The days of the camera-toting tourist may be numbered. Insensitive travelers are being ordered to stop pointing their cameras and camcorders at reluctant local residents. Tour companies selling expensive trips to remote corners of the world, off the well-trodden path of the average tourist, have become increasingly irritated at the sight of the visitors upsetting locals. Now one such operator plans to ban clients from taking any photographic equipment on holidays. Julian Mathews is the director of Discovery Initiatives, a company that is working hand-in-hand with other organizations to offer holidays combining high adventure with working on environmental projects. His trips are not cheap; two weeks of white-water rafting and monitoring wildlife in Canada cost several thousand pounds.
Matthews says he is providing 'holidays without guilt', insisting that Discovery Initiatives is not a tour operator but an environmental support company. Clients are referred to as 'participants' or 'ambassadors'. 'We see ourselves as the next step on from eco-tourism, which is merely a passive form. of sensitive travel - our approach is more proactive.'
However, says Matthews, there is a price to pay. 'I am planning to introduce tours with a total ban on cameras and camcorders because of the damage they do to our relationships with local people. I have seen some horrendous things, such as a group of six tourists arriving at a remote village in the South American jungle, each with a video camera attached to their face. That sort of thing tears me up inside. Would you like somebody to come into your home and take a photo of you cooking? A camera is like a weapon; it puts up a barrier and you lose all the communication that comes through body language, which effectively means that the host communities are denied access to the so-called cultural exchange.'
Matthews started organizing environmental holidays after a scientific expedition for young people. He subsequently founded Discovery Expeditions, which has helped support 13 projects worldwide. With the launch of Discovery Initiatives, he is placing a greater emphasis on adventure and fun, omitting in the brochure all references to scientific research. But his rules of conduct are strict. 'In some parts of the world, for instance, I tell people they should wear long trousers, not shorts, and wear a tie, when eating out. It may sound dictatorial, but I find one has a better experience if one is well dressed. I don't understand why people dress down when they go to other countries.'
Matthews' views reflect a growing unease among some tour companies at the increasingly cavalier behaviour of well-heeled tourists. Chris Parrott, of Journey Latin America, says: 'We tell our clients that indigenous people are often shy about being photographed, but we certainly don't tell them not to take a camera. If they take pictures without asking, they may have tomatoes thrown at them.' He also reports that increasing numbers of clients are taking camcorders and pointing them indiscriminately at locals. He says: 'People with camcorders tend to be more intrusive than those with cameras, but there is a payoff - the people they are filming get a tremendous thrill from seeing themselves played back on the viewfinder.'
Crispin Jones, of Exodus, the overland truck specialist, says: 'We don't have a policy but, should cameras cause offence, our tour leaders will make it quite clear that they cannot be used. Clients tend to do what they are told.
Earthwatch, which pioneered the concept of proactive eco-tourism by sending paying volunteers to work on scientific projects around the world, does not ban cameras, but operates strict rules on their use. Ed Wilson, the marketing director of the company, says: 'We try to impress on people the common courtesy of getting permission before using their cameras, and one would hope that every tour operator would do the same. People have to be not only environmentally aware but also culturally aware. Some people use the camera as a barrier; it allows them to distance themselves from the reality of what they see. I would like to see tourists putting their cameras away for once, rather than trying to record everything they see.'
1. In the first paragraph we learn that Discovery Initiatives
A offers trips that no other tour company offers.
B organizes trips to places where few tourists go.
C has decided to respond to its customers complaints.
D has already succeeded in changing the kind of tourist it attracts.
2. Julian Matthews thinks that the function of the company is to
A get people involved in environmental work.
B influence the way other tour companies operate.
C inform. holidaymakers about environmental damage.
D co-operate with foreign governments to promote eco-tourism.
3. What does Matthews say in the third paragraph about cameras and
A They give local people a false impression of holidaymakers. B They discourage holidaymakers from intruding on local people. C They prevent local people from learning about other societies. D They encourage holidaymakers to behave unpredictably.
4. What is Mathews keen for clients to realize?
A that certain behaviour may spoil their enjoyment of a trip. B that they may find certain local customs rather surprising.
C that it is likely that they will not be allowed in certain places. D that the brochure does not contain all the information they need.
5. Which of the following does Chris Parrot believe?
A Tourists are likely to agree to travel without cameras. B Local people may react angrily towards tourists who use cameras. C Tourists are becoming more sensitive about their use of cameras. D Camcorders always cause more trouble with local people than cameras.
6. Crispin Jones says that his company
A expects its staff to prevent problems over the use of cameras. B seldom encounters problems regarding the use of cameras. C is going to decide on a firm policy regarding the use of cameras. D advises clients about the use of cameras before they leave.
7. Which of the following best summarises the view of Earthwatch?
A Too many tour operators ignore the problems caused by cameras.
B Most tourists realize when they have caused offence to local people.
C There are more problems concerning the use of cameras these days.
D Cameras enable people to be detached from places they visit.
8. The word intrusive in the text means...
A becoming involved in something in a way that is not welcome. B behaving towards other people in a pleasant way. C willing to do things that are unfair, dishonest, or illegal. D deserving to be blamed for something that has happened.