Responsible tourism refers to the way in which visitors, residents and small businesses interact with a holiday destination like Vis Island, Croatia. What can we all do in our daily actions to support the island, the infrastructure, the physical environment and the people that make Vis a special place? On a basic level this should be a daily respect for everything around you, whether you are a visiting tourist, a local or running a business. This has become even more important with the current global COVID 19 pandemic. As Croatia slowly opens its door to tourism, respecting the rules to protect the health of the local population is of paramount importance.
As tourism increases on the island more businesses are developing. Obviously this should be great for everyone. More choice, more options and hopefully more quality. Tourists are visiting the island for its culture and natural beauty. New tourists see the island for the first time while returning tourists are constantly comparing Vis to the way it was. Somethings are always going to change, a new restaurant, increase in higher quality accommodation and more tour operators. Other things you would hope would never change, the waterfront landscape, the island heritage and the environmental landscape. The challenge exists to monitor the increase. If a company is set up to make a quick profit from tourism by draining the natural resources and causing a potential scar on the beautiful landscape, hopefully there will be a consequence and then education in ways to prevent this. The island has plenty of organisations demanding accountability, like Geopark Vis, or a company employing individuals determined to maintain island traditions and share the essence of the island in a manner that does not have short or long term effects on the environment.
As a tourist to Vis Island and staying with us at WearActive, we already know that our guests are aware of some ways they can contribute positively to island life in the summer. Our guests love nature and they appreciate the environment. Choosing to kayak, bike, hike and swim with respect to the surroundings and visiting local restaurants to enjoy traditional Dalmatian meals. We chat to our guests at the beginning of the week about water usage, waste we can recycle and the most efficient ways to keep the house cool in the hot summer days.
On Vis, all forms of tourism which the main motivation is the observing, the appreciation of nature or traditional Island cultures in a natural environment, is responsible tourism. Organising small group trips that create alternative jobs and a source income, while supporting the protection of the natural environment. On Vis, like ourselves, there are also foreign companies as well as local companies, that organise and encourage eco touristic visitors to the island because of our love of the island and our desire to maintain the beauty.
Leave no impact on the natural environment.
Allow the guest to explore and sample local restaurants and book tours with local operators, such as Islomania Do not provide an all inclusive package.
Provide small group tours.
Provide and encourage seasonal cuisine where possible.
Encourage visiting local trades, such as the beautifully hand crafted jewellery 'Pixies' by designer Tomislav and buying local Vis Island produce.
We know that with our inspiring guests, our vocal local community and incentives like the Vis Archipelago now being a Unesco Geopark, that the island will continue to be a place to fall in love with. When you join us for a holiday, bathing, kayaking, paddleboarding and swimming in the Adriatic Blue Corridor, with the largest biodiversity in the Mediterranean you will also fall in love the nature and island life. Vis is the natural habitat of species such as Eleonora's falcon, Scopoli's shearwater and the Yelkouan shearwater. The common bottlenose dolphin are a strictly protected species. Once considered a pest by fishermen, the increase in noise pollution by visiting speed boats to Vis Island during the summer months are now the biggest threat to the well being of the dolphin community.
If we observe a dolphin, try to maintain a distance at least of 50m, allow them to follow you from distance but if you are in a boat do not pursue the dolphin and do not make sudden changes in speed. The sudden increase in noise has a significant effect on the well being of the dolphin community. Enjoy from a distance, photograph and share the experience. Try not to stay in the presence of the dolphins for longer than 30 minutes. A dolphin that is slapping the surface is a clear sign of discontent. Leave them be and do not contribute to their increasing distress. If you notice a new born calf be extra vigilant in not disturbing the group. You can also report a sighting to Blue World, an institute of marine research and conservation that are based on Vis Island.
Together we can all act responsibly while on holiday or running a business on the Croatian Island of Vis this summer!
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