We need to transform the way we travel.
It’s time to transform the way we view travel. Regenerative tourism holds some of the answers to that shift.
You’re most likely familiar with the concept of sustainable tourism, it essentially means that we are leaving destinations the way we found them and not contributing to environmental and community degradation. While this is a great first step, regenerative travel asks us to go a step further and consider how we can create a positive impact in the communities and ecosystems we visit.
Regeneration is a term used in many fields, from agriculture to medicine. When it comes to tourism the concept of regeneration is a way of thinking about travel that shifts our perspectives from an extractive mindset to one of mutual flourishing. This means taking responsibility for our actions and just as importantly holding the companies and industries responsible for theirs.
We start to look at the implications of our actions and the effects, positive and negative, they have on the communities that we visit.
When the world slowed down at the start of the pandemic, people began to think more deeply about the impact they were having on the environment. We saw over touristed areas like Venice start to regenerate, wildlife starting appearing more frequently and pollution levels plummeted. I think we can use these examples as a way to think about the impact our vacations are having on local communities and environments, now that travel and tourism has resumed. What are places that you could explore outside of the well known, often crowded spots? Most likely your tourism dollars would be greatly appreciated in places that are less frequented.
If done right, tourism can help protect forests, wildlife, and ecosystems by allowing locals to preserve and protect their homes and create an income while doing so.
Being a responsible traveler can look differently in various situations, from staying at hotels that have high ecological standards, shopping with artisans, supporting educational initiatives that are overseen by the local community, eating at locally owned establishments, and respectfully interacting with local customs and culture.
photo by - weronikafrydel.myportfolio.com
The world is faced with some dire emergencies, the climate crisis and rampant inequality to name a couple, but the solution to some of these problems can be found in a world view that is based around regenerative principles instead of extractive ones.
This encompasses all aspects of our daily lives, including the way we travel.
We should be following the leadership of indigenous leaders and communities who are often on the front lines of climate disaster for guidance around how to create thriving ecosystems and communities.
For example, Hawaii has been suffering from overtoursim in “post” pandemic times. It’s caused a major strain on local resources causing massive amounts of water to be diverted from local communities to resorts. This has led to a call from many Hawaiians asking tourists to reconsider vacationing there.
It’s vital that we listen to and follow the lead of local communities. The practice of regenerative travel means that we are not only taking our needs and desires into consideration when planning a trip.
How can you apply all of this to your next vacation?
When we act on these principles of mutual flourishing, the impact and ripple effect of it is huge. There are so many incredible locally led initiatives and hotels/resorts that empower the local communities and provide luxurious and restorative experiences for the traveler.
It can take time and a willingness to dig deeper to find these places, but it’s well worth the time and effort to know that your money is being spent responsibly and locally. If you don’t want to spend your time in the planning process, work with a trusted travel consultant, (like me)
that can do the work for you and create a customized vacation tailored to your needs.