Regenerative Travel – What it Means for Destinations and Travellers


One Planet Journey co-founder, Richard Lindberg, explores how regenerative travel allows travellers to connect with communities and destinations on a deeper level, creating memorable journeys, lasting connections, and a hefty dose of personal development.


There’s a shiny and recent concept in the world of tourism, and it’s growing like weed. All of a sudden everyone is talking about regenerative travel as a superior approach to fix the problems associated with travelling, be it environmental degradation, economic leakage, or threats to the local way of life.

But isn’t sustainable or responsible tourism supposed to handle that? Kind of, but these concepts often focus on minimising the negative and maintaining a stable outcome over time. Regenerative travel claims a different narrative. Let’s dive in to understand how.

water drop in a forest
Regenerative Travel – Harmony in Nature


What is Regenerative Travel?

Regenerative travel demands more than the bare minimum of stability. It strives for renewal and rejuvenation. In short, leaving the place in better shape than when you arrived. Beyond environmental concerns, it addresses social and cultural concerns where the needs of the local community are vital. There should be a net win for everyone involved, including non-human life. To arrive at a shared vision, it’s necessary to define what the destination wants to become and how tourism can increase resilience.

Regenerative travel has the potential to not only benefit the environment and communities but also offers a form of deep travel with more meaningful experiences that strengthen the bond between locals, destinations, and visitors. Active participation in restoration and enhancement will leave guests with more of a personal stake in making a destination flourish. What a way to ensure repeat visits and loyal customers!

Definition of the word Regenerative Travel
What is Regenerative Travel


How Regenerative Travel Impacts the Traveller

If travellers turn into co-creators of positive change, gaining a sense of purpose and community, how will this play out in practice? In what way do they become part of the process?


Deeper Connection with Nature and Culture

Regenerative travel and tourism encourages travellers to immerse themselves in the local circumstance. Instead of observing, they can engage in ventures that help restore and protect natural habitats and cultural heritage. Getting hands-on involved establishes a profound connection to the destination, making their journeys more enriching and memorable.


Enhanced Personal Growth

Participating in regenerative activities often involves gaining insights into environmental and social issues. These experiences lead to a deeper understanding of the world, and a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of ecosystems and communities. These important lessons also migrate home with us, making a difference there as well.


Meaningful Interactions

Regenerative travel emphasises collaboration with locals. Visitors often work alongside residents in conservation and restoration projects, leading to genuine and purposeful encounters. These exchanges have the potential to break down cultural barriers, foster mutual respect, and create lasting friendships. As a traveller, you care for the place and its people in a more personal manner. Travel becomes more than a vacation, turning into a journey of discovery and shared purpose. You leave with a deep appreciation for the destination and a desire to return. In turn, local communities value the contributions and positive energy brought by regenerative travellers, contributing to a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for future guests.

Boardwalk by a harbour
Muelle Uno – A Regenerated Area of Malaga


How Travellers Can Support Regenerative Travel

To avoid regenerative travel becoming another vague sustainability related concept where travellers don’t know what to do, or what it means, affected parties need to be concrete. Show examples of activities and weave them into a wider storytelling narrative that illustrates the benefits for the destination, the community, and the traveller. Of course, to get involved requires you to stay longer than a few days. It’s an opportunity to dig deep.


1. Choose Destinations Committed to Regeneration

Research and select destinations that prioritise regenerative practices. The list of cities and regions committing to this form of travel is increasing. At One Planet Journey, we notice this in our dialogues with escalating frequency. Good hints to look for are places with eco-friendly accommodations and community-based tourism initiatives.


2. Engage in Conservation and Restoration

Once you have arrived, you can choose to participate in activities that help restore and protect the local environment. Many eco-lodges and tour operators offer volunteer opportunities that allow travellers to contribute to conservation efforts. When volunteering, remember to match it with skill sets you have so you don’t end up being a burden instead of a boost. Here are some straightforward schemes to partake in:

  • Tree Planting Initiatives: Join local projects to help reforest areas and combat deforestation. Trees play a crucial role in absorbing CO2 and provide habitats for wildlife.

  • Beach and River Cleanups: Sign up for cleanup events that target plastic pollution and other waste, a consequence of rampant tourism. This helps protect marine life and maintain the natural beauty of the destination.

  • Wildlife Conservation: We often travel to places to experience unique animals. Here is your chance to take it a step further and engage in activities such as monitoring endangered species, assisting at rehabilitation centres, or contributing to anti-poaching efforts.

Tree seedling
Seeds of Life


3. Support Local Economies

Opt for locally owned accommodations, restaurants, and shops. By spending money within the community, you help sustain businesses and ensure that tourism revenue benefits residents instead of leaking abroad, which is an immense problem worldwide. Supporting artisans and farmers also helps preserve traditional crafts and agricultural practices. Other measures include:

  • Visiting Secondary Destinations: Discover tucked away places that usually miss out on tourism dollars.

