Tourism has been decimated by the pandemic, but when travel returns, what will it look like? This week’s Thought Leader Series from The New York Times, shared with us by an Emissary, looks at the concept of regenerative travel and how we can take sustainable vacations one step further.
Sustainable tourism aims to limit the impact of visitors on the places they explore, but regenerative travel expands upon this and encourages visitors to leave a place better than they found it. The concept of regeneration has its roots in building and design but has expanded into agriculture and other industries to create systems across many fields that truly work for humans and the planet.
When it comes to travel, this looks something like the development of Playa Viva, a small resort south of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The 200-acre property has an organic agricultural system which benefits both the property and local residents, as well as a 2 percent stay fee paid by guests that funds a trust that invests in community development.
Another example is OneSeed Expeditions, a tour company based in Denver, which uses 10 percent of its proceeds to provide zero-interest loans to local nongovernmental organizations. Both of these companies are part of Regenerative Travel, a booking site that screens companies on best practices using metrics such as carbon usage, employee well-being, immersive guest activities, and sourcing local food.
So how can you be a regenerative traveler? Looking to a regenerative company or property for your post-pandemic vacation is a good start. Another way is to think about your behavior when you’re vacationing. Think beyond the immediate attractions of an area and learn about the deeper culture and history of a region. When booking accommodations and dining, seek out places that are locally owned, rather than operated by large hotel chains.
Many beautiful areas, like Hawaii and Croatia, have become tourism hot spots with little thought to the impact hoards of visitors have on the local people and ecosystems. Regenerative travel is a new approach to the concept of vacation.
Anna Pollock, the founder of Conscious Travel told NYT, “We’ve managed to shift the thinking from having their primary objective be about growing the numbers to creating flourishing destinations, flourishing communities, and having them say what kind of tourism they want.” Read the full article below to learn more about other regenerative travel companies and practices.