a chance to experience other cultures. Unless of course you're a local farmer who's struggling to irrigate his crops because the water table has dropped 20 feet. Or indeed if you've been kicked out of your house and fields to make way for an all-inclusive beach resort, only to be paid a pittance to come back and act out your previous existence for the delight of the visiting tourists. Goa has suffered both water problems and land evictions in the past. At one point a few years ago, one of the top resorts started helicopering guests into their resort because the locals had started throwing cow-dung (amongst other feces...) at the passing tourist buses.
I don't write this to put people off visiting Goa, other parts of India, or indeed any other country, but you do have to decide how you want to be perceived by the locals, your god, and to a growing extent, your peers.
From my own experience, I would suggest the way to think about it is to consider how much of your holiday money is going to get into the the hands of locals, and how much is swallowed up by big travel companies. If you are staying in a little local family-run hotel, and not one of the big chains, then at least you are participating in the local economy. You also do that when you eat in local restaurants and not in your big hotel; money spent in big resort hotels usually goes to large corporations, with little of the profits going anywhere near the community you visited.
We have a choice. We can be proud to be a tourist, or we can skulk around in our resort hotels using the local farmer's water for our
showers, and watching his old neighbours play-acting their old lives.
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