Is modern tourism ethical?

Is modern tourism ethical?

Ellie Moffat, 18

I recently travelled to Peru. Before arriving I considered the work I wanted to create. I wanted to photograph Peru in all its glory, drawing attention to the rich and unique culture of the people. However whilst there I was shown the harsh reality of the tourism industry, where the economy is at the forefront of the mind before other more valuable issues. This issue raised the question, 'How ethical is tourism in the modern age?'. Do we as tourists, take responsibility for the damage we leave on culture, or do we allow ourselves to become ignorant to prioritising conservation over exploitation? It’s notable that conservation initiatives are in place to protect some culture; for example the Peruvian government’s funds for the maintenance of Machu Picchu, in addition to Alpaca farms to protect Peru’s native animal. On the other hand, these initiatives are useless for anything other than the economy; with more tourists visiting these attractions every year more damage is done to the surrounding environment. Every step taken by a tourist is causing more structural damage to the world’s most historical sites and every penny spent on a street performer and her alpaca is leading to further animal exploitation.

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The John Byrne Award