A woman standing in her luxury hut in the middle of the jungle with illustrative details around her

Regenerative Travel Brings Hotels Together for Environmental and Social Impact

This women-led collective offers travel experiences with regenerative values

For many of us, the days of blindly traveling without considering our impact on the Earth and its environment are over. That doesn't mean we don't travel, but it means we travel more mindfully, carefully selecting which destination we want to visit, how we get there, where we stay once we're there, and what kind of activities we will do there, all under the umbrella of sustainability, local community support, and minimal negative impact to the environment and community.

Enter Regenerative Travel, a shared benefit corporation and membership offering that provides marketing and hospitality services to its member network of independently owned eco-luxury boutique hotels dedicated to the highest levels of social and environmental impact as well as helping travelers find hotels that share a vision of changing the travel industry for good, and that are pushing the boundaries of art, design, food, adventure, and the outdoors. Hotels in their collective offer a clear sense of place while working to transform communities and economies into more regenerative models.

Illustrated facts about Regenerative Travel over a photo of a hotel in the program

Photo: Courtesy of Regenerative Travel; Illustration: TripSavvy / Julie Bang

Regenerative Travel is co-founded and led by Amanda Ho, a Chinese-American brand strategist, travel expert, and community builder who previously founded a multi-media lifestyle publication.

"Regenerative Travel was founded as a community for independent hotels dedicated to environmental and social impact," said Ho. "Our mission is to help travelers and the travel industry develop a regenerative mindset and foster positive change to create a more equitable future through education, advocacy, and collaboration. We focus on practical solutions and tools to move the industry forward and empower regenerative principles through engaging educational experiences."

In 2022, the collective welcomed 16 new hotel members, for a total of 30 hotels around the world, including Ngalung Kalla in Kabupaten Sumba Barat, Indonesia; Jade Mountain in Soufriere, Saint Lucia; Eaton DC in Washington, D.C.; and Nimali Tarangire, in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park.

Hotels must meet criteria that include honoring their destination by acting harmonious with the natural environment, history, culture, and community fabric; being inclusive and egalitarian, and especially working to include marginalized people; prioritizing safe and comfortable working conditions; providing fair wages and benefits, and taking care of their employees; operating ethically and identifying the challenges faced by local communities and environments, actively work to address them and empowering others to do the same; and actively working to address the environmental impacts of their operations and committing to monitoring environmental metrics related to water, energy, and waste to inform decision making—all while providing guests with outstanding personal experiences that are authentic and respectful.

For hotels, being a member comes with plenty of benefits. "By coming together as a community, we collaborate and share best practices to increase the value we provide to our guests while restoring, repairing, and regenerating the communities and ecosystems of which we are a part," said Ho. "Regenerative Travel cultivates an active and supportive community of hotel members so that they can connect and share. The ecosystem is open to staff from across the hotels so individuals can connect with other experts in their field. Monthly programming helps hotels to take on new challenges, highlights successful work by other members, and introduces helpful tools to improve operations."

Illustration of a hotel with solar panels and happy locals around it

TripSavvy / Julie Bang

Regenerative Travel also taps into the knowledge of internal and external networks and shares best practices in regeneration and hospitality with their member hotels. They focus on practical solutions that apply to small independent hotels, explained Ho, and by highlighting practical tools, key insights, and diverse perspectives, they can help hotels align their operations with their values. They also have an annual convening for hotel members to foster community and enhance regenerative impact as a collective.

Still, the benefits aren't just for the hotels. Travelers can tap into Regenerative Travel's network, ensuring they are booking responsible and ethical hotels for their journeys. Travelers can join RegenerativeTravel+ to take advantage of destination guides and resources, receive a $99 travel credit to member hotels every time they travel, and access community programming, like December's "The Path to a Renewable Future: Going Off Grid" webinar.

Education is a large part of Regenerative Travel's mission. It shares educational webinars that bring together hospitality thought leaders, industry trailblazers, and operational insights for members on their website; distribute a weekly newsletter with education and insight pieces to share best practices and inspire regenerative action in the travel industry and, starting this year, will have an annual regenerative leadership retreat, kicking off in November with a Post-Cop 27 think tank in South Sinai, Egypt.

Regenerative Travel also released a whitepaper on climate change this year, and they plan to do more. "As part of ongoing efforts to provide resources and drive awareness for regenerative tourism and the efforts of our members in shifting the industry to a more equitable future, we have decided to focus on launching our upcoming Best Practice Papers focusing on various topics, including waste and water management, renewable energy, and regenerative agriculture," explained Ho.

Aerial shot of an infinity pool on the coast

Courtesy of Regenerative Travel

On July 14, 2022, Regenerative Travel, together with Solimar International and the University of Edinburgh, released a whitepaper entitled "Climate Action through Regeneration: Unlocking the Power of Communities and Nature through Tourism," which outlines practical examples, available support, and specific action steps so that travel businesses can take action today.

"A key finding of the paper was that many regenerative hotels are developing, managing, or supporting nature-based solutions," said Ho. "And, importantly, hotels are making guests an active part of blue carbon efforts by creating first-hand experiences of what water and coastal ecosystems conservation mean in practical and local terms."

So while travel, like any industry, may always have its bad apples, companies like Regenerative Travel are working toward a time when hotel owners and guests can sleep a little better, knowing they're making the right choices socially and environmentally.