Responsible Tourism - Community Travel Pakistan
How Can You be a Responsible Tourist?
Responsible tourism is essential for us. Pakistan is only just developing as a tourist destination, and what we do now sets the groundwork for years to come. Let’s do things right! As the famous saying goes, leave nothing but footprints, thus we must act as responsible travelers even if others do not.
There are some things that you, as a tourist, can and should keep in mind when going for community travel in Pakistan.
- Try to minimize your waste, and always dispose of your waste in bins or other designated places, never on the ground. Waste management is a problem in Pakistan, and the best solution is to make as little waste as possible. Bring a reusable water bottle, and fill it with clean water. Say no to plastic bags you don’t need, same goes for straws. Look for snacks you can buy in bulk that use less wrapping and aim to make sure your food and drinks are served on reusable plates and bowls rather than disposable ones.
- Be respectful of local culture. Though some things may shock or concern you, remember that you’re a visitor and it’s not your culture to change. Especially if this is your first visit to Pakistan, just observe.
- Don’t give to beggars, especially child beggars. You might find beggars in many places in the cities while on community travel in Pakistan. Though they look desperate, please refrain from giving them any money. Doing so makes begging profitable for them, and discourages them from finding more gainful employment or staying in school. If we have food left over after meals in restaurants, we will pack the remaining food and give it to someone in need on the way out.
- Ask permission before taking photos. Photos can be sensitive in Pakistan, especially photos of women. It’s important to ask permission before taking photos of people up close. Use discretion when sharing your photos afterward – avoid sharing photos of children if possible, and think twice before sharing a photo if the subject was uncomfortable taking it. And of course, never, ever force someone to take a photo they don’t want to.
- Women need to be cautious with men. Men are likely going to try and flirt with you in some way, especially if you’re foreign. Often men are interested in finding a partner who can help them get a foreign residency or passport, though they won’t say so of course. Many men also think all foreign women are open to having sex with pretty much anyone. It is important to remember that your actions will affect perceptions of foreign women visiting Pakistan later on.