But have you ever wondered what these labels even mean and why they exist? For some people, this responsible travel movement was born out of concern for the environment. For others, it was born out of a more historical social reason - the recognition of the historical relationship between countries and how that relationship has hurt some countries and benefited others.
Further, from this standpoint, responsible travel means acknowledging what it means when people from countries who have benefited from this relationship visit countries who have hurt from this relationship. This is your guide to travel through a neo-colonialism lense. Ok so first, lets brush up on a few concepts and terms. B All images have been created by polyp. Colonialism refers to the forcible settlement of a foreign territory, as well as the remaking of a local society and institutions in the interest of the colonizing power.
This remaking of a local society can also happen without actually colonizing territories, however still outwardly projecting influence and power without actual occupation. An example of political and economic neo-colonialism is the US offering large sums of money to governments of countries prepared to combat communism i.
Neocolonialism - Wikipedia
If you are from the US or Europe and traveling outside North America and Europe, chances are your country has a history of colonialism in the country to which you are traveling. Because of colonialism, many countries have been left with economic situations that pressure citizens of that country to rely on tourism in some way as a means of livelihood.
This makes those people vulnerable to exploitative tourism. It also means that that country is vulnerable to being culturally and economically influenced and even controlled by other countries. This often neglects the voice of the actual citizens of that country. This is neo-colonialistic in nature because it takes the control of the worldview of a country and its culture out of the hands of its people and gives it to people of more developed and dominating countries.
The volunteer-tourism industry can also sometimes do more harm than good to local communities by falling into neo-colonialistic tendencies through contributing to harmful hierarchies and savior-victim narratives as well as sometimes participating in corruption or misdirection of resources. This is harmful because it perpetuates a hierarchy that puts people from one place above as saviors people from another place as victims instead of encouraging agency and equality.
Corruption and misdirection of resources among organizations is actually a lot more common than one would think! This happens when organizations are not well-intentioned or properly directed. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.
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