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Regenerative Travel Closes First Summit With Announcement of “The Regenerative Pledge”

October 7, 2020 MICE No Comments Email Email

During Climate Week NYC from September 23-25, The Regenerative Travel Summit took place in collaboration with REYA Communications. More than 40+ speakers and 1,800 attendees came together for three days of talks on climate change, tourism and how to become a Regenerative Traveler. Recordings for all panels can be found at regenerativetravel.com.


Regenerative Travel, a benefit corporation and online booking platform to a collection of 50+ independent boutique eco-luxury hotels and lodges, closed its first ever Regenerative Travel Summit with the announcement of “The Regenerative Pledge” in an effort to further each hotel’s ‘regenerative journey’ and provide properties guidance and operational support with their new initiatives.

 “As the COVID-19 global crisis continues to spread and the incredible economic impact is made clear, it is imperative that we rebuild a tourism sector that is safe, fair and climate-friendly. It is more important than ever to share the key challenges, best practices and future solutions needed across the travel industry. With The Regenerative Pledge, we have aimed to create a process that is aspirational, rather than exclusive. This encourages more properties to make changes and move towards regenerative models, rather putting them off with intimidating standards,” said Amanda Ho, co-founder of Regenerative Travel.

The Regenerative Pledge

At the summit, Regenerative Travel announced it will be implementing a data bench marking system for its Regenerative Resorts aligned with a ‘Regenerative Pledge’ to further each hotel’s ‘regenerative journey’ and provide properties guidance and operational support with their new initiatives. The bench marking will align measuring environmental and social impact metrics using the Greenview Portal.

The pledge states: “We are a financially viable business and also environmental stewards, who recognize that universal human equality is vital to ecological conservation. All are welcome in our space and we treat everyone as equals. We champion and participate in a fair and equitable economy. We are meaningfully involved in our local community and respectful of our neighbors. We document our journey and share what we learn, promoting regeneration to everyone we touch, including our clients and shareholders, for whom we do not compromise our values. We replenish and repair, creating abundance where there was scarcity. Our goals and standards constantly evolve because we listen to the world around us. We plan for the next generation. We are never finished.”.

More information on the metrics, application process for hotel membership and fees will be available on regenerativetravel.com.

Summit Recap

The 3-day virtual summit brought together global stakeholders and independent travel companies dedicated to environmental and social impact progress. The event featured 40 speakers that ranged from conservation experts, environmental economists, business owners, hoteliers, and journalists who focused their discussions on tourism and hospitality and how we can move beyond sustainability to regeneration in order to reverse climate change and use tourism to rebuild for a more positive future. Speakers included Zita Cobb, CEO of Shorefast and Innkeeper at Fogo Island Inn, Dereck Joubert, Founder of Great Plains Conservation, Dr. Dune Ives, Managing Director at Lonely Whale, Dr. Tara Stoinski, President of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses.

Key Takeaways

While many topics were covered throughout the three days, three themes emerged as a constant.


1. Local Communities Need To Be Involved: Climate change poses huge risks to the environment. But one cannot only focus on the environmental sensitivities without addressing the communities it impacts the most.

As Elizabeth Ojo, Director of Operations at ALU School of Wildlife Conservation, pointed out: “If conservation is going to thrive, we can’t do it just for nature’s sake. It must be something that offers investment opportunities, and development and economic opportunities for local people and governments.”


2. Collaboration and Education Is Imperative: Collaboration – whether that’s between organisations, between NGOs and governments, or between the private sector and conservation programs – is needed to create understanding and leave a positive impact on the planet.

Dr. Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale, addressed this in her discussion around marine conservation: “I think first and foremost, collaboration is key. We have to start sharing more information about incredible work that others are doing in a non-competitive way, because the ocean is our number one source of life. And if we don’t start doing this now, it doesn’t matter how many awards somebody wins. It doesn’t matter how much funding somebody gets. It doesn’t matter how many customers someone has. It’s not going to matter.”  


