16 responses

  1. Katrina the Two Week Traveler
    July 1, 2015

    Loved this post! Ethical travel is so difficult because like you said, most countries are guilty of some sort of human rights or freedom crushing actions, so where do you draw the line?

    I think that you should definitely see China though. While the government may be oppressive and censorship, human rights, freedom of speech and pollution are terrible, it’s an extremely interesting place that’s becoming more progressive every year. I read books about China non-stop for 2 years before going so I felt like I really knew what I was getting into, and now I try to do that for all of my destinations. Research is really important.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      July 3, 2015

      I would eventually like to go there, but it’s a hard one. The culture isn’t that easy either, so I know I’ll have to wait until I’m in a different traveler frame of mind before I even attempt it.

      Reply

  2. Katie
    April 9, 2015

    I wholeheartedly agree Talon, you can’t just judge a country by their Government as the people quite often don’t agree with how their country is being run. Australia is an example of that too with the government currently in power here – the country has been recently named on a list of the world’s worst human rights offendes because of the treatment of refugees as well as their ultra conservative stance on same sex marriage. From living here, the Government doesn’t represent the majority of the country – in the cities anyway

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 9, 2015

      Yeah, Australia is a truly great example of that!

      Reply

  3. Wandering Educators
    April 6, 2015

    I think this is SO important to think about – and discuss. We talk about green travel, but human rights and ethics are more important to consider when traveling. It’s good to think about choices and how we live and interact on this planet.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 9, 2015

      It sure is! Traveling has a far greater reach and effect than I think most of us are aware.

      Reply

  4. Sean
    April 2, 2015

    Excellent post. It’s an important but difficult balance, and I don’t think there can be one right answer.

    For me, I separate considerations of personal safety from general ethical considerations, particularly when it comes to laws, policies or attitudes that discriminate against LGBT people.

    Otherwise, I would be concerned that a government-sponsored trip has ethical problems that simply visiting a country does not. While it is true that you are mostly supporting businesses and people who are “everyday people” in the local economy, my concern would be that your tour itinerary chooses between business owners and service providers based on who the government/regime finds favorable. This can turn into economic coercion (or worse) on the people you wind up patronizing. Just something to be aware of. Not all government-arranged tourism works that way, but it can, and the more oppressive the regime, the more this differentiates government-provided travel from what you’d do on your own in the country.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 6, 2015

      It’s definitely a very complex issue. There is no black and white when it comes to these issues.

      Reply

  5. Paige Conner Totaro
    April 1, 2015

    Great points, Talon. I do think the situation in Thailand is very different from what most would think of when there is a military coup. I am looking forward to reading some of the material referenced in earlier comments, though.

    In the Caribbean, there are many many issues at play in determining whether we can recommend a place, and treatment of LGBT travelers is a big one.

    We’ve been following stories from the Dominican Republic, where homosexual behavior is legal but discrimination is rampant, and trying to figure out whether or not it is a place we can recommend. After a Roman Catholic bishop used a slur against the openly gay US ambassador there, the country has done some soul- searching, and their tourism board is launching a campaign to bring LGBT tourists to the country. But it remains to be seen whether this is indicative of a true change in attitudes or simply a crass desire to cash in on a lucrative market.

    I do think it is important to examine these types of things when we travel, and especially when we as influencers accept press trips. Thanks for bringing it up.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 6, 2015

      Some excellent comments, Paige. I’m glad you guys are looking at those issues closely. As far as LGBT travel goes, I have to consider the level of violence as well. I can’t travel to a place, or promote it, where violence against LGBTs is common, supported and/or ignored, personally.

      Reply

  6. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    April 1, 2015

    I think it’s important for travelers to think about the ethics of and implications of traveling to certain places, but as you rightly point out, it’s hard to find many places to go that don’t have any dicey/questionable policies in effect. I mean, are we all just meant to visit Bhutan and that’s it? 😛 I remember meeting some travelers who said they would NEVER go to China because of the human rights violations there, but they then went on to talk about how much they LOVE Egypt and have since visited Israel too.

    As you point out, there are also a lot of different ways to travel. Tony and I really try to do our part when we travel to stay at local lodging options and to support local business and communities so that those who can benefit the most from tourism actually do.

    At the end of the day, I think it’s important to think about the places we are visiting and supporting, but we certainly don’t have the right to tell others where they can’t or should not visit. That doesn’t mean it’s not important to take a stand, but when ethics enter the picture, everything gets rather murky.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 6, 2015

      It definitely can come down to a very personal, individual decision. Even though I won’t support, undergo, or promote travel to some places, I never critique someone else for doing so. It just isn’t my place to do so, especially when my decisions are really more of a personal level. People have to make the decisions that are right for them. I just hope they stop to think before making the decision.

      Reply

  7. Nathaniel
    April 1, 2015

    Thoughts: provoked. Thanks Talon.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 6, 2015

      Glad to read that. 😉

      Reply

  8. Cristina
    April 1, 2015

    You are so right Talon. Not because the government is corrupt, means that the people of the country is corrupt. If that was the case nobody would be going to Spain!

    As travelers we must choose well and support the people who need it. Boycotting a whole country because you don’t like what their government is doing is not correct in my opinion. We need to stand by the people’s side, since their government isn’t.

    Reply

    • Talon Windwalker
      April 6, 2015

      One does need to make sure the government isn’t simply acting on behalf of its citizens, like with Uganda and seemingly with Russia. But, yeah if we excluded countries that had governments doing stupid things, I think only Iceland would get any visits.

      Reply

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