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Beyond Sustainability: A Global Study of Nature-based Solutions in Regenerative Tourism

Abstract
As the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration begins in 2021, there is a need to reconcile global efforts to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions with local efforts to protect and restore ecosystems. Protecting and restoring nature will be key to helping communities address both the causes and consequences of climate change, yet nature-based solutions are infrequently employed as both mitigation and adaptation measures. Tourism businesses around the world are uniquely placed to employ nature-based solutions within their properties to manage, protect, and restore ecosystems that both draw down emissions and help communities adapt to climate change. Key to this will be imagining a more “regenerative” industry in which the needs of people and nature are valued above profit. Utilizing the IUCN Global Standards for Nature-based Solutions as a basis for survey design, this study assesses 30 tourism operators across the globe to investigate how tourism can be more regenerative for ecosystems and communities by embracing nature-based solutions. The findings indicate five key factors for this shift, including centering community needs, improving ecosystem integrity, embracing diverse and inclusive business models, governing in a transparent and just manner, and enhancing conservation partnerships.
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