Regenerative Tourism

July 18, 2023

Travelling has transcended beyond adventure, thrill & pleasure. It has now hatched onto a new league of preserving the environment, local culture & heritage. With sustainable tourism already gaining the due awareness and prominence, the new class of tourism has arrived to solidify the sustainable measures – REGENERATIVE TOURISM.

While sustainable tourism aims towards preserving the interest of destinations & people, leaving it better for future generations to enjoy, the concept of regenerative tourism goes even deeper as it focuses on creatively driving solutions that focus on improving conditions of the planet & people. Its prime goal is to add value to the place backed by the spirit of community-orientation.

With increase in footfall, the destinations bear the load of the human activity which if not meticulously managed, render deep losses – both to the environment & local communities. In such an hour like this, we need an even more conscious form of tourism than sustainable or green tourism. The prevailing times demand an urgent action & a solution that not only makes up for the past damage but also invests into their future. Thankfully, regenerative tourism has become a healing potion for such grave issues in the travel industry.

To mitigate the harmful consequences of unmindful tourism, all the members – Government, tourists, travel operators, hotels etc need to bind together to formulate conscious compassion & a gentle relationship with the destination & local communities. It is not just sufficient to debate about Climate Change & gawk at its hazardous effects. It is now the time to collectively work towards it.

While the Government can work towards policy formulation to safeguard the interest of the place and people, the wide portion of creativity lies with the tour operators & resorts. There is a vacuum of meaningful solutions to engage the travellers positively and instil the spirit of community-orientation through which they can contribute to the place they travel to. While many travellers are looking for ways to contribute, for example- Volunteering, there is still a wide scope to bring forth the cross engagement of travellers, local community & environment in the travel industry.

What can Tour Operators do?

Travelling responsibly is a mutual duty of all the members of the travel industry & hence it is not entirely fair to pin the travellers alone with this responsibility. While travellers interact directly with the environment & people, it is the tour operators who facilitate this interaction. This ends up leaving the ball in the court of the tour operators who can first build a healthy bridge & make their due contribution to mitigate the impact of tourism on the environment and people.

A lot many measures can be taken by the tour operators to combat environmental impact like organising group tours to limit the use of cars, incorporate more walking, encouraging travellers to dispose of their trash in bins, promote usage of refillable bottles etc.

Extending beyond the environment, comes the local communities who preserve it. While travellers come to explore the sights, it is these indigenous groups who safeguards it and lives there. Therefore, respecting and encouraging the well-being of the local groups is of utmost importance.

Tour operators can curate experiential itineraries that involve active engagement of travellers with the local groups. For example, Lchang Nang Travels – a Ladakh based travel company, excels in experiential itinerary curation like suggesting tourists to spend an afternoon at Likir Pottery ( the last Ladakhi Potter’s Family ) where they not only learn how to make pottery through an ancient technique but also intimately eat with the family while learning about their ancestral stories. Experiences like these are not just mere sources of entertainment but also promote & preserve the lost traditions of these exquisite destinations.

What can Hotels/Resorts do?

Now-a-days with growing awareness towards regenerative & responsible tourism, travellers seek to choose sustainable hotels/resorts for their stays. However, it is not just sustainably constructed resorts or organically grown food that guests are looking for. They yearn for an authentic experience, thus adding a cherry on top of their stay. This has further given birth to a new class of hotels and resorts which are ‘experiential properties.’ These properties are far beyond a mere bed & breakfast. They aim to provide their guests a wide array of experiences while giving them a taste of the local culture & hospitality.

One such great example is “Lchang Nang Retreat – The House of Trees” – an eco-conscious luxury resort in Nubra Valley, Ladakh, India. Reverently famous as one of the best hotel resorts in Ladakh, India it stands up to its title. Charmingly nestled in the pristine valley of Nubra, surrounded by majestic Himalayan & Karakoram Ranges, this resort is a cherished destination for souls yearning for peace & comfort in the lap of nature.

The House of Trees dearly holds sustainable & conscious luxury as their ethos. They believe nature has a lot to offer and want to express their gratitude by respectfully co-existing with the environment & local communities. The testimony of which you can observe through their streamlined green operations & endeavours to reduce carbon footprint. While the retreat is fully solar powered, its 17 cottages are made using local sustainable construction materials like stone, mud, poplar etc. When you enter the House of Trees, not only you are swept by the scenic view of the Himalayas but you also get to experience authentic Ladakhi culture through architecture, food, Signature Experiences & hospitality.

