If a hotel that we are staying at is someone’s home,
If the water of a swimming pool that we swim in is someone’s drinking water,
If forests are destroyed and animals are mistreated for our joy,
Why don’t we imagine about new travel?
-“A trip to hope” by Young-shin Lim &, Hye-young Lee
After the long vacation, a new semester has already began. Perhaps most of you travelled at least once during the vacation. Then, what does ‘travel’ mean to you? Breaking away from the routine of daily life or meeting new people and experiencing a new environment? All meaning that you give to travel is valuable, but do you forget to care about the culture, economy, and nature of the place where you travel? If you do, let’s investigate ‘fair travel’, which helps all aspects of a place.
Appearance of Fair Travel
Fair travel, which is also called ‘good travel’ or ‘responsible travel’, is unfamiliar in Korea, but by providing a new vision of travel, it causes a sensation all over the world. Travelers and locals can be happy simultaneously through this travel. How was this great and simple travel created? To find this out, let’s go back to 1988 in England.
As the industry developed all over the world, the economy continued to boom in the 1980s. People had basic food, clothing and housing, and they even had sufficient time and wealth. They became interested in leisure, so overseas travel boomed. According to that trend, many countries began to foster the tourism industry. Only for making money, the beautiful natural environment was developed for large-scale resorts, and this caused environmental pollution. The more travelers visited, the more local culture was destroyed seriously.
Although the profits must be given to the locals as a compensation for the destruction, they are given to travel agencies. This situation made British people reflect on themselves in regards to travel only for joy. Then, in 1988, the campaign to notice harmful effects of tourism development was begun. It required the travelers’ responsibilities and ethical behaviors with a civic group called ’Tourism Concern’. This led to the spread of fair travel all around the world.
The Real Condition of The Local Surroundings
The term ‘fair travel’ appeared to focus on responsibilities of travelers. Then, what responsibilities must travelers take? The answer is revealed through the locals’ hidden lives.
According to ‘Tourism Concern’, a fair travel organization from England, guests of a five-star hotel which is located in Goa, India use 28 times more electricity than the locals do. Also, this hotel uses as much water as five towns do. Since the water is provided to a golf course enjoyed by travelers, five towns can’t farm. Therefore, they suffer from famine and thirst. Children who have to go to school welcome travelers as clerks in peak season. Many minorities are forced to leave their homes to build nice resorts, and therefore become poor. They then force their daughters to be prostitutes for earning money.
Not only the locals but also the animals are sacrificed for travelers’ joy. Many little wild elephants are trained for trekking programs by being beaten with an iron bar for 12 years. After training, elephants take travelers on their backs for 50 years, and trainers don’t feed them well. Lots of elephants die or become mentally deranged.
According to WTO (World Tourism Organization), the tourist population all over the world exceeded 903 million in 2007 and is increasing rapidly. With this phenomenon, tourism leads the global economy, accounting for 8.7% of world employment as part of industry. However, people don’t pay attention to how cruelly the locals are sacrificed. They avoid thinking of the situation in which the locals suffer famine and lose their homes while travelers enjoy their vacations in nice resorts. Therefore people have to take responsibility for curing the locals’ lives destroyed by the previous travelers through the right way of travelling now.
The Real Meaning of Fair Travel
Some feel uncomfortable with fair travel because it has the responsibility of curing the locals’ lives. However, it is not a great thing to think this way. Discard all selfishness that concentrates on you and think of others first: that’s the fair travel. Then let’s figure out the real meaning of fair travel specifically.
The dictionary definition of fair travel is ‘to make equal relationship with travelers and the locals’.
< The Ten Commandments of Fair Travel>
1. Use lodgings, restaurants, traffic, and travel agencies that are operated by the locals.
2. Don’t buy souvenirs that are made of endangered animals and plants.
3. Don’t take part in animal cruelty shows or tours.
4. Reduce the travelling by plane, which accelerates global warming, and save water and electricity.
5. Use fair travel products and don’t cut prices too much.
6. Learn local greetings, dances or songs.
7. Respect the locals’ lifestyle and religion and be polite to them.
8. Donate 1% of travelling expenses to a local organization.
9. Keep your promises with the locals. Send pictures or things that you have promised to give.
10. Record your memory of travelling and share it with others.
Up until now, people have forgotten ‘fairness’ to desperately find ‘cheapness’ for travel. Therefore, travelers must consider that the appropriate compensation should be made to the locals who provide you good service. Also, they must consider whether or not the environment or innocent lives are destroyed because of their travel and their pleasure.
When travelers think that they are part of the travel destination, travel can be a sustainable resource, not just disposable entertaining leisure. Not to destroy the future of the travel destination and to satisfy what both travelers and the locals’ want: this is the real attitude for traveling.
The Vision of Korean Fair Travel
In developed countries including the U.S. and European countries, the concept of travel has changed rapidly; therefore, fair travel represents genuine travel. By comparison, Korea has just taken the first step.
For the first time, people who asked for the chances to travel more meaningfully instead of only for joy met in 2007. This meeting became the ‘Fair Travel Festival’, and it helped people to share their experiences of fair travel. In 2008, the group called ‘Imagine Peace’ held a meeting that studied travel humanities, and as a result, a fair travel guide book was published in 2009. In addition, the KHIS (Korean House for International Solidarity) accelerated commercialization of fair travel by introducing a fair travel package program to experience Chinese minorities.
