Regenerative tourism has been coming up more and more in the travel world in recent years. And it’s more than just a buzzword: it’s a way forward that can allow communities to thrive with the help of visitors from around the world.
It’s the concept that visitors and the tourism industry have the power to make choices that actually improve the places that they love, not just sustain them. If the importance of that isn’t apparent, let’s take a look at some of the reasons regenerative tourism is at the core of Starry Night’s ethics.
You may have heard about sustainable tourism, which the UN Environment Program and UN World Tourism Organization define as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” Sustainable tourism focuses on decreasing the negative impacts of tourism. But is that enough?
Regenerative tourism aims to not only reduce the negative impacts of tourism but also to increase the positive ones. Visitors can make a positive impact on the places they visit through volunteerism, donations, supporting local businesses, and choosing activities and accommodations based on the values of the providers.
On the flip side, businesses like hotels and restaurants can embody the
principles of regenerative tourism by supporting employees, engaging in
environmental programs, and giving back to their communities.
Sustainable and regenerative tourism started as a response to the negative side to travel and tourism. Tourism has contributed 1,597 metric tons of CO2 emissions worldwide, making up 5% of global carbon emissions in 2016, according to Statista. Residents living in places that draw large numbers of tourists often complain about overcrowding, pollination and trash in the areas they call home.
While it’s easy to focus on the negatives, we don’t need to let them get us down. We can use these factors as a motivation to make positive changes that will carry us forward into the future.
Just as tourism can have a dark side of overcrowding and emissions, it also has a light side. The economic benefit to communities, renewed support for important local causes, a sense of connection between people from around the world: all of these have the power to effect big changes on a local and global scale.
Travel is all about connections: connections to the land, to communities, to new ways of thinking, to culture, and to the environment. It’s always been about new perspectives and new experiences. Regenerative tourism combines the best parts of travel while promoting actively giving back and supporting those places visitors love.
When you’re planning a trip with the principles of regenerative tourism at the heart of it, take some time to be strategic in the businesses you support. Do they think local and put systems in place to make operations more environmentally friendly? Do they support their employees and promote regenerative tourism practices?
Starry Night Lodging operates on a mission of sustainability and regenerative tourism, with programs like solar installation, recycling, visitor volunteer programs, and carbon sequestering in native grasslands at the center of a business that provides affordable lodging in some of the most naturally beautiful places in the world. Book your stay, and adventure ethically wherever your travels take you.