New Film 'The Last Tourist' Bills Itself As "A Wake-Up Call" With Travel At Tipping Point.
By Pru Goudie
Last week G Adventures extended an invite to a group of passionate travel trade members and media to attend an exclusive Central London premier of the Award-winning travel documentary - The Last Tourist - a travel documentary that exposes the impact of mass tourism and shares insights into how we can all be better travellers.
- Scroll Below To Watch The Trailer
Amassing more than 400 hours of footage during filming across 16 countries, The Last Tourist empowers audiences with the knowledge and inspiration to make a positive impact - and to fundamentally change the way they travel - by examining the history of modern tourism and revealing its consequences. The documentary explores alarming issues such as animals suffering for entertainment, orphaned children exploited for profit, and developing economies strained under the weight of foreign-owned hotel chains.
"Back in the 1950s when the first jets were crossing the Atlantic there were 25 million international trips a year. Last year that number was 1.3 billion – a multiplication of 52"! reports Jonathan Tourtellot.
"Tourists are still visiting the same destinations that are the same size that they were in the 1950s, many of them have become honeypot destinations".
Jonathan Tourtellot – CEO. Destination Stewardship Centre
Credit: © Courtesy of Callisto Publishers
Tourism is not an elite hobby anymore, it exploded within a decade due to emerging markets coming onto the travel scene, such as India and China coupled with the advanced development of the internet and google.
It's a global industry with 80% of countries now counting tourism in their top five trading exchange revenue.
One out of 10 jobs on the planet are connected to the travel & tourism industry.
This hard-hitting film asks the difficult questions on how we get tourism right. It’s quite uncomfortable viewing, the shocking realisation of how little money stays in destinations, particularly in the luxury market where some hotel chains are importing almost everything into their all-inclusive hotels, thereby depriving the locals of any economic and cultural space.
The lack of integration into the tourism value chain has a devastating effect on the local communities. So this film questions how we get it right?
Images provided by G Adventures
As the summer holidays approach, travellers are being challenged to rethink their holiday habits. Pulling back the curtain on the travel and tourism industry, The Last Tourist, addresses the impact of mass tourism on local communities, wildlife and the environment.
Bruce Poon Tip, executive producer and founder G Adventures
“The Last Tourist demonstrates what a dire state the industry was in pre-pandemic and as travellers book their summer holidays it offers tangible ways they can have a positive impact while they are away,” says Bruce Poon Tip.
“Ultimately, The Last Tourist documentary is a message of hope. The travel industry has the power to be truly transformational and the main takeaway is the realisation that travel is a privilege, not a right. Only a tiny percentage of the world’s population have the privilege to travel and with that privilege comes responsibility. We all have the power to drive change through the choices we make and where we choose to spend our money. The travel industry caters to demand and if the demand from travellers shifts towards more conscious and responsible experiences the industry will respond".
“We don’t bring anything to viewers that they didn’t already know - we all know elephants shouldn’t kick balls and monkeys aren’t meant to ride bikes. When we are confronted with the images of these practices, it forces people to stop and to really think about what happens behind the scenes to make these scenes possible,” adds Poon Tip.
Bruce Poon Tip, executive producer and founder of G Adventures.
Dr. Jane Goodall (Jane Goodall Institute, United Nations Messenger of Peace) - Interviewed in the film
The Last Tourist shines the spotlight on many orphanages set up worldwide and how shocking and damaging voluntourism can be. By attracting unqualified and unformed travellers it creates attachment disorders as children experience a constant rotation of visitors coming and leaving their lives.
One in three children end up homeless
One in seven children get involved in prostitution
One in five children have a criminal record
One in ten children commit suicide
However, not all voluntourism has to be negatively disruptive; it can still be done right and leave a positive footprint when it is practiced with responsibility and accountability.
Make no bones about it, watching this film makes for some seriously shameful viewing. However, it is pleasing to witness the commitment to the cause from the adventure travel community and the way that many brilliant adventure tour operators, local guides and DMCs have taken this plight so seriously and put positive impact tourism at the forefront of their business models.
I have had the privilege of coming into contact with many such companies over the years, and more recently through Adventure Travel Networking (ATN) and the community we serve.
There are numerous travel companies out there that ‘get it’ and they are continuously striving to offer their customers immersive, integrated and responsible travel experiences that have a genuine positive impact on the communities and destinations they visit. They should be recognised and applauded for their efforts.
We all witnessed the absolutely devastating effect Covid-19 had on the tourism and wildlife industry when borders were shut worldwide. With tourism rebuilding and many travel companies reporting near 2019 passenger numbers travelling again it is crucial we use this opportunity to be more accountable for our actions and build back better. We can make tourism beneficial to all parties, including the communities we visit, the wildlife, the environment and the whole shared experience amongst tourists.
By creating the dialogue with local communities and finding out what they want and what is right for them, this is when we learn. When we listen and engage and understand local needs, we have the opportunity to create empowerment, and give those communities a voice, protect their natural assets and that’s when we can get community tourism right.
Rated the number two documentary on Apple TV in Canada when it launched last year, The Last Tourist is now available on Amazon and Apple TV, Sky, Vubiquity, Google, Microsoft and Rakuten. It is also playing on Delta Airlines and Emirates Airlines.
If you have the opportunity to watch The Last Tourist, just do it!
The Last Tourist - Watch The Trailer
The next Adventure Travel Networking Conference & Marketplace will take place on
27 & 29 February 2024 as a hybrid event.
Register your interest HERE