Is the focus of sustainable tourism changing? What may come next? What is Regenerative Tourism? Well, while we are all familiar with sustainable travel, those not in the travel industry may suddenly be wondering what regenerative tourism means. In this article, we are trying to provide a clear picture concerning this new model of tourism. Not much is known yet, however, it seems to be gaining ground steadily and it very well might affect our future. Stay tuned because the next big thing has to be ‘Regenerative Tourism’.
#1 What is regenerative tourism?
The idea is that travellers leave a positive impact on the holiday destination they visit. It is not about leaving things as we have found them anymore as it was with sustainable tourism. It’s about making the place even better by improving its conditions. So we have to revitalize a certain place producing positive outcomes for its community and economy.
Regenerative tourism contributes to the quality of life of local people. For instance, by thinking in a community-by-community basis. Furthermore, it is very important to realize that this approach to tourism starts within ourselves. First, we have to deal with our homes, then our workplaces, and our communities. Global aim, local focus!
#2 Regenerative tourism for pandemic recovery
We have to look at COVID-19 as an opportunity for a reset. The tourism industry has suffered a lot. However, at the same time, they also have an unprecedented opportunity to recover in an impactful way. This is where the use of regenerative tourism principles can actively help. The focus is on helping destinations to thrive.
For example, the Transformative Destinations Program helps to improve the well-being of destinations’ communities and environment.
“This is an invitation to destinations worldwide that are embracing sustainable tourism. They want to take things to the next level through the adoption of Regenerative Tourism Principles for Destinations. […] The early adopters of the program will help implementing regenerative tourism. What’s more, they will be recognised for their leadership in this space.”Brian T. Mullis, leader of the Transformative Destination Program
The first destination signing up for the Transformative Destinations Program was the Willamette Valley Visitor Association (WVVA – Oregon, USA). They are getting on in an impressive way. With the help of their regional partners, they build tourism back. Thus, Oregon has a leading role in defining the future of tourism.
#3 Examples of how it works
So, let’s have a look at some terrible examples. First of all, there is the Thai island Koh Tachai, a paradise where natural resources have degraded significantly in just five years. Therefore, Thai authorities have decided to close almost all Thai marine national parks to allow the rehabilitation of the environment. Both the island and the sea have to recover, and tourists prevent that from happening. Furthermore, there is also the Costa Rica case. A huge wave of tourists prevented hundreds of thousands of turtles from laying their eggs on beaches. Moreover, have heard of the case of revelers attending the Reading Festival in 2019? Well, after the festival, the field looked more like a shameful carpet of rubbish.
It is not normal that we destroy everything we touch. It is possible to travel without damaging the environment.
What can you do?
– Choose responsible agencies, tour operators, and hotels that have the lowest environmental impact possible.
– Seek out more rural, off-the-beaten-track experiences.
– Buy from local businesses and establishments. Visit smaller dining spots instead of crowded restaurants.
– Buy seasonal products.
– Get actively involved in cleaning green spaces. For example, think before you go for a walk. Take a bag with you and pick up the rubbish you find along the way.
– Reduce waste wherever possible.
– Counterbalance the impact of travel. Work together with social projects.
Do you want a smarter, greener and less-crowded return to tourism? We have to integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature. Cooperate in a model for tourism that genuinely works to restore life through regeneration. As a matter of fact, this moment now is a golden opportunity for the tourism industry to redevelop itself. It’s not just about avoiding causing damage anymore, we have to make a positive impact on destinations and communities. It’s your responsibility too, be an active part of it!
Additionally, make sure to also read our article about ‘Easy Ways to Travel More Sustainably’. Click here for it!