With more countries added to the UK's Green Lists and the "Stay in the UK" restrictions being lifted, we are all excited to get travelling again! However, the climate crisis is something that is on many travellers' minds, with 81% of UK adults believing that climate change is a global emergency (Pew Research Center, 2021). This can be seen to affect consumers' market choices, with 4 in 5 travellers choosing to factor in ethics and sustainability when booking a holiday (National Geographic, 2021).
So how can the travel industry move to reflect these patterns in consumer behaviour? We know the tourism industry not only brings benefits but can also be damaging to destinations and their environments. For example mass tourism in Venice or Greece causes their structures to become unstable and that’s where regenerative travel steps in to heal these damaged resources.
What is regenerative tourism ?
Regenerative tourism is the idea that tourism leaves a place better than it was before. It is a commitment to tourism to create thriving destination communities and to regenerate and restore damaged resources. This means focusing on the needs of communities and ecosystems rather than just the wishes of visitors and market demands.
Regenerative tourism starts with a mindset to help the ecosystem and the communities to flourish. The main goal of regenerative tourism is to respect and protect the ecosystem and the communities by being conscious.
“Regenerative tourism management enables a place to be left better than it was found. - Anna Pollock”
How to be a conscious and regenerative traveller?
Travel off season
You can travel off-season which can bring a lot of benefits, such as cheaper flights, accommodation and/or attractions, but most importantly less tourists, meaning less strain on destinations.
Choose eco-friendly accommodation
You can choose accommodation that puts the environment first, that reduces your carbon footprint and has less impact on the environment. Even better, you can stay with a local, which can help you to learn more about the area and culture first-hand.
Support the locals
You can support local businesses, shops and restaurants. It’s good for the environment as they have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies and helps to develop communities.
Choose your activities carefully
You can have new, one-of-a-kind experiences like volunteering at a farm or meeting locals and learning about sustainability. If you have the opportunity to go hiking make sure to use the route that has been prepared and leave the area as you found it.
Regenerative travel thrives for change that generates economic, social, and environmental wealth. Regenerative tourism is, and must be, the future of the industry.
By Stellia Delannay, Intern