For a better tomorrow – better now than never!
But we needed a pandemic and a climate crisis before the powerful tourist actors woke up. Today I took part in the seminar Nordic Regenerative Tourism in Malmö, Sweden and it made my happy to see that finally large tourist organisations and departments seem to have realized that the tourism industry, which has been such a destructive force for half a century or more, slowly is changing and responding to the climate crises and is now slowly moving toward a regenerative tourism. This is of course happening first in some areas of the world and places where there are local politicians and city officials more interested in saving the planet than catering to local market forces.
A couple of years ago I lead the project Nya Naturum which aim was to save Naturum in Raseborg in southern Finland – a nature educational centre and a doorway into Ekenäs national park. Even though this was one of the main tourist attraction of the city of Raseborg (except for some local politicians) showed very little interest in saving this amazingly important and popular centre – now there is pub in the building. I wrote a report of the process.
Tourism connects people and provides opportunities for learning to know new cultures and strengthening our bonds both with eachother across borders and with nature. It is of course also an important economic force for communities around the globe and can be an important factor in urban and rural development.
“The balance between the positive effects and potential negative impacts on local residents, climate and infrastructure is delicate and calls for new approaches where flourishing communities and thriving natural landscapes are at the core.” (NorReg)
The speakers at the seminar discussed and showed examples of how tourism can help a place or destination develop positively, on natures and local communities own terms. Regenerative tourism – I would call it slow tourism – is a new concept with the hope that “tourism becomes a self-empowering force for good in the future”.
Here you can watch the whole seminar in Vimeo.