Now, Koreans feel keenly about changing the concept of traveling.
Soon, ten million travelers will visit Korea. Koreans must prepare places that practice real fair travel. The places must be beautiful and have special characteristics of the locals. To expand fair travel that makes the locals and the travelers grow together will be the chance to develop the Korean tourism industry.
Fair Traveling in Korea
In Korea, there are several fair travel programs. Visiting well-known cities like Seoul, Daejeon, Wanju, and Jeonju is popular. All these cities concentrate on introducing their distinct local placse. Maybe people would already know about the characteristics in each city, but under the name of fair travel, it must be different from what you knew before. With the local people, you can share the native culture.
Go to Seoul: In Bukchon Hanok Village, travelers can experience Korean culture by understanding the history of the village.
Go to Daejeon: Visit the social enterprises which pursue social purpose in business. Visiting a bazaar is also good.
Go to Wanju: By seeing the variety of businesses of locals, travelers can understand the rural policy and the business.
Go to Jeonju: Travelers can walk around Jeonju and feel the beauty of the Hanok village, history, and culture. Also, travelers can attend rural tourism programs.
There are also fair travel programs for the people who want to leave the city. They are in Gom-bae-ryung and Mt. Jiri. These places are unfamiliar to people, unlike large cities. However, travelers can experience real locals. The more you communicate with local people, the more you can travel fairly.
Go to Gom-bae-ryung: Travel the beautiful road of the UNESCO forest protected zone. Travelers can have a meal with the locals, who will guide them to walk the forest. This true travel, fair travel, makes the locals happy.
Go to Mt. Jiri: Walking around the Mt. Jiri with the locals is popular. In this place, travelers can also camp, staying in nature.
Fair Traveling Abroad
There are representative fair traveling programs in the Philippines, Thailand, Bhutan, and Europe. Even though they all have different plans, they share common principles: all the profits must go to the locals. In this case, it’s usual to do home-stay or camping and go to the stores run by the locals. Basically, travelers should follow the rules of locals and respect their own culture. This is the international fair travel.
Go to the Philippines
- Saint Augustin Church: Travelers can relive the sad memory of the colonial era so that they can understand their life grounded under their history.
Go to Thailand
- Night bazaar: It’s a huge shopping mall for foreigners. Here, travelers can buy unique arts or handicrafts of Thailand. Instead of using department stores or duty free shops, travelers can go there. It will be more meaningful for fair travel.
- Downtown of Chiang Mai: Travelers can watch and enjoy the lives of the locals here. There are pubs and restaurants run by locals, so travelers may have a chance to communicate with locals and be a friend. It is one way of fair travel.
Go to Bhutan: It’s impressive that the government supports fair travel officially.
- PunakhaDzong: It is called the anchor of Bhutan. By visiting here, travelers can get along with its traditional culture and nature.
- Thimphu: This is a city where travelers can see the most traditional scenes. It is recommended to be accompanied by a local guide and learn basic knowledge about how to behave. Travelers can also watch unique performances.
- Street Stalls: In Bhutan, all the street stalls must be permitted by the government. Although products might be different at every street stall, the price is the same anywhere in the country.
Go to Europe
- Strait of Dover: Travelers can see around the Strait of Dover and also see the border between France and the U.K. While people usually stay at hotels, fair travelers get on the ship with their cars. By measuring carbon dioxide offsetting, travelers can raise funds. These funds can support tree planting programs.
- Tour de Europe: Instead of staying in hotels, travelers can eat and sleep at the camping ground. Besides this, travelers can meet the locals and get along with them. In addition, travelers can experience ‘the travel school’.
Tips for Fair Travel
1. Use small lodgings. Inns or accommodation in private homes is okay. If the weather is good, sleeping in a tent is a great experience.
2. Feel the locals’ own characteristics. If you visit Boseong in Jeollanam-do, you can go to the green tea farm.
3. Ask the locals about the local food. Then try it.
4. Visit the local bazaar to buy products which represent the locals. On market day, you can buy products more efficiently.
5. Go to the local festivals. It’s essential to prepare in advance thoroughly.
6. Take part in many village experience programs. This will be a great experience to people who dream of a local life.
7. Use the public transportation like buses or trains. There are lots of packages using trains.
8. Find out the unknown places to visit.
International Fair Travel Tips
1. Use a private water bottle.
2. Follow the principles of fair travel.
3. Have a conversation with the locals and staff.
4. Prepare to go traveling by yourself.
5. When you choose a travel agency, check the database to see whether the agency is good or bad.
The Organization Related to Fair Travel
Fair Travel Korea: www.fairtravelkorea.com/
Peace Boat: www.peaceboat.org
Asian Bridge: www.asianbridge.asia
Tourism Concern: www.tourismconcern.org.uk
Global Exchange: www.globalexchange.org/
Imagine Peace: www.imaginepeace.or.kr
How did you feel about fair travel? What is the big difference between fair travel and travel which people usually do? It might be the difference in ‘attention’. The original tourism is the activity of just spending and looking at products. On the other hand, fair travel is a new way to look at travel as a ‘relation’. Among the ways mentioned above, let’s try one that you can do because anyone can be a fair traveler.
If a hotel that we are staying at is someone’s home,