Happy birthday, me! Many, many thanks for the likes and shares and hearts and heartfelt messages.Thanks everyone for the good will. I’m celebrating in Las Vegas all week long. I’ll be editing a collection of favorite pics and tweets on this page, so come back for updates. We have big plans for November 14: here and here.
I’ll be honest. I have mixed feelings about Las Vegas, but what it does right few people talk about and what it does wrong locals don’t think visitors need to know about. In 2015 it’s still a challenge to listen to locals downtown. There are attractions, points of interest, downloadable maps, but no regularly scheduled guided walks. Responsible travel as understood and sold elsewhere is unknown here.
There needs to be a way to create more stickiness in the realm of responsible travel, but I say that about every place! What sets Las Vegas apart from most anywhere else is the abundance of short-term visitors. The city draws 40 million+ visits per year, many repeat visitors. I’ll be updating Las Vegas on the Web, a primer for anyone interested in local, responsible travel and hopefully we can begin scheduling some local events for Responsible Travel Week, February 8-14. More about that below.
6:00 AM & PM GMT: Q1 Is ‘#ResponsibleTourism in #LasVegas’ a contradiction in terms?
A1. Ask a local: ‘what does responsible travel mean to you?’ and you’ll get a blank stare. This is not linguistically embedded in the city parlance. Ask about the specifics – creating city parks or bike lanes, promoting water conservation – and you’ll spark a wide ranging and heated discussion. Responsible travel in Las Vegas in no more contradictory than responsible travel in any place. It’s a matter of degrees and what we could be paying attention are what locals think import. Educate and engage visitors. How? That’s part of this very discussion.
6:10 AM & PM GMT: Q2 What are the biggest sustainability issues that #LasVegas faces?
A2 Top issue is education – how does the city manage education, from grade school and universities? There are serious red flags which signal opportunities for those who can connect responsible travel to matters of mutual interest of locals and visitors.
6:20 AM & PM GMT: Q3 Does the excessive #food waste from buffets mean a RT should avoid them even though they’re SO cheap?
A3 Must-Read: The Pigs That Eat at Las Vegas
We need to know more of course behind the scenes in the kitchens. Yes, it means going to more buffets but we’ll go the better ones. Responsible travel shouldn’t mean a yes-no binary response. Grey is the new black.
— Ron Mader (@ronmader) November 11, 2015
6:30 AM & PM GMT: Q4 Is the mentality of excess in #LasVegas dangerous for tourists? How so/not so?
A4 Whose excess? And at some level, isn’t excess part of the local personality? Visitors come to gamble, some better than others. If Las Vegas were a Star Trek planet (and there’s a story) it would be …
6:40 AM & PM GMT: Q5 What solutions do you have to make #LasVegas a more responsible destination? via @WSEtravel #RTTC
A5 Pay attention to specific issues over time. Blend grassroots events, responsible travel and education
Listen to locals. And locals listen to Twitter! Someone’s talking about you.
To create and support grassroots events and educational opportunities that are truly world-class and world famous.
6:50 AM & PM GMT: Q6 Is there specific accommodation/tour providers/restaurants you can suggest are more responsible in Vegas? How so?
A6 Bicycle shops! There are several top-of-the-line stores but local fave is the Bike Shop on 2630 Windmill Parkway. Terry the owner is the must-visit person for anyone keen on cycling and connecting with locals. They just hosted the Chocolate Chase.
Questions for RTTC: Does anyone blog or storify individual #RTTC chats? Is anyone editing a transcript or summary on Google docs? Care to follow up via hangout?
— Ron Mader (@ronmader) November 7, 2015
Also: I’m figuring out questions to ask online The World’s Best Responsible Travel Organizations. It would be good to follow-up with Q&A with each of those listed — are your publications open access? — and create our own Responsible Travel Top 10 on the Planeta Wiki. There’s a directory of RT resources on Transitions Abroad. Is there interest in updating that feature?
Finally, let me know if you’d like to help develop this year’s Responsible Travel Week, February 8-14. We are looking for friends to hold local events, create popup museums, host soundwalks and basically show rather than tell people what responsible tourism actually looks and sounds like. Yes, you can access RT Week online but it’s time for action and we’d like to support all the champions of responsible travel making it real around the globe.