How to be a good tourist? Barcelona tips for responsible tourism

How to be a good tourist?

How to be a good tourist in Barcelona

Updated February 2020 

Are you a good tourist? How can you be a good tourist? What is a bad tourist? What is the difference between a traveller and a tourist? 

The generally accepted definition of a good tourist is someone who respects and helps to preserve and nurture the local culture at destinations that they visit. 

A bad tourist helps to erode and destroy local culture.

A good tourist is a goodwill ambassador for his own country and culture and indirectly helps to promote tourism in their own country.

A bad tourist is a badwill ambassador who deters people from visiting their own country.

A good tourist see himself/herself as a guest in another's house and respects the rules, customs and local population and leaves a contribution in the right places. A bad tourist is a gatecrasher who disturbs the local rules, customs and leaves a contribution in the wrong places.

Here are some tips on how to be a good tourist.

Remember that you are a guest.
Be respectful of the local population, customs and rules. For you this is a vacation, but you are wandering around in other people's daily lives.

Local Barcelona residents have to work, eat and sleep undisturbed every day - just like you would like to do back home. So respect them and don't disturb neighbours - especially if you are in an apartment. Remember always that you are an ambassador for your country and your culture too.

Tourism in your country might be important, so behave in the same way that you would expect visitors to your country to behave. Be a guest. Be thankful that you are welcomed. Show gratitude and kindness. Show interest. Be polite. Be nice. 

Don't complain if things are not the same as in your country. If you want things to be the same as in your country, then why leave your country. That's the point isn't it? To see how other peole live?

Support local culture.
Try not to buy the cheap plastic souvenirs that are probably made in China. Look for the hand-made artisan craft souvenirs instead. Then you will be helping support local familes, traditions and customs. A fridge magnet is fine, but many of the tourist shops are full of mass produced products made in factories in cheap labour countries.

If you buy them you are really not getting a real memento from Barcelona when you buy a key ring with a bull on it. By supporting tacky touristy souvenir shops, you are helping edge out more traditional shops.

Try buying more authentic gifts like handmade fans, food items like Spanish Turrón. (Turrón ) is a Spanish nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts. 

If you only shop at brand names then you are helping wipe out smaller family shops. Why cross the globe to see a street full of international chains and mass produced souvenirs. Barcelona is trying very hard not to become just a vast open-air shopping mall - or a landbased cruise ship - and you can help by appreciating and supporting local restaurants and local food customs such as churros, horchata and avoiding the large chains every day.

Avoid fastfood outlets.
Of course there should be hamburger restaurants in a modern city, but leave them for the local resident. Why cross the Atlantic or half the world to eat the same burger you can get outside your office in your home country?

As a tourist if you always eat fast food and drink at international pubs, then you are helping to replace traditional food shops with fast food chains.  If all tourists support international fast food chains, then the more money they make and this helps them open in even more locations in the Barcelona city center.

In Barcelona this means fewer and fewer authentic and quality restaurants in the city center. More irish pubs and fewer vermut bars. More shops with signs in English and fewer in Spanish or Catalan language. So help preserve local culture by embracing it.

Don't drink or party to excess in the city center. Rowdy night clubbers disturb local families with children and the elderly. Unless you live in the Vatican city where there are few Irish bars, then presumably you have many pubs and bars in your hometown.

So why waste money in cities that often charge tourists more for alchohol anyway. And why waste the next day sleeping it off and missing a beautiful day. Or sleeping on the beach where you might get robbed. Go the clubs, pay the entrance fee and have a couple of drinks but don't lose control and wreck it all for yourself and your host city.

Don't complain. Different folks, different strokes. You might be the customer and you might be paying, but you are not always right in someone else's country. If you neighbour at home invited you round, would you tell him what's wrong with his house. Of course not. Just because you are paying does not mean you can dictate and bully locals and local establishments. You travel to see how others live, not to criticise them for not being as perfect as you think you and your country is. You can in some cases respectfully give them your opinion, but no more.

Don't judge. First appearances are often wrong and you might see things in a different light if you knew more about other peoples' lives. Then you might understand more about their life and attitudes in a certain situation.

Don't compare. Comparing food in Barcelona with food in Paris, or prices in London with prices in Melbourne doesn't really make much sense and can create negative impressions. The prices in different cities reflect the cost and standard of living. Bad tourists think that they either are being ripped off all the time  - or are entitled to cheap deals. A good tourist accepts the local price level and then decides if they want to pay.

Don't litter and try to avoid using plastic and leaving plastic in nature, especially on the beach. The WWF has identified nine coastlines as the places in the Mediterranean most polluted with plastic and Barcelona is high on the list. Help us reverse that situtation and cut down on plastic packaging, plastic bottles and straws during your stay.

Plastics account for 70% of the total waste that a family generates at home. Most of those plastics are single use. Let's try all to be green and clean in our day. Thank you.

So travel, see the world, but be a good tourist!

And don't forget to come back to Barcelona. You are always welcome.

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2020 10:38