The world is changing very fast and so is everything we ever knew. Years back, tourism used to be a simple one-word that people understood easily but it is no more. Have you ever come across the expression “Green, Eco-, Sustainable, and now Regenerative Tourism? With so many buzzwords being thrown around, navigating the green travel market may be challenging. Businesses occasionally use these terms deceptively in order to appeal to a growing movement of ecologically and socially conscious travelers without actually implementing any environmentally or socially responsible practices. We want to shed some light on what these phrases truly mean in this section.
Regenerative Tourism: What is it?
Regenerative development stems from the frustration caused by the fact that the movement for a more sustainable future is not working, since the expected results have not been achieved.
Sustainability aims to “sustain”, that is, to keep things as they are, or not allow them to get any worse for future generations. However, human activity is putting such pressure on the earth’s natural functions that the ability of the ecosystems to support future generations is no longer possible.
While it is true that the concept of sustainability has evolved over the years, this paradigm continues to put humans outside or even in opposition to nature, with a reductionist approach that tries to solve problems within the same framework from which they were created.
Sustainability has focused on minimizing damage and making a more efficient use of resources, but while this slows down degradation, it is not a change of course.
It is imperative to take a different approach to this matter, one that brings a change in values.
Environmental conservation, social development, and local economies are all aided by sustainable tourism firms. Conserving water and energy, sponsoring community conservation programs, recycling, and processing wastes, hiring local residents, paying them a fair price and offering training, and buying locally-produced items for restaurants and gift stores are all examples of sustainable business practices. Businesses who are committed to sustainable tourism take actual steps to improve the well-being of local people and contribute to the preservation of natural and cultural resources. In addition to attracting ethical tourists, they typically reduce their own costs and ensure the life of their enterprises by doing so. Sustainable tourism must be profitable for company owners in order to survive.
Sustainable tourism and ecotourism are comparable concepts with many of the same principles in common, however sustainable tourism encompasses all sorts of travel and places, from luxury to backpacking, and from booming metropolis to secluded rainforests.
Researchers in the 1980s popularized the term “green tourism” to characterize the hotel industry’s practice of hanging green placards in each room encouraging visitors to reuse their towels. According to the report, several hotels made little to no attempt to conserve resources or reduce waste, preferring instead to appear ecologically friendly, or “green.” When investigating hotels, it’s critical that guests probe a little deeper into their green promises. Fortunately, most environmentally conscious hotels offer information about their green programs on their websites, making it easy to learn about the specific steps they are taking to conserve natural resources, protect flora and wildlife, and contribute to the well-being of local communities.
The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural regions that conserves the environment and enhances the welfare of indigenous people.” Ecotourism’s guiding principles include limiting effect, conserving biodiversity, increasing environmental awareness, and preserving indigenous culture. Typically, ecotourists are drawn to areas for their flora, fauna, and cultural legacy.
How to practise Regenerative Tourism
Apart from booking a sustainable hotel, there are more things you can do to be a planet-friendly traveler. Below are five suggestions:
- Purchase carbon offsets if you fly. While flying is a significant source of pollution, travellers have the option of paying an additional few dollars to mitigate their carbon footprints. Carbon offsets are sometimes offered by the airline when you purchase your ticket – for example, by Delta Airlines, Air New Zealand, or Jetstar – as an optional fee; however, if your airline does not offer this option, you can also contact a number of organizations such as ClimateCare in the United Kingdom or TerraPass in the United States.
- Obtain ground transportation to your destination. Spending somewhat extra time going by bus or vehicle, as well as taking public transportation once you arrive, can significantly minimize your carbon footprint.
- Bring reusable bags and utensils (just as you would at home) in case you decide to purchase souvenirs or food.
- Consume regional cuisine. Producing food in climates where it is not normally cultivated can be costly and wasteful. Additionally, this provides the ideal opportunity to engage in some food tourism, delving into the local cuisine.
- Take care not to litter. This is especially true for food, as it can have a detrimental effect on local ecosystems if local animals begins to graze on “human food” instead of its normal diet.