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We begin our series of interviews with a good friend whom I met in England during our time at the International Centre for Responsible Tourism in Leeds.

Carlos has spent several years trying to motivate and make people aware of the benefits of a more responsible tourism wherever he goes. He states that:”I want to help society progress towards sustainable and responsible tourism by creating networks and exchanging energies.” During our chat he answered a few questions about his vision of Responsible Tourism:

Tell us a bit about yourself, how did get into Responsible Tourism?

In 2007 I was very worried about the tourism-related construction being carried out on the Eastern Mediterranean coast and in the mountains. It wasn’t just a recipe for financial disaster but also an affront to our natural heritage, which belongs to everyone. I directed a documentary on this subject called “The Dark Side of Tourism”. (In Spanish)

After this I became interested in a type of tourism that would be in harmony with nature and society, and this lead me to study an MA in Responsible Tourism in Leeds, England. I learnt many things there which still haven’t yet reached Spain.

How do you try to promote or make people aware of Responsible Tourism? What are your main tools?

I believe that audiovisual media is the most effective these days. I would like to film another documentary about tourism in the style of Story of Stuff. Aside from this, on the web portal turismo-sostenible.net I also comment on current topics about tourism from the point of view of sustainability and I put up a lot of documentaries for anyone who wants to learn by teaching him/herself.

I believe that if a tourist sees that a hotel is concerned about its environmental impact, its workers and the local community, it must be a quality tourism product.

How do you see tourists’ motivation towards responsible tourism?

I think that there is an increasingly greater awareness that the traditional model of travelling is an experience which is becoming very boring, especially among the generation who has travelled independently. We are much bolder about travelling these days and we dare to leave the safety of the “all inclusive” hotel in almost any country.

There are more and more tourists who want to have direct contact with the local population and want their holidays to contribute to the prosperity of the local community and the conservation of the environment.

I believe that if a tourist sees that a hotel is concerned about its environmental impact, its workers and the local community, it must be a quality tourism product.

What would you highlight as being the advantages of responsible hotels? What attributes would you highlight for people who are hesitating in choosing?

I think that treating employees in an approachable and familiar way is something that everyone notices. If the hotel is well integrated into its cultural and social surroundings, this translates into a greater connection between the tourist and place visited.

One topic that I believe is important is that the hotel can be a place of learning, where the guest can leave better informed and more aware of a variety of matters than when he/she arrived.

In your experience, do you believe that the trend in becoming responsible tourists will triumph over the current way of travelling? What is the current outlook?

I believe that people who started travelling years ago are already more aware, such as the Scandinavians. People that are just beginning to travel in emerging countries aren’t so worried about a more responsible way of travelling. We need to speed up the process through awareness.

A more responsible tourism is necessary in order not to destroy the very destinations we are visiting. There are increasingly more tourists and increasingly less unexploited places. If we don’t do everything possible to reduce the impact of our travelling and continue as we are now, we will find ourselves in a very disagreeable situation.

 Natalí es licenciada en Ciencias Ambientales y transmite a los que estamos con ella su gusto por lo auténtico y por las cosas bien hechas. Además es la “calculadora” de la cuadrilla, quien mantiene a raya a todos los hoteles, asegurando justicia en cada puntuación ambiental. Su experiencia y formación adicional en turismo responsable, junto con su ilusión por este proyecto, le dan las armas necesarias para lidiar con lo que se presente. Además, una gran pasión por viajar, por los deportes al aire libre y por la naturaleza, le sirven como una formación extra en su currículum que le viene como anillo al dedo a su puesto. Leer más de este autor

Este artículo está también disponible en: Spanish

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One Response to “Interview with Carlos Buj”

  1. CVC ViagensNo Gravatar says:

    Aaaahh, só consigo ter em mente que irei para Madrid no Natal.

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