Abstract: Climate Change Commitments and Challenges to Achieve Regenerative Tourism: A Case of Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand heavily relies on nature-based tourism for its popular “100% pure New Zealand” brand. However, the country faces challenges in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the significant contribution of long-haul destination. Despite various environmentally friendly initiatives, the primary obstacle to achieving low-carbon and regenerative tourism lies in the fact that tourists must fly to reach New Zealand. In terms of per-capita aviation emissions, New Zealand ranks sixth for international and fourth for domestic aviation emissions among other countries. The tourism sector in New Zealand is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, with a 54% increase in vulnerability. This leads to potential losses in terms of jobs, homes, lives, livelihoods, and hope for a better future. Global trends suggest a decrease in visitor numbers due to the impacts of climate change, making tourism one of the first industries to suffer during a disaster. Currently, New Zealand’s efforts to address climate change are rated as “highly insufficient” compared to other OECD countries. To protect the endangered “100% pure New Zealand” brand, significant actions are necessary to promote the conservation and restoration of natural habitats. This paper highlights that the concept of “regenerative thinking” emerges as a potential solution to accelerate climate action in tourism by encouraging the private sector to re-brand, refocus, and enhance the capabilities of all stakeholders. However, reducing GHG emissions in the tourism industry poses challenges related to transparency, financing, and monitoring emissions, as the industry is predominantly driven by the private sector. While global commitments like the Glasgow Declaration serve as catalysts to increase urgency and the need for climate action in tourism, a transformative shift in the tourism system is required to empower stakeholders in transitioning to holistic regenerative tourism practices.

Read More

Regenerative tourism and climate change
Climate Change Commitments and Challenges to Achieve Regenerative Tourism: A Case of Aotearoa New Zealand