“But mom, I really don’t want to eat the local food here. I am just paranoid. What if that is not organic?” Ujjwal cried. 

“Don’t be a pain! We are on a vacation. And we have to act as responsible tourists, right? Also, what fun would it be if you don’t try the local Indian cuisine?” his mom asked him. 

“But mom, no! And how is just eating the local food here is responsible for tourism? I am not littering this place wastes like papers, foils, empty bottles etc because I know they harm the environment. But how food?” Ujjwal really wanted to have this debate now. 

“Look, it is pretty complex and you might just think of it as balderdash but think of it on a large scale. If you eat locally produced food, you are actually helping in the reduction of carbon dioxide emission in the import of the food items. Also, you are indirectly helping the local farmers and the economy.” His mother told him. 

“Makes a li’l sense, go on,” Ujjwal said.

“Imagine the size of the Indian tourism industry. Not just NRIs like us who have their families here visit India but people intrigued by the beauty of this versatile land do the same.  Now, if everyone visiting here relies on the locally produced food, can you imagine the indirect help in the development of the economy?” his mother asked. 

“Well, of course. I never thought in that manner.” Said Ujjwal thoughtfully. “The places here are cheap. But of course, we can not hope them to stay poor forever. It is better that we help in the growth of the economy

You dad and I booked the travel and home-stay services for our travelling and staying within India with the local service providers. This is being done with a simple purpose in mind. We know that a substantial part goes back to the community and the economy.” her mother continued. 

She again said, “Now that we are into the discussion, you talked about the environment. The biodegradable wastes are fine that we are disposing of them here in the proper bins and everything. But it is advisable that the toxic wastes like the used batteries of the flashlights are taken back home because they are made to be disposed-off there only.

“Aaah! That reminds me. When we went to the nature trail last week, we were asked not to touch any young animals or their eggs because their parents might reject them for having a human odour. This is directly related to wildlife and thus the environment. So this means that responsible tourism is a duty of not only the international tourists but also the domestic tourists.” Ujjwal sounded a bit excited now.

“Certainly! Even the local tourists are supposed to take care of the environment. Like using soaps near freshwater lakes and rivers are strict no!

Travelling in the local transport, using less pollution causing means of transport and travelling smartly are all part of being responsible for tourism. Right?” asked Ujjwal.

“Yes! And you know what is even more important? You should respect the place where you are. Be it in terms of the environment or in terms of the local people and community. You have not grown up here, you might not be aware of how people talk here and this goes for the localities too. You need to respect the locals for their dialects, customs and culture. Their standard of living might be different too. You just need to respect that.” continued his mother.

“Responsible tourism has certainly more things to it than I thought. Now I am really hungry. Let us grab some food. Some locally grown food?” laughed Ujjwal.

“Yes. I am sure you will love them!” smiled his mom. 

Though I might not be a travel enthusiast but I love travelling. I have always believed that it is not just the host’s duty to make the tourist feel like home, but also the tourists’ duty to love their getaway as much as their homeland. 
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