At Uneasy no settle we campaign for change in the tourism industry on issues that we are passionate about. We do this because we want to help protect our favourite places, cultures and wildlife from unethical practices and irresponsible tourism. We want to create a more caring tourism industry. Over recent years we've formed relationships with activists, local communities, NGOs and people who think differently about tourism - they bring the issues to our attention if we don't spot them first.
With regards to Sri Lanka there are several issues for tourists to lend their support to...
Children Are Not Tourist Attractions
Visiting orphanages in countries such as Cambodia or Thailand, and many more, has become a worryingly normal part of a tourist's itinerary. They have been cleverly interwoven between visits to ancient temples, the beach or a river trip. The problem is two fold, however. First, as supported by this very important campaign led by Childsafe, 'Children are not tourist attractions' and second, false orphanages are being created to make money out of children who have families to care for them. Read more about Childsafe's work and support their campaign, if just to take note of one statistic alone: approximately 8 million children are in institutions worldwide. Eighty per cent of them have families to care for them.
Orphanage volunteering
Volunteer travel can be an incredible force for good, but only when such vacations adhere to strict guidelines. Guidelines we have asked all our volunteering vacation organisations to sign up to. One of the most stringent relates to volunteering with vulnerable children and, specifically, in orphanages. First, only trained professionals should volunteer in such positions. Second, they should commit to volunteering for at least a month. And third, volunteers should be police checked and organisations must adhere to child protection procedures. So if you are tempted to fly in and ‘hug an orphan’ in Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and many more, think again. Worst case scenario, some of these children aren’t even orphans. Best case scenario, you get a sweet Snapchat shot. Orphanage volunteering should never be about the traveler. But always about the children.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage boycott, Sri Lanka
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a very popular tourist attraction in the Kegalle District of Sri Lanka, may only be about 90km from its capital, but it is very far from the concept of what an orphanage is meant to be. Because although Pinnawala purports to rescue elephants, it is actually involved in breeding them for entertainment and profit making purposes. At Uneasy no settle, following advice from our tour operators on the ground as well as that of leading conservation charity Born Free, we have decided not to support this tourist attraction. Elephants have to be placated to ‘perform’, which involves the use of chains and bull hooks causing them unnecessary pain. In 2008 we took the decision to remove all trips that included Pinnawala and asked our suppliers to consider Sri Lanka’s more ethical Elephant Transit Home instead.
Stop riding on elephants
Riding an elephant may seem like a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit on top of nature’s most majestic creatures. A chance to see children’s faces light up like Mowgli in the Jungle Book. However, riding elephants, a popular tourist activity in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and South Africa, is not storybook in terms of animal welfare. Endangered elephants will continue to be taken from the wild as long as the tourist demand for such activities remains in place, and chains and other unethical training methods will continue to be used to 'break in' and control the elephants. It is a complex issue which we discuss in more detail in our Elephant Conservation guide , meanwhile at Uneasy no settle we have removed trips that involve riding on elephants, except in certain national parks where there are wider conservation benefits.
Wildlife. Not Entertainers
Experiencing local wildlife whilst on vacation can be both a memorable and enjoyable part of our time away. We encounter many animals abroad that we wouldn’t necessarily see in our home countries. However, too often there may be a world of exploitation and cruelty that exists behind the scenes for many of these animals involved in the tourism industry. These issues may go unnoticed to the traveler. Not for much longer, hopes World Animal Protection. Their campaign: ‘Wildlife. Not Entertainers’ aims to raise awareness around the truths of the animal entertainment industry in tourism. We speak to Alyx Elliott, Head of Campaigns at World Animal Protection to find out more.
Educating travelers about responsible tourism
Travelers are becoming more and more aware of the impacts their vacations can have in the world, compared with even ten years ago when so many people turned a blind eye to bad ways simply because we think that we all deserve a break. At Uneasy no settle we try to educate rather than lecture. With tips that how easily we can turn negative impacts to positive ones, engage with communities not just stay within gated ones, understand conservation not just tick off safari sightings, think local and think slow. While still enjoying vacations of a lifetime in places that need us to give a little something back too.
Had enough of mass tourism
We run many campaigns at Uneasy no settle, but Had Enough, which we ran in 2004, emanated from research that showed nearly three quarters of travelers we interviewed had had enough of destruction caused by mass tourism. The campaign sought to persuade the likes of Thomas Cook and Thomson Particular to publish responsible tourism policies - which they did very shortly after our campaign launched. Since then, some of the big tourism companies have improved, but many haven’t. For example, almost 90 percent of all inclusive vacation sales stay in the UK, water consumption in tourism in drought ridden countries is unethical, coastlines are destroyed, villagers displaced, families forced into poverty and children into sex tourism. It is not a pretty picture. Which is why, at Uneasy no settle, we still campaign for change. Read more about our campaign
Support our call for redirecting Air Passenger Duty to fund electric airplane technology
The UK Government raises £3bn a year from taxation of flights - a tax called Air Passenger Duty. Despite initially saying this was an 'environmental' tax the Government has never given any information about how the money is spent.

Although tourism faces many challenges in becoming more sustainable, by far the biggest is the carbon emissions caused by burning aviation fuel, kerosene.

We are calling on the UK Government Government to commit a substantial sum from this existing tax revenue to invest in the R&D required to deliver electric powered technology for commercial aviation.
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