Tibet had received 25.6 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2017, up 10.6 percent compared with 2016. It has been predicted that in 2018 there are more to come. Now more than ever, we should be taking a closer look at responsible travel (aka. responsible tourism) in Tibet. Responsible travel in Tibet means being socially and culturally aware when you travel (i.e. use common sense, people!), understanding your effect on the places you visit and trying to make the affect a positive one.
As more and more foreign travellers visit Tibet every year, it has become increasingly important for travellers to travel responsibly and arrive well-informed on the cultural difference between Tibet and where you are from. To help foreign travellers prepare for your Tibet tour, Tibet Ctrip Travel Service-TCTS has released a few easy-to-follow guidelines; a small effort goes a long way in letting local Tibetans know that you respect their culture and way of life.
How to Be a More Responsible Traveler in Tibet? The list is infinite! The possibilities are as endless as yaks in Tibet. Below is a small portion of it to get you started.
Always ask before taking a photo or selfie! Same as everywhere in the world, some Tibetans don’t mind, others do. If you ask, most Tibetans would not say no but one should not bypass the gesture of asking first. Inside some chapels of monasteries and some other cultural sites charge a fee for taking photos. Tibet Ctrip’s native Tibetan guides will let you know when and where you can or cannot take photos at these places. If no certain, please ask first.
Avoid sensitive political discussions in public! The political climate in Tibet is drastically different from that of many western nations. Even though healthy political discourse is an important part of daily life in many societies, the current situation may make some Tibetans feel uncomfortable when you discuss sensitive political issues in public.
Engage with locals! While travelling in Tibet there are many opportunities to engage with local Tibetans & Muslins & Hans. Some of the easiest ways are by patronizing shops, teahouses and restaurants. Charity is an important part of Tibetan culture. You can often see locals offer small change, water or food to pilgrims without being asked. However, avoid encouraging unnecessary begging by giving money to children in bunch.
Try and speak Tibetan! Tibetan words are difficult to master for foreign travellers, but we will appreciate any attempt. A simple ‘Tashi Delek’ from you will bring out a smile from any Tibetan.
You are an ambassador of your country and people when travel to a foreign land. Tibet and its people will appreciate any small efforts on your behalf. Tibetans are straight-forward and kind people. You will let us know with these simple gestures that as a foreigner you respect our culture and tradition, and we will return the favour. That’s how you make the world a better place!