Kind tourism and kindness
December seems a perfect month to talk about kindness, one of the topics that deserve to be mentioned in lists of good intentions.
Moreover, World Kindness Day has just passed. This day is celebrated on 13 November every year. In 2023, 13 November was a Monday, and the opportunity to start the week with acts of kindness and goodwill was offered.
Participating in World Kindness Day is a simple but impactful way to make a difference. Some ways to participate are:
Perform acts of kindness: throughout the day, consciously perform acts of kindness, such as greeting and smiling at others, helping a neighbour, and complimenting a colleague.
Spread positivity: Share positive and uplifting messages on social media to inspire others to be kind and compassionate. Or at least not contribute to negativity.
Offer your time to volunteer for a local charity or non-profit organisation that aligns with your values.
Next, we can consider:
Donate to a charitable cause you believe in, whether humanitarian aid, education or healthcare.
Teach kindness: Educate children and young people about the importance of kindness and empathy through stories or classroom activities.
For all intents and purposes, in 2020, kind tourism will become a new form of conscious tourism. This approach leads tourists to leave the place they visit better than they found it: kindness as a philosophy of life, kindness as a holiday philosophy, to try to change the world (for the better) even when travelling.
This remains an approach that cannot be confusing since, for both activities (tour operators or destinations) and guests, the word kindness recalls the same concepts and behaviours: politeness, knowing and following rules, and attention to others.
If we wanted to think of five rules of kind tourism, I would indicate, from my experience, both as an operator and a tourist.
Respect others on public transport (even if we travel, people are going to or returning from work).
Give way to people with mobility difficulties.
Change our visit plans if conditions do not allow it
Respect the natural, rural and urban environment we are visiting. Don’t throw anything on the ground or in the water on foot or from the window.
Try to smile more at others and exchange friendly gestures such as saying good morning.
Kind Traveler, founded by Jessica Blotter, is a booking platform that allows tourists to book their stay and donate to a local non-profit, thus getting a discount on their stay. It’s a slightly different take on kindness, and while interesting, I don’t think it’s what will change people’s mindsets.
I worked with Visit.org a few years ago, and initially, their approach was similar. Still, the communication was more correctly focused on giving back, i.e. giving back to society through experiences with non-profits, usually volunteers.
I believe, however, that kindness is something else, which is now somewhat lost, like good manners, and that both should be taught at school.
Sara – tourism sector consultant
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