We all know that traveling is good for the mind and soul as it exposes people to new experiences, helps them disconnect and recharge, broadens their horizons and enhances creativity. Unfortunately, modern-day traveling is not so good for the planet.
On the one hand, the travel and tourism industry, which has been growing at a rapid pace over the last decade or so, plays a significant role in economic development, accounting for 7.6% of global GDP in 2022. On the other hand, the sector is responsible for nearly 8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The aviation sector alone generates over 2% of the total CO2 emissions. Deforestation, loss of natural habitat, over-consumption of natural resources, air and water pollution, solid waste and littering are some of the most concerning negative by-products of the ever-growing tourism industry.
Fortunately, awareness around the huge emissions stemming from air travel and the environmental impact that the tourism industry produces has also increased in recent years, leading to the emergence of the sustainable travel concept. Sustainable travel prioritizes practices such as recycling, opting for eco-friendly accommodation, using more efficient modes of transportation, reducing waste and respecting local communities. But while renting a car or booking cheap JFK parking can make you a more conscious traveler, it doesn’t exactly solve the problem. There’s a lot more that needs to be done in order to counter the negative effects of modern travel habits, and regenerative travel might just provide the solution.
From sustainability to regeneration
If you’re a keen traveler who wants to explore all corners of the world but you’re also concerned about the impact that your adventures have on the planet and you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint, you wouldn’t be wrong to think that sustainability could help you achieve your goals. Staying at green B&Bs or organic farmhouses is definitely preferable to choosing traditional all-inclusive hotels which are known for producing massive amounts of waste. Similarly, choosing reusable eco-friendly products over single-use plastic when traveling is a great way to reduce waste and pollution.
As a result, an increasing number of tourists from all over the world have started down the sustainability path, choosing eco-friendly products and services when planning their trips. The rising demand for sustainable travel proves that most people are willing to put in the effort to protect the planet and even the smallest efforts can make a positive difference in this respect.
However, there are limitations to what sustainability can do for the environment. The travel and tourism industry has already caused a lot of harm to the planet, and making more sustainable travel choices from now on isn’t going to reverse the damage. Sustainability is more about not causing a bigger mess than we already have. In many ways, it’s just like putting a band-aid over a wound that never heals. It doesn’t go past the surface level to dive deeper into the issues we’re facing and address the root cause instead of the symptoms. But regenerative travel does, and that’s why it has been gaining ground lately, leaving sustainability behind and marking a new era of responsible tourism.
What is regenerative travel and how can it help?
Since regenerative travel is a fairly new movement in the sphere of environmental protection, we should start by explaining what the concept entails. Based on the idea of building back better, the purpose of regenerative travel is to help the planet heal and restore its natural resources by turning travel into an act of improving a place or a system. Regenerative travel raises the bar for tourism as it strives to initiate real and long-lasting change so that the generations to come can enjoy a healthier planet.
Travelers that adhere to this philosophy don’t limit their efforts to booking eco-friendly accommodation, renting a car or searching for cost-effective Boston Logan airport parking to reduce their environmental impact. Instead, they engage in all sorts of activities meant to bring a real contribution to the development of the places and communities they visit. That engagement can take all sorts of forms from staying in a local lodge, supporting local businesses and consequently encouraging the progress of the local community to getting involved in eco-friendly projects that contribute to wildlife conservation, volunteering in different organizations that support eco-friendly causes and so on.
In other words, regenerative travel encourages people to leave a place not the same but better than they’ve found it and relies on the power of collective effort for that. When it comes to making a positive impact, every single action counts. If every traveler would bring their contribution, no matter how big or small, to make the planet a better place, great things could be achieved. Things like flying less, walking, biking or using public transport instead of driving, or eating locally-sourced food are all great ways to integrate regenerative travel practices into our lives. So, there’s no need to move mountains or take on a huge commitment to make things happen. it just takes a bit of willpower and implication for things to move in the right direction.
At the moment, regenerative travel is still in its infancy and a lot of tourists either don’t know about it or equate it with sustainable tourism. It’s going to take a while for the general public to get acquainted with the concept and embrace it. Nevertheless, regenerative travel is gaining more ground by the day and that shows there’s great potential in this area already. People want to have memorable travel experiences but they also want to feel good about themselves, and regenerative travel can tick both boxes.
So, next time you’re planning a trip, you could try to get off the beaten track and take the regenerative travel route instead. You might come to realize that embracing this approach can enrich your travel experience and make you a healthier and happier person.