The mission and the purpose of Responsible Tourism is to combine the pleasure from the journey with the positive impact on the sustainable development of the visited territory. In other words, responsible tourism contributes to a better life of the local community while making the destination a better place to visit. Responsible tourism plays a significant role in the economic and social development and encourages the environmentally friendly behaviour. According to the Charter for Sustainable Tourism responsible tourism must be “based on sustainability criteria, be long term bearable economically and ethically and socially equitable for the local populations of the destinations”
The slogan of the responsible tourist today is «Travel wisely. Help the locals when visiting” or, in short, «Give back when travelling!»
The concept of Responsible Tourism was defined in the Declaration on Responsible Tourism, signed in 2002 in Cape Town, South Africa. 280 participants from 20 countries have agreed the Declaration.
The Cape Town Declaration identified the key goals of the Responsible Tourism:
To minimize the negative economic, environmental and social impact of tourism;
To increase economic benefits for local people and to improve the welfare of host communities; to create favorable conditions for the workers in the sphere of tourism;
To involve the local community in the decision-making process upon the issues that affect their lives in the present and their future prospects;
To contribute to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage;
To enrich the positive experience of tourists by creating the stronger bonds with local residents and by engaging them in the decision-making upon the local cultural, social and environmental issues;
To provide access to tourism for people with physical disabilities, to promote respect between tourists and the host country and to give the local population a sense of pride and confidence in the future.
Harold Goodwin and Xavier Font, recognized as the ideologists and leading experts in the field of the Responsible Tourism worldwide, established The International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) in 2002 as part of the legacy of the 1st International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations. With the headquarters located in the UK, ICRT has two training centers: Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds Metropolitan University. Today the ICRT has a network of sister organisations around the world to help with the local development of Responsible Tourism. The affiliated centers can be found in Australia, Barcelona and Catalonia, Brazil, West Africa, India, Ireland, Canada, South Asia region (ASEAN), Turkey, Wales, Finland and South Africa. Despite the specifics of local problems all affiliates are fully committed to further the aspirations of the Cape Town Declaration.
COT is a national responsible tourism movement which sees sustainable tourism in Russia as a means of promoting and accelerating sustainable economic development. We see our mission in encouraging the healthy dialogue between the government, businesses, NGOs and local communities and developing approaches and strategies that allow the better planning and management of responsible tourism activities. In Russian COT stands for the Socially Responsible Tourism and is pronounced as “SOT”, as we are using Cyrillic. Our slogan is simple: Give Back When Travelling! as we see each responsible tourist action as a social project for the benefit of the local community.
COT Socially Responsible Tourism movement aims to promote the concept of Responsible Tourism, its ideas and principles in Russia. You are welcome to support our initiative, to become a COT volunteer and to work with us, to come as a responsible tourist or to present your Responsible Tourism project to us!