3. Diversification On Multiple Levels Is Key: Whether it’s diversity in the representation of workers, or in your marketing material or in how this type of work is funded, diversity is key to enacting long-lasting positive change.

Dr. Tara Stoinksi, President of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund: “Conservation cannot solely be funded by ecotourism. We have got to have a diversified funding source for conservation to happen. We can’t have all of our eggs in one basket. And if the world wants gorillas and elephants and rhinos and all of these animals to survive, we have to fund this type of critical work.”

Martinique Lewis, President of the Black Travel Alliance: “Everybody wants to feel wanted. Everybody wants to think that you’re speaking to them. And if you’re trying to also reach new or new demographics still with this common theme, a way to do that is to show different types of people in your space.”


Each day was tailored to a specific stakeholder and was essential for hearing how the industry’s leading business minds are working towards recovery and answering the big questions facing travel.

Day One – Wednesday, September 23: 

Open to the general public, this day aimed to answer what regenerative travel is and explored the biggest threats and advancements in aviation, land management and marine conservation that travelers and the industry can get behind.

 Day Two – Thursday, September 24

Tailored to the media, the summit addressed the role of journalists in creating impact and introduced five unique companies taking unconventional approaches to sustainability. We also celebrated World Gorilla Day by exploring how NGO, hotels and governments can  successfully collaborate in conservation.

Day Three – Friday, September 25

Tailored to hotels, topics discussed included “How to Create More Regenerative Travelers,” and “How Regeneration, Environmental and Social Equality Are Connected.”

Videos and key takeaways of each panel discussion are available on regenerativetravel.com.

SPEAKERS

  • Aaron Millar – Travel Writer

  • Adam Klauber – Sustainability Expert at Rocky Mountains Institute

  • Ashlan Cousteau – Founder of EarthEcho

  • Ben Pundole – Founder, A Hotel Life

  • Bill Bensley – Architect & Founder of The Shinta Mani Wild Collection

  • Christina Beckmann – Founder of Tomorrow’s Air

  • Daniela V. Fernandez – Founder of Sustainable Ocean Alliance

  • David Prior – Founder of PRIOR

  • Dereck Joubert – Group CEO at Great Plains Conservation

  • Duke Phillips – CEO & Founder of Ranchlands

  • Elizabeth Ojo – Director of Operations, ALU School of Wildlife Conservation

  • Eric Ricaurte – Founder, Greenview

  • Eugene Mutangana – Conservation Expert, Rwanda Development Board

  • Geordie Mackay-Lewis – Co-founder of PELORUS

  • Harsha L’Acqua – Founder and CEO at Saira Hospitality

  • Jamal Gales – Program Director, Clearwater Aquarium

  • Janice Lao – Director, Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility,, HSH Limited

  • Jimmy Carroll – Co-founder of PELORUS

  • Juliet Kinsman – Travel Writer & CNT, Sustainability Editor

  • Katalina Mayorga – Founder of El Camino Travel

  • Kris Tompkins – Co-Founder Tompkins Conservation

  • Kyle Wiggs, Founder of Keteka

  • Lauren Riley – MD, Environmental Affairs, United Airlines

  • Martinique Lewis – President, Black Travel Alliance

  • Mary Holland – Travel Writer

  • Milena Stoyanova – Founder of Positive.Travel

  • Neil Jacobs – CEO, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

  • O’Shannon Burns – Program Director, EplerWood International

  • Paul Herbertson  – CEO at Wild Philanthropy

  • Paul Robinson – COO at Bawah Reserve

  • Portia Hart – Owner of Blue Apple Beach House

  • Praveen Moman – Founder of Volcanoes Safaris

  • Robert Silk – Travel Weekly Aviation Editor

  • Sophy Roberts – Author & Travel Writer

  • Steve Csonka – Executive Director at Commercial Aviation Fuels Initiative

  • Tara Stoinski – Chairman of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

  • Travis Levius – Travel Writer

  • Teresa Baker – Founder, Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge

  • Zita Cobb – CEO of Shorefast/Innkeeper at Fogo Island Inn

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