Measuring regenerative tourism – a new approach

New initiative to explore a regenerative tourism approach to rural community development in Scotland & Ireland

A new project has recently started that will see researchers from the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research at UHI West Highland work with partners at Munster Technological University in Ireland to investigate how we can transcend the extant practice of gauging the health of the tourism sector by the value of its economic contribution and, instead, think in terms of measuring success with a wider range of more inclusive, non-monetary indicators. The project is funded by the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh through the Ireland–Scotland Bilateral Network Grants scheme.

COVID-19 had a profound effect on the tourism sector globally. As the industry moves into a more resilient, post-pandemic recovery, there is an opportunity to promote more responsible tourist behaviour and address sustainability challenges in the sector that have been brought into sharp relief.

The project will act as a conduit for the sharing of applied research and teaching expertise on regenerative tourism, enable the development of a wider network of key stakeholders and initiate policy and practice discourse amongst policy makers, communities and destination management organisations. It is the intention of the consortium to seek further external funding for a transnational project on the application and adoption of regenerative tourism for rural community development.

The Director of the Centre, Dr Steve Taylor, stated that:

“While sustainable, or responsible, tourism focusses on reducing the negative impacts of tourism, regenerative tourism practices aim to replenish and restore what we have lost by helping to build communities that thrive. We are delighted to be working with colleagues in Ireland to explore the regenerative tourism paradigm in a rural community development context.”