Advancing a regenerative tourism system in New Zealand : an analysis of an Indigenous tourism operation and the Tiaki Promise destination pledge

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Massey University
Sustainable development has featured prominently in the tourism literature for the last 30 years promoting economic, social, and environmental goals. However, in practice its implementation has been overshadowed by the dominant neoliberal paradigm. This has resulted in economic growth being given priority over ecological and social factors, resulting in environmental damage and vulnerable communities. This study examines the elements of regenerative tourism, which is an approach that goes beyond sustainable development to recognise and value the interconnectedness of all living systems. It further explores the place of the Tiaki Promise tourist destination pledge in supporting a regenerative tourism system. The analysis is contextually grounded in a case study of an Indigenous tourism operation, Kohutapu Lodge and Tribal Tours, in New Zealand. A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews was used. This research asserts that a systems approach reflecting an Indigenous worldview of the interconnection between all living systems, contextually grounded in its manifestation and with diverse and regenerative economies, can effectively support whole system health and flourishing. The research into the Tiaki Promise finds that its purpose and use has been inconsistently understood and applied but there is optimism that with continued development and clarification, it can support a regenerative tourism system through creating common cause to effect change away from a growth focussed paradigm.