Looking at the long term impact of backpackers

We like to think that as we travel the world, we leave it as we left it or better. However, an upcoming documentary by Pegi Vail, an anthropologist from Columbia University, looks at the impact that decades of backpackers have had on cultures, economy, and the environment in parts of Thailand, Mali, and Bolivia. A cautionary tale, GRINGO TRAILS is currently raising funds on KICKSTARTER for the film’s final shoot in Bolivia this summer.

The KICKSTARTER page has a short video trailer that paints a sobering view of Haad Rin, Thailand, which was a remote unspoiled beach 30 years ago, and is now home to a ‘Full Moon Party‘ that seems more like Burning Man on the night of the Burn.

The final segment, filmed in the Salt Desert of Bolivia, will offer a positive counterpoint to the situation in Thailand. One of several interviewees in the film, ecotourism pioneer Costas Christ (National Geographic Adventure) notes;

“Backpackers aren’t the bad guys. It really boils down to how we travel, and what the legacy is of that. We are guests in another culture, so the issue isn’t how do we stop tourism, the issue is how do we get it right.”

While Pegi and her team have already reached their pre-production filming goal, they are taking additional donations until July 11th to support their post-production editing costs.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | June 24, 2010
Category: Backpacking, Ethical Travel, Travel Video

One Response to “Looking at the long term impact of backpackers”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    This is probably why Eco-Tourism or Green Travel is becoming popular. It’s great to travel the world but at what cost? Be respectful when you’re visiting another country. Pickup your trash and others trash if you see it. Recycle where possible and be mindful of your environment and who’s in it.