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The New Trend: Regenerative Tourism


The tourism sector is like two sides of a coin: it is often considered as one of the economic sectors that can open up many job and investment opportunities, especially in remote areas, where industry will never come, but at the same time it has the potential to damage that untouched environment if tourism turns to mass tourism, when travelers flock to certain tourist destinations but both they and the industry ignore the carrying capacity of the environment, and cause sometimes irreparable damage.

 

This has been combated in recent years by the sustainable tourism movement which tries to reduce the impact on the ecosystem. But really that isn’t enough.

 

So is Regenerative Tourism the Answer?

Regenerative tourism is a concept that goes beyond traditional sustainable tourism by focusing on the restoration and regeneration of the environment and local communities. The ultimate goal is to leave the destination better than its initial condition.

 

In an era of climate change and increasing environmental damage, regenerative tourism is an important solution to reduce the negative impacts of tourism and repair existing damage.

 

What is the Difference Between Regenerative Tourism and Sustainable Tourism?

Regenerative tourism and sustainable tourism are two concepts that are interrelated and have similar goals, namely developing truly responsible practices in tourism. However, there are important differences between the two when viewed from the main focus: objectives, and scale or scope in the following explanation:

 

Main Focus

Sustainable Tourism aims to reduce the negative impact of tourism on the environment, the local culture and economy, and ensure long-term sustainability. Basically, sustainable tourism seeks to improve current conditions and get back to a point where no further damage is done.

 

Meanwhile, Regenerative Tourism is more ambitious with the aim of restoring and improving the environmental, cultural and economic conditions of tourism destinations. The approach is centered on recovery and regeneration, with the hope of leaving the destination better than it was when it started.

 

Practical Approach:

Sustainable Tourism implements sustainable practices such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, natural resource conservation, and cultural protection. This is intended to reduce the negative impact of tourism and maintain sustainability.

 

Meanwhile, Regenerative Tourism involves practices that focus on restoration, regeneration and improvement of the environment and local communities. The approach is more proactive in repairing existing damage and restoring biodiversity and cultural life.

 

Objective

Sustainable Tourism seeks to maintain the status quo and achieve a balance between tourism, the environment and society. The goal is to prevent further damage and minimize negative impacts.

 

Meanwhile, Regenerative Tourism aims to have a real positive impact by restoring ecosystems, rebuilding local communities, and creating better destinations overall.

 

Scale and Scope

Sustainable Tourism focuses on actions and policies that can be implemented at the destination level, such as national park management, water resources management, or the development of sustainable transportation.

 

Meanwhile, Regenerative Tourism involves a broader and more holistic transformation in the way tourism is run, including changes in attitudes, mindsets and business practices involving various tourism stakeholders.

 

So in fact, regenerative tourism can be considered an evolution of the concept of sustainable tourism, with a stronger focus on restoration and recovery. However, both sustainable tourism and regenerative tourism have an important role in promoting tourism that is more sustainable and has a positive impact.

 

Principles of Regenerative Tourism

Regenerative tourism is based on several main principles which include:

 

Community Engagement: Involving local communities in decision making and supporting their participation in the economic benefits of tourism.

 

Environmental Conservation and Restoration: Repairing environmental damage through restoration activities, reforestation, replanting and sustainable agricultural practices.

 

Economic Sustainability: Ensuring the sustainability of local economic activities by reducing dependence on mass tourism and promoting local products and small to medium enterprises.

 

Education and Awareness: Increase understanding of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainable practices among visitors and local communities.



Positive Impacts of Regenerative Tourism

Regenerative tourism has a significant positive impact on tourist destinations and the environment, such as:

 

Environmental Restoration: With a focus on restoration and conservation, regenerative-based tourism helps restore damaged ecosystems and protect biodiversity.

 

Economic Diversification: This concept prioritizes local economic development by empowering local communities through their participation in tourism and building economic independence.

 

Cultural Preservation: This concept really respects and supports local culture and maintains the authenticity of the cultural heritage of the local community.

 

Education and Awareness: Through this concept, visitors and local communities become more aware of the importance of sustainability and environmental sustainability, and develop the skills necessary to maintain sustainable practices.

 

Several tourist destinations have implemented the concept of regenerative tourism successfully. Here are some examples of success stories:

 

Bwindi National Park (Uganda)


Through a regenerative tourism approach, this National Park has become a successful example in protecting and restoring mountain gorilla populations while empowering local communities. At the same time, they also ensure economic sustainability and societal well-being.


Sumba Hospitality Foundation (Indonesia)


The Sumba Hospitality Foundation has succeeded in creating a significant positive impact in implementing a regenerative tourism approach. They provide education, training and employment to local communities, protect local ecosystems and culture, and promote sustainable tourism on Sumba Island.

 

Tresco, Isles of Scilly (England)


Tresco, a small island in the Isles of Scilly off the southwest coast of England, has implemented the principles of regenerative tourism. The island has strong environmental restoration and conservation efforts, including sustainable land management and biodiversity protection.

 

They also encourage community participation in decision making and prioritize sustainable local economic development.

 

Ljubljana (Slovenia)


Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is recognized as one of the leading cities in sustainable and regenerative tourism practices. They have adopted strong strategies to improve sustainable mobility, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

 

In addition, Ljubljana actively involves local communities in decision making and develops economic independence through the promotion of local products and small businesses.

 

Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec (Canada)


Rivière-du-Loup is a city in the province of Quebec, Canada, which has committed to developing sustainable and regenerative tourism. They prioritize nature conservation and promote sustainable ecotourism experiences, such as whale watching and hiking.

 

Rivière-du-Loup also pays attention to education and awareness, including programs that involve local communities in environmental conservation.

 

Lizard Island, Queensland (Australia)



Lizard Island, an island on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, has implemented regenerative tourism practices to protect and restore coral reef ecosystems. They work closely with researchers and scientific institutions to monitor the health and recovery of coral reefs, and limit visitor numbers to minimize negative impacts.

 

It works, let’s do more in Indonesia !

The development of regenerative tourism is still growing, and more destinations around the world can be found that have adopted this approach. Each of these destinations demonstrates strong efforts to repair environmental damage, engage local communities, and promote holistic sustainable tourism.

 

Regenerative tourism is a path towards a sustainable tourism future. By prioritizing community engagement, environmental restoration, economic sustainability, and education, we can create a better destination socially, economically, and environmentally.

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