The Catalan Tourism Agency promotes this type of tourism that will help you connect with the essence of the places you visit. We suggest five destinations for your next trip
Travelling, exploring unknown places and exploring the ends of the earth are ideas that have always been linked to human beings. But now, in the age of consumerism, immediacy and hyper-connectivity, what purpose do you pursue when you travel? Do you do it to cross places off your list and say “I’ve been there”? Do you travel with your senses and heart open to appreciate the soul of the world around you? Do you travel passively and contemplatively? Or do you seek to be an agent of change and actively participate in the destination that hosts you? Furthermore, is it possible to travel without negatively impacting the environment and local communities? Can tourism improve the places you visit? The answer is yes, and it is called regenerative tourism.
This is a living way of travelling, inspired by life and ecosystems, that connects your essence with the identity of the places you visit and invites you to be a conscious part of the totality of what surrounds you. In this way, a transformative space is generated where the person feels part of a whole and the will to take care of it, preserve it and improve it arises.
With regenerative tourism, travelling goes beyond visiting a destination and getting to know new cultures. Regenerative tourism invites you to visit a place, slowing down the pace, changing the way you look at it and seeking to connect the visitor in a profound way with himself, the nature of the place and the culture and history of the people. In Catalonia there are already many regenerative tourism destinations, such as, for example, the DeltaPolet in the Ebro Delta, Can Calopa in Collserola, the Parc de l’Acequia in Manresa, the Sastres Paperers in Banyoles, or the Vies Verdes near Girona.
The trip you need!
Regenerative tourism was born as a response to the crisis of the current growth model, which has become obsolete and needs to be refocused to ensure environmental sustainability and social justice. Social and environmental deterioration are evident in today’s world, and sustainability – ensuring the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations – is no longer sufficient. You cannot sustain something that no longer exists.
This is why we need a new way of travelling. Thus, regenerative tourism represents a paradigm shift that goes beyond sustainable tourism. A new way of understanding the way of travelling that goes beyond “do no harm” and pursues the regeneration and active revitalisation of the environment, producing positive results for the ecosystems, the communities we visit and the visitor himself. An approach in which tourism is conceived as a beneficial tool, enhancing and enriching, in the broadest sense of the word, the local community and the natural resources of the destination.
In a regenerative system, the human being knows himself to be part of the environment and nature. The destiny of the waters, people, culture and biodiversity of a site is its own destiny. We are moving from a fragmented vision of the world to a holistic and living vision in which people and nature are interconnected and are protagonists of a common future. Because when you feel part of a whole, you take care of it and discover new depths and possibilities, generating a virtuous circle that regenerates the environment and the life that lives in it.
Steps towards regenerative tourism
In this context, the Catalan Tourism Agency is promoting this agenda with great force and conviction. Proof of this is the launch on 23 March of the National Commitment to Responsible Tourism, the roadmap resulting from the consensus of the sector to move towards an even more sustainable, more diverse, more socially just and territorially shared tourism.
Also along these lines, and with the help of Impact Hub Barcelona, during the B-Travel fair, a space for reflection was set up where visitors and professionals from the sector were invited to listen and connect with this new way of travelling that is slower and more conscious. Learning to look inwards, to discover their essence and connect with the essence of the different places they have visited within the Catalan territory, thus turning tourist experiences into transforming life experiences.
Five proposals for enjoying regenerative tourism
Throughout Catalonia there are already a number of proposals that invite you to take a trip to connect with yourself, others and the environment around you.
1. DeltaPolet (in the Ebro Delta)
A good way of carrying out regenerative tourism is by contributing to the recovery of traditions. Visitors get involved in traditional activities linked to traditional rice cultivation, seeking to reclaim the culture and transfer the knowledge of these crops and the basic resources of the delta, while at the same time valuing the conservation of its natural environment.
2. Paper tailors (in Banyoles)
The aim is to disseminate and give continuity to a traditional trade in the Banyoles region that is in danger of extinction: handmade paper craftsmanship. Through workshops for making handmade paper, the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the area will be highlighted, allowing visitors to connect with the essence of a very specific place: the La Farga paper mill, the only paper mill in the counties of Girona with more than 330 years of history and over 35 years of artisan techniques.
3. Can Calopa (in Collserola, near Barcelona)
This is a project that aims to recover a centuries-old farmhouse and the city’s wine-growing heritage with a social inclusion project that promotes peri-urban agroecology and a traditional way of making wines and oils.
4. La Séquia Park (near Manresa)
A type of proposal that invites us to connect with the essence of nature as a source of life. Through experimental proposals it vindicates the importance of water as a source of life and human development.
5. Greenways (in the Girona area)
This is a project that recovers old train tracks and adapts them so that they can be used by non-motorised users. The recovery of these train tracks, which years ago were the guarantee of good relations between towns, now offer the opportunity to discover the cultural, historical and scenic wealth of these lands, on foot or by pedalling. The geography of the terrain and the great variety of landscapes make this area an ideal place for cycling and hiking.
Photo: Stella Rotger
With this new philosophy for travelling and the proposals for discovering and applying it in Catalonia, it is now up to you to decide: what role will you commit to playing on your next holiday?