  • Educational Programs: Volunteer to teach English or other skills in schools. Education is a powerful tool for community development and empowerment.

  • Health and Sanitation Initiatives: Assist projects that improve the situation on the ground, for example, digging wells.


4. Respect and Learn the Culture

Take the time to understand the culture and traditions of the destination. Consider customs and seek to interact with people.

  • Pick up a few phrases: Understanding the language can build rapport with residents.

  • Mindful travel: Aside from minimising your environmental footprint (waste, water, energy, transport), it’s good to reflect on how your presence as a tourist impacts the destination and its unique way of life.

  • Attend Cultural Festivals: Take part in local events, which provide financial support to the community and keep traditions alive.


5. Post-Travel Impact

Once you’re back home and had time to digest, you can share stories you captured or lived through, but without evangelising about the destination as a social media “must see”. Many of the smaller destinations can’t handle a huge simultaneous influx of tourists.

Women dancing in group in orange and white outfits
Keeping local traditions alive – a part of regenerative travel


Financial Benefits for Destinations Embracing Regenerative Travel

If travellers get on board, and locals want it, destinations that adopt regenerative tourism practices can experience significant monetary gain over the long term, enhancing both economic, environmental, and social resilience. Here’s how:


Increased Tourist Spend

Travellers interested in what regenerative travel stands for stay longer and thus contribute more than conventional tourists. They seek out local and authentic experiences, and don’t mind paying a premium for eco-friendly and socially responsible services. This trickles down to accommodation providers, restaurants, artisans and tour operators.


Diversification of Income Sources

Activities such as eco-tourism, cultural workshops, and volunteer programs appeal to a niche market of conscious travellers. This helps to make the local economy more resilient to seasonal fluctuations and increases the chance of repeat visitors.


Enhanced Destination Branding

Destinations known for their commitment to regenerative practices can enhance their reputation and attract a growing segment of impact-driven travellers. This positive image has the potential to lead to increased media coverage and word-of-mouth recommendations, which contribute to long-term financial stability.


Grants and Funding Opportunities

Many governments and international organisations offer economic help for sustainable and regenerative travel projects. Destinations can access these resources to support conservation initiatives, further enhancing their appeal to travellers and investors.


Job Creation

Regenerative tourism creates jobs and fosters community developments, as they require local labour and expertise. This not only provides employment opportunities but also helps to retain talent and prevent brain drain.

View of coral under the sea with a man in a canoe
Coastal regeneration


The Future of Regenerative Travel

With the increasing attention on environmental and social issues, regenerative travel is positioned to become a significant force in global tourism. Based on thoughts from our community and our own reading of trends, we see the following three developments:


1. Increased Collaboration and Innovation

Partnerships between governments, NGOs, businesses, and local communities will be crucial in developing and promoting regenerative practices. Nobody can or should go at it alone. It’s a systems change, requiring broad support and buy-in. Technological innovations, such as apps and platforms that connect travellers with regenerative projects, also have a role to play, ensuring a smoother discovery process.


2. Enhanced Education and Awareness

Educating travellers about the principles and benefits of regenerative travel is a heavy responsibility, and requires deft skill in marketing and storytelling. Travel platforms, destinations, and service providers can help raise attention and inspire more people to choose regenerative travel practices.


3. Policy Support and Financial Incentives

Governments and international organisations will implement policies to bolster regenerative tourism, backed up by monetary enticements for businesses and destinations that adopt regenerative approaches.

Huge wall with books
LX Factory in Lisbon – A Platform for artistic collaboration


Regenerative travel represents a profound shift in how we approach tourism. It enriches both the environment and the social fabric of destinations, fostering a symbiotic relationship between travellers and local communities. As travellers become co-creators of positive change, they gain a sense of purpose and community, engaging in activities that leave destinations in better shape. This deeper connection not only enhances personal growth and cultural understanding, but also drives economic resilience and environmental stewardship at the destination level.

Imagine a future where each journey leaves a destination more vibrant, more resilient, and more connected to its roots. Regenerative travel holds this promise, urging us to re-imagine the impact of our wanderlust. It’s a call to action for travellers and destinations alike to prioritise renewal over preservation. The challenge now is to embrace this mindset, ensuring that every travel experience contributes to positive transformation. Will you be a part of it?


Have you engaged in regenerative travel practices? What destination is a role model? Let us know in the comment section! Subscribe to our newsletter and benefit from travel guides, sustainable tourism and luxury travel tips, insightful interviews, and inspirational places to visit. One Planet Journey – The World’s First Deep Travel Magazine.


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