Sustainable tourism, which aims to counteract social and environmental impacts associated with travel, has evolved into “regenerative travel” or left somewhere better than you found it.
Regenerative Travel – the next big trend for conscious travelers – seeks to ensure that the benefits that visitors contribute outweigh the resources they consume: itis on purpose tourism, to make a positive contribution to the quality of life.
Regenerative travel can help reverse the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to tourism-dependent countries by supporting local economies and cultures around the world in a more balanced way.
Nonprofits, including the Center for Responsible Travel and Sustainable Travel International, have joined forces as the Future of Tourism coalition, which aims to “build a better tomorrow.” Travel groups, including tour operators and industry associations, have signed the coalition’s 13 guiding principles, including “require fair income distribution” and “choose quality over quantity.”
According to the IMF, tourism accounted for 10 percent of global GDP and 320 million jobs worldwide in 2019. Some destinations, such as U.S. national parks and Croatia, are over-touristy, following the pandemic. And some countries suffer more than others from lack of tourism.
A recent study by the global baggage storage network, Stasher, reveals the ultimate regenerative travel destinations. The shortlist is based on where in the world had a large dependence on tourism before the pandemic, but now does not thrive according to TikTok and Instagram data.
When traveling, check the latest guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions. Some areas are not ready for tourists. But others are; and if so, perhaps consider their needs as part of your decision.
Also consider the most environmentally friendly way to get to your chosen destination. For example, if you fly, you can sign up for a carbon reduction platform, such as Treepoints, to help offset your aircraft’s CO2 footprint by donating to certified environmental projects on your behalf.
You can explore the full list of regenerative travel destinations here. Below is a shortlist:
% of GDP from tourism: 32.7%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 502,013
In 2019, tourism accounted for over a third of Cambodia’s GDP, yet it is clearly not a tourist destination on social media.
You can enjoy R&R on one of its deserted white sandy beaches; hiking off the beaten track in its jungles and national parks; or explore its ancient past at Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and the Bayon Temple. And in return, you support the historic sustainability of the historic site and its future people.
Best time to visit: The dry season (November to April), where you will enjoy average temperatures of 30 ° C / 86 ° F. Explore what Cambodia and other favorites in Southeast Asia have to offer the conscious traveler here.
% of GDP from tourism: 17.4%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 4,909
Uruguay benefits from a combination of open space and low population density; over half of Uruguayans live in the capital Montevideo – a city that mixes old and new.
Beyond the city skyline you will find the countryside with ranches, rustic beaches and vineyards.
Best time to visit: November to March, when the average temperature is 27 ° C / 80.6 ° F. Explore what Uruguay and other popular choices in South America have to offer the conscious traveler here.
% of GDP from tourism: 27%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 197,858
Albania may be Europe’s riddle, but with over 27% of its GDP from pre-pandemic tourism, your visit will have a positive impact. The country boasts rugged mountain scenery, Ionian and Adriatic coasts, fortress towns and ancient Greek and Roman sites.
Best time to visit Albania: June to August, where the average temperature is 24 ° C / 75.2 ° F. Explore what Albania and other top choices in Europe have to offer the conscious traveler here.
% of GDP from tourism: 19.8%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 187,995
The most popular destinations in the Middle East for travelers before COVID-19 included Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where tens of thousands of tourists visit annually.
Jordan offers sand dune surfing at Wadi Rum, floating in the Dead Sea, diving in the Red Sea or exploring ancient civilizations on the UNESCO World Heritage List, most famously the treasured city of Petra.
Best time to visit Jordan: Between March and June where you can enjoy the spring sun and cooler nights. The average temperature for this time of year is 30.3 ° C / 86.5 ° F. Explore what Jordan and other top picks in the Middle East have to offer here.
% of GDP from tourism: 55.8%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 2,466
The Caribbean archipelago has more than 7,000 individual islands across one million square kilometers.
Grenada, called the Spice Island, relies on tourism for over half of its national GDP each year. It is also relatively undiscovered on social media with well over 2,000 tags and views.
This island boasts Annandale Falls, Concord Falls and Royal Mount Carmel Falls; locally produced rum and chocolate; beautiful harbors and soft sandy beaches; and a mountainous lush interior – perfect for hiking.
Best time to visit Grenada: December to April, where you can expect an average temperature of 31 ° C / 87.8 ° F. Explore what Grenada and other top choices in North and Central America have to offer here.
% of GDP from tourism: 65.8%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 15,050
The islands of the Seychelles, with coral reefs and white sandy beaches, have been hit hard by the pandemic, where previously 65% of its GDP comes from tourism.
Once a pirate hideout, the Seychelles now caters to guests looking for luxury. Hiking trails, nature reserves, coral reefs and primeval forests are plentiful, and with under 16,000 tags and views on social media, you have room to enjoy.
Best time to visit the Seychelles: December to April, where you can expect an average temperature of 31 ° C / 87.8 ° F. Explore what the Seychelles and other popular choices in and around Africa have to offer here.
% of GDP from tourism: 72%; TikTok and Instagram tags / views: 393,376
Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal. Macau’s economy, known as “Las Vegas of the East”, was heavily dependent on tourism and accounted for 72% of the country’s GDP.
Macau is working to diversify its economy beyond tourism, but it is still a vital industry for the small nation for many years to come.
The old town is a mix of its Portuguese and Chinese heritage with cathedrals and historic ruins and local food markets – with treats like Pastel de Natas or Dim Sum.
Best time to visit Macau: October to November and March to May, where the average temperature is 22 ° C / 71.6 ° F. Explore what Macau and other top choices in Asia have to offer here.
The second annual Regenerative Travel Summit 2021 in September will add a trade show component that shows the travel industry can thrive, as well as serve as a catalyst for change that creates economic, social and environmental wealth.