As part of our post-covid recovery, more than 30 persons from the tourism industry in Upper Clutha, including several Lake Wānaka Tourism staff, participated in the Back to Life programme. This means many key players now have a deep understanding of and a bright desire to create a regenerative tourism activity in our region.
“Back to Life core intention is to enable healing for people, communities and landscapes”
As many other businesses, I “sell” the fantastic beauty of our place and “use” it to operate my tours, showcase it in my marketing. Garden tours also benefit from our community’s skills, hospitable people and we are proudly sharing this story.
For me, regenerative tourism is adding more value to the environment and community as I get from it. So what does my business do for it? I see the value in more than the dollar, value is also in a thriving biodiversity and our community well-being.
To regenerate our environment and contribute to the locals’ well-being, as part of operating my business, I am offering a vision to my community of creating biodiverse and community enhancing parks and corridors.
We restore the environment and create a network of biodiversity corridors and local food production areas in public/private partnerships to share with the world.
Wanaka will be known for its beautiful large natural areas and parks connected by tracks, full of trees and birds.
We have already shared this vision and work towards making it happen.
Simple actions are:
- Lake Wanaka Tourism could add Regenerative Tourism points and paths on the Upper Clutha Map, there are lots already.
- Create a collaborative workspace for all parties, example the Council “Blue Green Network”, Upper Clutha Track Trusts, and other related or interested businesses and individuals.
- As Beautiful Gardens of Wanaka, we are fostering green areas enhancement by showcasing existing beautiful gardens and parks to inspire and educate. Eg. showing the value of a variety of plants and trees for birds.
The implementation of this vision will benefit all our guests (tourists), all locals and of course nature.
Consistent with the QLDC principles, this offering:
- foster our community thrive and resilience, (eg. participate in food production)
- embraces the maori tikanga culture (eg. common respectful use of land)
- creates a base for a zero carbon economy (eg. bike connections, local food production) and recreate a dawn chorus
- is a breath-taking creativity action, giving opportunities for all (eg. the choice to keep a land protected for future generations)
- will add further pride in sharing our place because we participate in its beautification.
I can see potential for all businesses here. Examples:
- a bike tour business contributing to more bike tracks
- a real estate business focusing on properties with biodiverse habitat or sustainable features (eg. passive house, solar panels etc.)
- local food production businesses
Beyond my garden tour business, here are other ideas for regenerated tourism in Wanaka:
- a well-being mecca (based on the wealth of local therapists and spirituality offerings which could attract guests and enhance locals well-being),
- the first carbon neutral town in New Zealand with solar panels on all the roofs, e-transport (and the beautiful biodiverity corridors) to commute, zero waste, ponds to clean storm water before entering the lake etc.
Possibilities are endless and exciting!
Discussing with gardeners, I am looking at ways to help them and will act on it. The first idea is to find ways to label specimen trees and plants. I am also working on a system facilitating the relocation of no-longer-needed plants.
At the latest Wanaka Regenerative Tourism hui / meeting, we discussed how to work together, collaborate for the highest good of the community, environment, and businesses.
Here in Beautiful Gardens of Wanaka, we are developing partnerships with garden-related organisations, businesses and people to enhance each other (Partners page).
I apply sustainability and social enterprise principles in my garden tour business and explore ways to be regenerative.
I always look for improvement within my businesses towards a sustainable practice eg. eco-products, reusable cutlery, hybrid van… and I am creating a sustainability statement (coming soon).
In essence, gardening is taking care of self and nature, gardening is regenerative, meaningful and brings community together. $$ is just the way to be financially sustainable.
I am hopeful and grateful the Wanaka Regenerative Tourism collective action is genuinely enabling everyone to contribute and get involved.
I feel excited to participate in a necessary deep mind shift and I do my best to facilitate the change.