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Be A Responsible Tourist

Going for a trip is incredibly exciting- you’ve researched then saved up for months and can now go and see the world!

Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time tourist, traveling can be life-changing and inspiring as you take in new sights, smells, eat delicious food, and experience other cultures. Many people are mindful to travel responsibly. But what does being a responsible tourist mean?

Responsible tourists respect local cultures and the environment in each place they visit.

Being a responsible tourist means being an active part of a community, not a spectator so that you can have a more sustainable and memorable impact during your trip.

10 tips for being a responsible tourist include:

Costumes. Photo Credit: Andrea Gung

  1. Leave no trace

  2. Stay on marked paths

  3. Be respectful around historical monuments or heritage sites

  4. Shop locally

  5. Respect local customs and traditions

  6. Eat at local restaurants

  7. Volunteer

  8. Be culturally sensitive

  9. Post respectful social media posts

  10. Avoid areas and tourist attractions that exploit animals

But what if you unknowingly go to places around the world that support the dog and cat meat trade?

The live animal market, the Tomohon Extreme Market in Indonesia, was a top tourist destination until a video leaked of dogs and cats being brutally killed for the meat trade. Thankfully, at urging from activists, major travel companies such as TripAdvisor stopped recommending the site for tourism. And this July, Tomohon’s mayor signed a historic law banning dog and cat meat from being traded at the market. Learn more about this huge achievement here.

Be a responsible tourist. Refuse to visit locations or join tours that go to live animal markets, also known as wet markets.

“Live animal markets are places where fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods are sold; and in many parts of Asia, a variety of species of live animals, including dogs and cats, are also sold and slaughtered in close proximity to each other and to humansFour Paws

By avoiding these markets, you are refusing to support the dog and cat trade and also protecting your health. As these live animal markets are a breeding ground for transmissible and novel diseases- including COVID-19!

Here are 5 ways that you can do to avoid the dog and cat meat trade while traveling.

At a shelter. Photo Credit: Duo Duo Project
  1. Research in advance if you’re traveling to a country that historically eats dog and cat meat

  2. If you are, then find local vegetarian and vegan restaurantsor restaurants that openly refuse to sell dog and cat meat

  3. Don’t go to any festivals that support the dog and cat meat trade

  4. Only go to dry markets (like clothes) or vegetable markets

  5. Volunteer at local animal shelters

Let us know in the comments how you’re a responsible tourist.

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