Let’s use a seesaw- The traveler sits at one end, the locals sit at the other. For one to enjoy the game, one of the players have to go down for the other to go up then over time, one of them(most likely the person that went down) will get tired and no one plays again. – The joy in the game is for everyone to go up (In this case, share benefits)
It’s unfair if we push sustainable tourism just on the travelers and leave the locals out – For me, the locals make the destination (experience and attractions). It seems more logical for the locals to tell travelers how to be “well behaved” within the destination than a traveler telling the locals how to behave within the destination.
One of the major pillars of sustainable tourism is Economic growth (improving the economic growth of a destination through patronizing locally made products and services). But let’s be honest, given the options, will you buy a plate of food for double the price in a community when you can get that same value for the lesser price elsewhere? – This will be a different case if the food isn’t the locally recognized food within that community.
For instance, I once went to a festival somewhere in South-west Nigeria, and as expected, Amala should be my target when it’s time to eat, I found my way to a Bukka(local restaurant) for a plate of Amala, I wasn’t surprised to see how crowded the place was and it was obvious a large percentage of people there were visitors that came in for the festival. Time to pay for my food, I was told a price that was double the amount I could have gotten that same food in another region.
The point now is;
- The food is the local diet of the community (meaning it’s easy to produce in large quantity)
- You have a very large crowd to feed (meaning you will get your profit even if you don’t want)
So why make the food more expensive?
Would you blame me if I load myself with a lot of foods from home the next time I go to the festival, just to avoid being “ripped” off?
I have heard and read a lot of testimonies of visitors exploitation around the world and clearly, it’s a worldwide issue, not just something that Nigeria faces.
I suggest more work should be done in enlightening the locals on sustainability principles – This will act as a strong foundation.
Travelers are ready to respect your home, culture, and religion; but please, respect our pockets.