Regenerative Tourism: Beyond Sustainability

Patricia PetrinjakTourism Marketing
5 min read

Hospitality has grown faster than global gross domestic product in the last nine years.

Last year’s pause costed hospitality at least $ 3.4 trillion 💰

The change of generations, different guest expectations and climate changes remain a significant challenge for every hospitality worker, each apartment, hostel, hotel or campground – regardless of the pandemic.

The need for greener and more innovative hospitality without burdening local communities is highlighted more than ever.

We have already written on sustainability, so what’s the catch?

As sustainability aims to balance social and environmental impacts within the travel industry, regenerative hospitality relies primarily on the needs of local people and communities.

So we ask a similar question once again, regenerative tourism – trend or not?

Solutions Matter

A key feature of regeneration is the focus on solutions. Such solutions would be locally oriented and tailored to local needs, initiated by residents to support the community.

Hospitality, although a solution to many problems, has contributed equally to creating these problems. Hospitality needs to use its strengths (such as global reach, sector diversity, financial power, and the professional’s passion) to support solutions that solve problems on local levels.

Overtourism

Overtourism is a word that has been used for years to mark all the problems that destinations, local communities and residents face.

We are all familiar with the (excessive) number of visitors to specific destinations such as Dubrovnik or Venice.

Photo by Ljubomir Žarković on Unsplash

The same steps are practised to restrict access and count the visitors, usually too late. And it is questionable how much they ease the pressure on the destination.

Hospitality – Positive Change Agent

For too long, hospitality and the travel industry have existed separately from local communities, at their expense. That is what regenerative tourism recognizes.

Hospitality can, and should, develop to create regenerative experiences. Such perspective reflects hospitality’s potential as an agent for positive change contributing to better life quality.

Regenerative tourism is a community tool for a healthier, more innovative, sustainable and fairer future for local communities and the population.

Instead of asking how hospitality adds value, one should ask how hospitality increases the importance of local communities through promotion, reach, exposure and support.

Instead of the destination being shaped around the tourist offer, regenerative hospitality seeks the opposite. Hospitality should fit into the local image, further enriching and supporting it.

Changes by example

The primary goal is always growth.

But why not boost the local offer’s diversity and highlight it instead of increasing the number of arrivals?

For example 👇

Tourism New Zealand

The New Zealand Tourism Organization measures its success in economic terms and the context of well-being in terms of natural resources, the well-being of residents and local communities.

Photo by Tobias Keller on Unsplash

Visit Flanders

Visit Flanders, a hospitality organization representing northern Belgium has taken advantage of local strengths to rethink its current goals and attitudes. From travel and economic growth to the economy of meaning. That includes connecting visitors with locals who share their passions for things like history or food.

Photo by Dan Visan on Unsplash

Who defines better hospitality?

According to regenerative hospitality, determining and defining the tourist offer requires feedback from the local community.

It also requires engaged travellers and guests, being mindful of the travel impact on small communities and their hospitality members, directly and indirectly.

One of the essential experiences of the pandemic is discovering the power of one’s wallet in helping local communities, small businesses and the services of local entrepreneurs. We have already written about the importance of the local segment here.

Ultimately, every local action has a global impact.

Global problems, local solutions.

Global industry, local support.

A global platform, local stories.

The point of regenerative tourism, and why it should not be just a trend, is the cooperation of all aspects of society that to thrive together, they must cooperate.

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Although she would love to read all day, Patricia enjoys writing for Rentlio. Constantly trying to adapt to the Dalmatian way of life, you can find her walking her two dogs and/or reading on most evenings 📚