While all its endeavours are aimed towards sustaining the environment & local community, Lchang Nang Retreat is a perfect model for regenerative tourism. Over the years, this green resort brand has paved the way for everyone to contribute to its responsible tourism model. One of its innovative ways is through its wide range of Signature Experiences. While there are many, a few prominent ones that play a great role in regenerative tourism are listed here:

Old House Museum Visit: Lchang Nang organises evening village walks to a 400 year old House managed by the local women alliance of Teggar village. Here, be ready to be greeted not only with  heart-warming Julley ( greetings ) , smiles and hospitality but also get to taste local snacks & brew while transporting to the Ancient Silk Route days via the stories of the women. To support the local women alliance, every guest is supposed to pay a meagre donation that brings forth a radical empowerment to this local women group. This initiative not only financially empowers the local community but also promotes the local culture and heritage of Ladakh.

Karakoram Dining: To delve deeper into the traditional Ladakhi culture, Lchang Nang organises Karakoram Dining ( a three-course Ladakhi cuisine ) in the 400 year old House; cooked by the Ladakhi women with traditional culinary wisdom and authentic local taste. Intimately dining in an old house dating back to the 17th century, eating with ancient tableware, sipping the local brew. The experience is nothing short of a glimpse into the halts of the traders at a caravanserai hundreds of years ago.

Seasonal Experiences: Immerse yourself in a variety of seasonal experiences, which grounds you deeply into the land of Ladakh. From picking sweet and juicy fruits in our expansive organic orchards to harvesting local produce with Ladakhi farmers, you will experience escapades that render smiles and create cherished memories that last a lifetime. Through this experience, get a sneak peak of the quiet village life, interact with the locals and learn about ladakhi style of sustainable farming.

Mindfulness & Yoga at the Monastery: Enrol yourself in their tailor-made mindfulness programme at the spiritually imbibed Samstanling Monastery. Beginning with the mindful walk towards its premises, attend an hour long mindfulness session by the most learned monk, culminating it with a yoga session at the monastery. Through this spiritual session, Lchang Nang aims to give its guests a spiritual Buddhist experience whilst serving back to the monastery via donation.

Silk Route on Chef’s Table: Experience landmark culinary treasures from sojourns along the ancient Silk Route. Authentic dishes made from locally sourced sustainable ingredients will take you on a journey of discovery that captures the essence of this famous trail. This is not just a traditional Chef’s Tasting Experience, through this culinary journey, you will learn more about the stories and struggles of procuring the finest ingredients in the midst of a cold desert along the trail of the silk route.

The Farm Table: A community lunch table specially set up at our farms (Tsas-Spang), starts off with a walk through the village, followed by a comprehensive tour of our farm explaining various facets of sustainable agriculture being followed by Ladakhis for ages. It concludes with a fabulous farm lunch with stunning views of the Karakoram range.

Amaley’s Lab: Inspired by the local wisdom of Amaleys (mothers) of Teggar Village, learn how to make environmentally friendly natural products like Apricot Scrub, lip oil and essential oils with native ingredients like russian sage and much more. Through this DIY lab, you’re learning more than a skill as you are tapping into the indigenous wisdom of the local Ladakhi community. A memorable souvenir that you will cherish when you go back home!

Through these Signature Experiences, not only are the guests learning something meaningful and getting an intimate cultural experience but also are contributing towards the environment & local communities. You may have found these experiences quite intriguing, however what’s even more interesting is that Team Lchang Nang is always innovatively bringing forth such new experiences to contribute towards Regenerative Tourism.

When guests choose eco-conscious resorts like Lchang Nang Retreat, not only are they contributing towards green and responsible tourism but also touching many local lives & safeguarding these cultures. Thankfully, we have such great esteemed models who are putting in efforts to fill in the vacuum and have become pioneering green leaders in the travel & hospitality industry.

These proactive approaches and measures adopted by the tour operators and resorts play a great role as an investment in the healthier future of the planet & people.

In our next article, we will shed light on how travellers can play their parts in regenerative tourism and make the realm of tourism a sustainable life-giving force. Stay Tuned!


Written by: Shaurya Shukla