As the pandemic forced many travelers to stay home, cities prone to an influx of tourists suddenly found their environment and quality of life improved. This phenomenon of “regenerative tourism” deals with how destinations around the world continue to push for ways that tourism can enhance the quality of life of residents, aligning tourists’ vacations with local values and redefining travel in a way that prioritizes quality over quantity.
“The pandemic has required us to ask, ‘why do we travel?‘ and gives us an opportunity to change ‘how we travel,’” says Amanda Ho, founder and CEO of Regenerative Travel, a community of independently-owned boutique hotels dedicated to creating positive social and environmental impact.
“We must repair and replenish our relationships with the places we travel. As an industry, we have a responsibility to create the change we want to see for the future of our planet. We are at a turning point as a human species to reverse the trajectory of climate change with an urgent call to repair and replenish the damage to our environment and our communities. In the most simplistic terms, we say that being green or eco is doing no harm.”
Different from sustainable travel which focuses on minimizing a tourist’s impact on the environment, regenerative travel instead aims to reinvent the entire tourism industry. In the past, tourism management and marketing centered almost exclusively on consumer demand. Regenerative travel, however, focuses on the supply side of tourism and not just on its demand. Similarly, organizations like The Long Run now focus on the culture, community, conservation, and commerce—also emphasizing the need to improve tourist destinations for everyone, not just the traveler.