From The Ground Up: Ruapehu On Regenerative Tourism Taking Root In Aotearoa
Since February 2021, Thursday mornings have been a highlight for many pioneering tourism organisations and businesses across Aotearoa. Fresh faced and bright eyed kiwis are zooming into an international programme known as Back to Life: Regenerative Tourism.
This initiative is hosted by a team of international thought leaders including Anna Pollock (UK) founder of Conscious Travel and Michelle Holliday (Canada) author of The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World.
Visit Ruapehu is part of this collaborative programme with regional tourism organisations (RTOs) around New Zealand including Central North Island RTOs Rotorua, Waikato, Coromandel, and Bay of Plenty, with over 75 members spearheading the Back to Life Aotearoa Group.
In line with the Tourism Taskforce report – We Are Aotearoa, the Back to Life programme signals a more holistic, regenerative approach to transforming the tourism sector through social, cultural, environmental, and economic wellbeing.
“Our purpose as a destination goes beyond getting more visitors and their spending. It’s time the industry become more intentional about contributing to the health and wellbeing of our communities,” states Michelle.
In line with the Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan, Visit Ruapehu is committed to growing visitor numbers in a sustainable manner by attracting visitors who contribute positively to its ecosystem as a whole - where environment, community and people thrive – and by cultivating the capacity of local hosting communities to generate new possibilities.
Rachel Hoskin, Stakeholder Engagement Manager from Visit Ruapehu has begun to look at the tourism offering in the region with a new lens.
“The Back to Life programme challenges us to rethink our ways and highlights how tourism can become a positive vehicle for change. It’s been very inspiring to recognise some of the positive work already underway in this space, including the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan, a whenua-based framework outlining solutions for our communities to thrive in the short and long term,” shares Rachel.
Alongside a mix of other tourism businesses and organisations, this four-month programme invites participants to rethink and reimagine the future of tourism and begin the work of identifying the next steps to move towards a more regenerative approach.
The final webinar will be held on 13 May 2021.