Tourism – like many other international industries – has grown to stretch the planet. In scope it has effectively touched almost all corners of our world. With this growth has come some tremendous benefits, but just as quickly have come some staggering negative impacts. Our desire and curiosity to explore is innate and alive in all of us!

As we venture out to satisfy this curiosity, we must also recognize that each and every one of us as travelers has the opportunity to lessen the negative effect associated with tourism and more accurately has the human responsibility to do so. Ergo, we must dutifully endeavor to seek out more ethical and sustainable means to facilitate our travels.

We have developed a Tourist Code of Ethics designed by Canadian and Vietnamese tourism students from Capilano University and Hanoi Open University. It is hoped that a band of ethical tourists can be formed who, through their commitment and actions will minimize the harmful effects of tourism and as a growing body of committed travelers, force the tourism industry all over the world to change.


Today I will commit to the notion that when traveling I will see myself as the privileged guest and ambassador of my own country. I will take responsibility for my actions and accept that every choice I make has both its adverse consequences and positive outcomes. Thus, with integrity, humility and genuine desire, I will foster and promote a more ethical style of travel by:

Cultivating an Exchange of Knowledge

  • Researching the destination’s culture, customs, language, religions, history, geography, and people before arriving;
  • Continually make an effort to learn the language while I am visiting;
  • Sharing information to my hosts and other travelers about my home country’s characteristics, customs, geography, people, and language(s).

Contributing to and Promoting Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Alternatives

  • Supporting only local initiatives, and participating in those tourism products that are local and / or aim to support the local community economically and through social programs (this includes tour companies, hotels, and restaurants);
  • Purchasing goods that are produced and sold locally at a fair price and assuring that those good are not products of illegal activities and / or important symbols of the host’s culture;
  • Reducing my environmental footprint through maintaining a conscious awareness of how my actions will affect the host’s valuable resources.

Volunteering and Social Activism

  • Promising to make an effort to participate, at my own expense, in activities that aim to restore and preserve the environment as well as those that aid or bring an extra bit of happiness to those less fortunate;
  • Advocating those companies and organizations who support and provide ethical and community based tourism products and services;
  • Making a stand against sex tourism, through reporting any illegal activities to local authorities and supporting those projects that have put forth the effort to fight against it.

Protecting and Respecting Culture

  • Researching and practicing cultural etiquettes to the highest level of my ability, as well as, teaching and informing other travelers around me;
  • Using my camera in a way that is sensitive to the peoples and cultures around me. Further I promise to never take a picture of someone without politely asking first;
  • Being aware that in my pursuit to find something ‘untouched by tourism’ I may be the one stretching the boundaries of tourism’s negative impacts and harmful effects.