I have been fortunate to have partnered with G Adventures over the last several years. Bruce Poon Tip, the founder of G Adventures is also one of the Executive Producers of this film, The Last Tourist, which I review below. G Adventures organizes small group tours across the globe with a strong commitment to making travel a force for good as discussed in the film. This is a sponsored post.
The go-kart hugs the curve while another go-kart attempts to pass on the next straight away. This might be a typical sight across the US on a hot summer night on a weekend get-away. But this took place on a gargantuan cruise shape as it traced the pristine coast of Alaska.
Some of these cruise ships top out at 7,000 passengers with amenities that would boggle the mind such as zip lines, roller coasters, planetariums, rock climbing walls mixed with personal butlers, ice bars, and craft breweries.
Has tourism crossed the Rubicon of sanity? Travel and tourism should be a catalyst to discover and explore the world, it shouldn’t be a bell jar of western trappings that isolate you from your destination that you are purportedly exploring.
The Last Tourist is a full-length documentary that takes a hard look at the tourism and travel industry, the biggest sector of the global economy. Anyone who has ever taken a trip or plans to take a trip in the future really needs to carve out 90 minutes of their day to watch this film.
The travel industry is at a real tipping point, arguably causing more damage than it benefits the world. I encourage you to view this film and evaluate your style of travel and hopefully challenge yourself to make some changes to make your travels more meaningful and sustainable.
Tourism has grown from 25 million international arrivals in 1950 to 1.4 billion international arrivals in 2018! A perfect storm of the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the growth of the aviation industry, the arrival of the internet, and the insane popularity of social media has supercharged and motivated people to take to the skies and travel.
The film touches on three themes to make yourself a better and more aware traveler; animal entertainment is an animal cruelty, children are not tourist attractions, and supporting community tourism enterprises.
Whether you are in Thailand or India, a traveler might be enticed to ride an elephant or watch them perform. The film depicts several snippets of mahouts “breaking” or training an elephant. It is heartbreaking. This brief segment alone would make you second guess any interactions with animals during your travels. Instead of riding elephants think of visiting an elephant orphanage. The more we change our buying habits, the more the market will conform to our collective demands.
In some lower income countries, a cottage industry of orphanages has developed to meet the demands for voluntourism. These well-meaning tourists in general cause more damage than good. Again, the well-intentioned traveler looking to give back creates the demand in the marketplace, which sadly results in more children living in orphanages. A good rule of thumb to ask yourself when interacting with children, would you do this in your home country?
And finally, your travel dollar has the potential to make a giant impact during your visits. The exception to this rule, for example, would be cruises or resorts that create economic bubbles where these international companies capture the majority of the money you are spending. So, please consider, spending your money with locally owned businesses, whether it is a restaurant, hotel, or an independent guide. Another simple mechanism is to tip your waiter, guide, or hotel maid.
Travel has great global potential of connecting the world and learning about other cultures while at the same time creating better opportunities for millions of people around the world and creating sustainable solutions for the environment and commerce.
Consider evaluating how you travel today and make some changes during your next trip. You and the world stand to benefit.
There are many ways you can view The Last Tourist. Click here to learn about all the options. I watched on Hulu!