Responsible Tourism Student resource

“We believe that responsible holidays can help us tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, improve living standards for disadvantaged people, and reduce inequality. They also offer better experiences for travellers too. Why? Because when your trip supports communities and wildlife, it helps you get closer to both. With responsible tourism, everyone wins.” - Justin Francis, co-founder & CEO, Responsible Travel.

On this page you’ll find a comprehensive library of our views, research, campaigns, and information on some of the biggest global issues facing the world right now, and how tourism can be part of the solution.


  1. Climate
  2. Nature positive tourism
  3. Overtourism
  4. Community & inclusivity
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Volunteering
  7. About Responsible Travel & our holidays

1. Climate

View our climate hub.

“Can a holiday that includes flights ever really be sustainable? The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats facing the tourism industry, and yet tourism is estimated to contribute around 8% of the world’s carbon emissions.

“There is no way around the fact we all need to seriously reduce the amount of carbon we produce. That means no more carbon offsetting and passing the buck to someone else. Until low-carbon aviation fuels are a viable alternative, we have no option but to fly less, stay longer in our destination, and when we do fly make our trip count by choosing a responsible holiday that actively benefits local people and nature.”
- Justin Francis

  • Our manifesto for the future of aviation: Our arguments for a Green Flying Duty, similar to current Air Passenger Duty, that would be ring fenced for investment in the development of low-carbon aviation.
  • FAQs with Justin Francis, co-founder and CEO of Responsible Travel detailing his views on the future of aviation and carbon reduction. Further supplementary information on these issues can be found in the side menu in the link.
  • “Carbon offsets are a dangerous distraction from the urgent need for all of us to reduce our carbon emissions. They perpetuate the myth that aviation – using old, polluting technology - can continue to grow unchecked by passing the moral responsibility for reducing emissions onto someone else. And, most crucially, research shows they don’t work.” - Justin Francis

    More on why we don’t support carbon offsetting.
  • How to have a lower-carbon holiday (video)
  • “Food production takes up 43% of global land use and accounts for 23% of global carbon emissions. And, according to research, if we switch to a vegan diet we can reduce those emissions by 73%. Eating a locally-sourced, seasonal, plant-based diet on holiday and avoiding imported goods can make a huge dent in our overall holiday footprint. It also helps to keep the economic benefits of tourism firmly in the hands of local communities.”

    For more information take a look at our work to calculate the carbon footprint of a holiday, our commissioned research, the impact of food, and the future of carbon labelling.

    You can also find more details on eating plant-based diets on holiday to cut carbon ‘foodprints’.
  • Climate change is making natural snowfall in many ski resorts more sporadic, and some 60% of resorts are now using snow cannons to manufacture snow cover and extend ski seasons, particularly at lower elevations. But this mass reliance on artificial snow requires vast quantities of water and energy, and can have a potentially damaging impact on a resort’s wider biodiversity. Read more on why we think ski resorts should be dictated by nature, and why we say no to fake snow.
  • Climate change is affecting how we holiday, and how holiday operators run their trips. We have written a series of articles about the most affected destinations. Read how climate change is affecting holidays in: Australia, the Galápagos Islands, Nepal, and Spain, and how it is affecting winter holidays.

2. Nature positive tourism

View our nature hub.

“To tackle climate heating we need to cut carbon and restore nature. The climate crisis and biodiversity crisis are two sides of the same coin. Without addressing one, we can’t address the other. To tackle the biodiversity crisis, tourism must go further than simply leaving no trace. It must be nature positive.” - Justin Francis

3. Overtourism

View our community hub.

“Travel is a privilege not a right, and when we travel, we become guests in someone else’s home. Our desire to see and experience the world should not come at the expense of another person’s right to live safely and enjoyably in their own space.

“Tourism can be a powerful force for positive change, bringing employment and opportunity to local people. It can also destroy cultures and turn thriving communities into ghost towns. That’s why responsible tourism isn’t only about carbon and nature, but about how we ensure our holidays respect and benefit the people who live in the places we are visiting.”
- Justin Francis

4. Community and inclusivity issues

5. Animal welfare in tourism

Our views on wildlife in captivity:

“We want to enable people to see wildlife in the wild in a way that supports habitats and conservation. No animal should be kept in captivity without good reason, and in our opinion the justifications offered by zoos don’t stack up.” - Justin Francis

6. Volunteering

7. About Responsible Travel and our holidays

  • Our story.

    “An authentic experience, which reveals the soul of a place, is a gift given at the discretion of local people. We travel in places they call home. If tourism works for them, the opportunities for deeper and more joyful travel increase.” - Justin Francis

    How solo travel through Africa - and a chance meeting with a village elder in Zambia - led our co-founder, Justin Francis, to sow the seeds for Responsible Travel.
  • Our history. Pioneering responsible tourism since 2001.
  • How we screen our holidays.
  • What we never sell and why.
  • About our co-founder & CEO Justin Francis.
  • Justin Francis’ regular column for the iPaper.