On the 4th of May, Etifor participated to the webinar “Towards Regenerative Approaches in Successful Tourism & Forestry Practices“. The aim of this event was to give an idea of what a regenerative approach is, its theory and principles. At the same time, the event explained what a regenerative approach can look like when applied in tourism and forestry, presenting also practical case studies and opportunities.
Regeneration is a holistic, multidisciplinary and context-specific approach that can therefore look different depending on the scale, location and actors involved in the project. Nature based solutions (NBS) adopting regenerative approaches that embed care and awareness, can greatly benefit the climate, nature, and people through long-lasting change, both at ecosystem and community levels.
The webinar was hosted by the Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform (CNEP), highlighting the platforms’ community ambassadors and members work in regenerative tourism and forestry.
During the webinar, Alessia Fiorentino, Junior Tourism Officer at Etifor, gave an overview of what regenerative tourism and forestry entails:
1. Regeneration is a mindset, process and practice by which the conditions for all life to thrive are created. It differs from sustainability, as regeneration focuses on improving, restoring and enhancing ecosystems, communities and resources. The concept of sustainability is built on the principles of maintaining and preserving the current state of ecosystems. In this sense, regeneration represents the next step, building onto the fundamentals of sustainability and ultimately asking for a mindset shift in our worldview to include nature as a fundamental stakeholder in all our decisions.
2. Keywords that tend to come up when speaking about regeneration:
- Living system worldview
- Creativity, collaboration and co-creation
- Bioregionalism and place-specificity
- PPCN partnerships (Private, Public, Community, Nature)
3. Regenerative forestry tries to actively enhance the health, diversity, and resilience of forest ecosystems. Key aspects of regenerative forestry are, among others, the fact that it embraces complexity and biodiversity,restoring degraded forests and protecting forest soils.
4. Regenerative tourism is not a tourism niche, but something that we should tend to as it seeks to ensure that travel and tourism reinvest in people, places and nature. We should ask ourselves these questions:
- How can tourism amplify and enhance the value that the community and the destination already have through exposure, support and promotion?
- How can tourism maximize its positive impacts? How can it give more than it takes?
5. Forestry and tourism have to find common ground on regeneration, which they are able to do when the destination and forestry management work side by side through certifying responsible management using common guidelines (FSC, GSTC), supporting forest’s multiple functions, including recreation and tourism that supports regenerative (forestry) practices and most importantly through participatory processes, community engagement and the integration of indigenous knowledge.
The webinar included the presentation of two inspiring case studies based around regenerative tourism and forestry:
1. Arte Sella started in 1986 with the aim of combining contemporary art and nature. It was presented to us by its president, Giacomo Bianchi. Even though an increase in tourism was not the ultimate goal, the project immensely increased the attraction of the valley and surrounding forests by integrating and respecting culture and nature. Key principles that Arte Sella has worked with since the start of the project include:
- Artists should complete their artwork in close connection to nature and by accepting that nature completes their work.
- Artwork is not permanent.
2. WeNaTour, an EC founded Erasmus+ project led by Etifor, starting in the next months. The project aims at connecting welfare, nature and tourism by combining research, innovative practice and digital innovation. The project aims to encourage the development of new skills, further inspiring the creation of new products, services, entrepreneurial ventures and jobs in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management.
Finally, a participatory activity was held at the end of the webinar, allowing participants to exchange knowledge and network. The “regenerative initiatives gallery” that was created is still available and editable: feel free to explore the existing profiles, initiatives and needs already on the shared presentation, and feel free to add yours!
Assess your NBS project with our activity: click here!
For regenerative tourism:
For regenerative forestry: