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The How To's of Ethical Tourism

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An Indian woman in a sari inspects the fruits at her market stall.

Gulabi, who is a single mother, sells fruits and flowers off a pushcart in her Indian village, to earn an income so she can clothe and feed her children. Photo: Annila Harris/World Vision

A new type of tourism is beginning to emerge. It goes by many names: community-based tourism, ethical tourism or fair-trade tourism. Regardless of the moniker, this type of travel puts the well-being of local communities first and helps visitors learn about the people and places they're visiting.

You can do a few things to transform ordinary trips into holidays with a heart.

1. Learn About Your Destination
Even a cursory understanding of a country's history, economics, and culture will broaden your mind beyond daydreams of sand and surf. Knowing about some of the issues faced by your hosts won't take away from your enjoyment of the beach, but it will enrich your overall experience.

2. Make Friends While Abroad

Make friends with local staff, not just the receptionist, but also the "behind-the-scenes" staff like the chambermaid, porter, and gardener. Talk to them and find out how they feel. Ask them about good places to eat, visit, or shop. You may well find out about a great out-of-the-way restaurant run by an uncle.

3. Buy From Local Businesses
Travel globally but spend locally: This message is actually outlined in the United Nations' Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Try buying handcrafted products directly from the people who make them. Remember that while most vendors in the developing world expect to barter for goods, you shouldn't try to bargain down to the point where you are taking unfair advantage.

4. Visit a World Vision Project

World Vision has projects in almost 100 countries around the globe. If you're a child sponsor, you can make arrangements to visit your sponsored child or a World Vision project near your vacation spot. You'll be able to see first-hand how your support is making a difference in the community.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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