Responsible Tourism: Evaluating Your Commitment

A principle component of being a responsible tourism operator is setting benchmarks and monitoring progress. Self-evaluation will help you to assess your efforts in managing the impacts of your operation.


Record the following measures you have taken to implement responsible tourism practices, using statistics wherever possible.

Economic Impact

  • What are you doing to recruit, employ and train local and previously disadvantaged people?
  • What are you doing to purchase services and products locally?
  • What economic benefits do neighbouring communities gain from your business?
  • What is the ownership and management structure of your enterprise?
  • How are you encouraging guests to spend money in the local economy?

Social Impact

  • How are you encouraging your customers to interact with local people and learn about local culture and traditions?
  • How are you raising local awareness about tourism and increasing local residents’ access to your tourism product?
  • What efforts have you made to improve education, health and infrastructure for local residents?
  • What systems have you put in place to promote equality in the workplace, in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and disability?
  • How do you encourage your guests and staff to interact respectfully with local residents?

Environmental Impact

  • What are you doing to improve the conservation of South African wildlife, habitats and natural areas?
  • How do you dispose of different types of waste and reduce the amount of waste generated by your business?
  • What are you doing to conserve energy?
  • What are you doing to reduce the amount of water consumed by your business?
  • What have you done to reduce the impacts of products and packaging on the environment?

You may also want to read our blog titled ‘Using Tourism Indicators for Monitoring and Evaluation’ which you will find here.

This is one of a series of short blogs on Responsible Tourism that will deal with everything from ‘Evaluating your commitment’ to ‘Motivating Guests to be Responsible’ and from ‘Economic responsibility’ to ‘Environmental responsibility’. Come back soon!

With acknowledgement to South Africa’s 2002 Responsible Tourism Manual and Responsible Tourism Handbook.

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