islands view from sky

What is Regenerative Travel?

When travelling, do you ever make the extra effort to leave a place in better condition than when you arrived there? Regenerative travel is said to be the hot new buzzword in sustainable social circles. 

Wanting to help improve the condition of a natural environment to leave it better for the next time, is the basis of the regenerative travel initiative.

Although the idea may not be new, the phrase ‘regenerative travel’ is a new buzzword which one may have seen discussed in some rather large publications as of recent. Regenerative travel is to improve the natural state of an area; to leave it better than one found it. 

One of the major components necessary for regenerative travel is rethink of the current corporate mindset in regards to tourism. Currently, tourism is considered in an expansive way which is measured in tourism dollars. This rethink will mean forging a new path away from the current tourism dollars-based assessments and more into a mindset of tourism that hits at the heart of the destination – culture, history, food and nature. This mindset is said to drive the motivation to make the destination flourish for all, rather than the few.

How does regenerative travel compare with sustainable travel?

Sustainable travel and tourism works based on the premise of ‘do no harm’. Regenerative travel is based on the premise of improving the area. Ie; leaving the place better than one found it. 

We discuss a lot about sustainable travel and ecotourism here, but regenerative travel takes sustainability one step further by actively working to improve the condition of the place or to contribute directly to improvement initiatives that are ongoing during that time. The goal of sustainability is to make things last longer – to continue, to sustain. The goal of regeneration is to regenerate, to give new life, to leave it better than when it was found and to have a lasting legacy in nature for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

Nikkei Asia refers to a large projected increase in regenerative tourism in Asia, once the pandemic restrictions on travel have been lifted with a focus more on private, family -oriented travel in nature destination areas. The logic behind these projections is that individuals have spent so much time during the pandemic, distancing from others and prioritising what is truly important in one’s own life that it seems, at least for the years immediately following the pandemic, that travel which is more considered, more beneficial and more in tune with the environment seems to be the most likely scenario travellers will select. As airfare prices increase and the world is forced to consider cost analysis in a multitude of scenarios, frivolous travel just for the sake of it seems to be a thing of the past.

Some examples of regenerative travel accommodations

As regenerative travel is a relatively new concept, and will surely blossom in growth once the Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted, information regarding regenerative travel initiatives is just coming to light.  There is a union of 45 resorts devoted to regenerative travel where travellers can search for initiative resorts in their chosen destinations.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge, Nepal

These traditional mountain top cottages at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge provide a bit of nature adventure for those interested in yoga, trekking and natural beauty.  Independently validated by Just Report UK, their stated regenerative effort is education in the improvement of school facilities, teaching skills and providing of school supplies. As such, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is a member of pack for a purpose, where travellers can bring much needed donations for the local area Amar Jyoti school. The lodge works closely with the school in order to help raise money, complete construction for additional classrooms and volunteer teacher training.

Playa Viva, Mexico

This biomimicry treehouse in  Playa Viva, Mexico provides serious ecoluxury. The resort is 100% off grid with solar energy. The regenerative initiatives of Playa Viva are that of ‘ongoing projects in health, education and economic development’. The resort has a farm to table initiative which seeks to not only source local foods but to become an active part of the process by visiting the farms, becoming familiar with the people and processes with a sharp focus on organic and local produce. Incorporating this theme into additional initiatives on site which include permaculture planting and reforestation as ways to regenerate the natural areas  as well as making contributions to local farmers a high priority.

These are only 2 examples of many options available. Is it a surprise that improving a destination’s natural state, could be as simple as being a bit more selective in one’s accommodation? Eco friendly initiatives have changed drastically over the years. Whereas making the sustainable choice required quite a bit of effort and research, in today’s world things have never been easier in regards to making eco friendly decisions. Many of these resorts are even high eco luxury, so the traveller does not even need to feel as though anything is being compromised for the sake of regenerative travel. Just eco luxury at its finest while helping to improve nature or help local communities for a guilt-free form of travel.

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