regenerative tourism photo of woman sitting on boat spreading her arms
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What is regenerative tourism?

At the core of the definition of regenerative tourism is the necessity for a holistic understanding of its origins. The increasing awareness of the environmental and sociocultural consequences linked with leisure and recreational activities has led to a global rise in this emerging concept.

This article explores the historical, current, and future dimensions of leisure behaviour, emphasising the need for regenerative practices to address contemporary challenges, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and explains ‘what is regenerative tourism?‘ The focus on regenerative tourism is crucial for short and long-term successful integration into local systems, with Indigenous values serving as a foundational guide for effective regeneration.

The foundation of tourism – the host communities

Tourism, distinct from natural systems like farming, is a human construct, demanding a focus on regenerating the human system. The assertion here is that the vibrancy and well-being of host communities constitute the bedrock of tourism. A proposed regenerative tourism model underscores the importance of restoring not only the natural environment but also institutional, political, social, and physical aspects within host communities.

Challenges and clarifications

To circumvent the risks of ‘greenwashing’ and the misapplication of regenerative models, Project Regenerative Tourism stresses the need for clarity when applying natural science concepts to the tourism industry. Drawing parallels with regenerative agriculture, this underscores the significance of holistic systems that encompass social and economic spheres. Given the complexity of the tourism industry, a dynamic model is advocated, one that embraces uncertainty and evolving global trends.

Regenerative tourism models and measures – framework and indicators

The suggested regenerative tourism models along with regenerative tourism framework and regenerative toruism indicators rely on open-minded exploration, considering short-, medium-, and long-term consequences on the industry. Acknowledging tourism as an extractive industry, decisions must be holistic, recognising the interconnectedness of all elements in natural systems and involving stakeholders. The Project Regenerative Tourism introduces indicators of regenerative tourism to measure the degree of regeneration and sustainability in tourism products.

5 aspects of regenerative tourism - person looking at snow covered mountain
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Authenticity in tourism experiences

The revival of tourism should adopt regenerative tourism as a holistic understanding rather than a new specific type. Authenticity plays a pivotal role in tourism experiences, and this paper underscores its significance in attracting clients through digital marketing. Research in New Zealand explores the role of authenticity in promoting tourism experiences, asserting that post-pandemic recovery requires authentic regenerative tourism aligning with the originality and symbolism of tourist activities.

Positive psychology movement in tourism

The traditional tourism model, focused on increasing visitor numbers for economic returns, often disregards the true costs and impacts on destinations and hosts. Another paper argues for a positive psychology movement to deepen understanding of the tourism industry and mitigate its adverse effects. What is regenerative tourism, with its holistic approach, addresses challenges while promoting adaptability, creativity, resilience, improved well-being, and conscious travel habits.


Regenerative tourism emerges as a transformative approach for the tourism industry, providing a holistic model that fosters sustainability and positive impacts on both the environment and host communities. The article advocates for a collective commitment to innovative solutions, emphasising authenticity, Indigenous values, and a positive psychology movement to shape the future of tourism in a post-pandemic world. Asif Hussain, PhD, through various publications, outlines a comprehensive definition of regenerative tourism that underscores its focus on ongoing rejuvenation, innovation, and the restoration of social-ecological systems, transcending mere impact reduction.

“Regenerative tourism fosters ongoing rejuvenation and innovation in tourism systems, focusing on restoring and enriching social-ecological systems. It surpasses mere impact reduction, thriving amid changing trends and shocks with a focus on economic stability, minimal social and environmental impact, and the creation of authentic experiences.”

by Asif Hussain, PhD

Regenerative tourism definition by Asif Hussain, PhD, based on various publications under Project Regenerative Tourism.

Article by Asif Hussain, PhD

Sustainability and Resilience Institute