More and more travelers from around the world are discovering that it can be cost effective to take their vacations with tour companies. These vacations may, indeed, be cost effective, but as responsible travelers, we need to ask ourselves what kind of impact they have on...

  • The environment
  • Natural resources
  • Local cultures
  • The global economy

Should I Travel with a Tour Company, or Shouldn't I?

Great question! And the answer is: It depends on the tour company. Responsible travelers have long been critical of the tour industry. And, historically, much of that criticism has been justified. In the past, many all-inclusive tour packages have brought busloads of tourists to developing countries, but very little revenue actually remained in those countries. In fact, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

"In most all-inclusive package tours, about 80% of travelers' expenditures go to the airlines, hotels and other international companies (who often have their headquarters in the travelers' home countries), and not to local businesses or workers."

Fortunately, that's beginning to change. It's encouraging to see that some tour companies don't conduct business "as usual," but conduct business in positive, respectful, sustainable ways, bringing tangible gains to the people and places they visit. For example, Global Exchange (based in San Francisco, USA) consistently keeps as much as 80% of the revenue generated through its educational, humanitarian trips in the local or national economy of places visited.


Before you go, here's some more information to aid you in choosing your vacation.

Pack a Green Suitcase
Preparing Your Home
Study the Issues
The Effects Mass Tourism Has Had on Developing Countries
Learn About Your Destination
Evaluating Responsible Tour Companies
Explore Transportation Options


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