Restorative Tourism: Benefits for Tourism and Hospitality Sectors
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Restorative Tourism: Benefits for Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

November 21, 2022 | Report

Executive Summary

Biodiversity loss poses a threat to the hospitality and tourism industry, as thriving natural environments are a key attraction for tourists.1 Generating $36 billion per year from coral reefs alone, the global tourism sector is dependent—like all living organisms—on healthy ecosystems.2 At the same time, mass tourism is a threat to biodiversity and ecosystems. A harmonious relationship between local communities and businesses that provide support services is needed to ensure the local environment is preserved while benefiting local communities economically and socially. Local environments including mountains, jungles, and other high-biodiversity areas are often the mainstay of tourism and will inevitably be affected when tourism sites are developed.3

To avoid having that which nourishes it destroy it, the tourism industry has increasingly turned to sustainable tourism—an umbrella term that describes both responsible travel and sustainable practices by the tourism industry. And while the Global Sustainable Tourism Council notes that sustainable tourism “aims to minimize negative impact[s] and maximize the positive ones,” restorative tourism goes beyond minimizing environmental harm: its goal is to preserve and regenerate the environment, support wildlife, and contribute to local communities.

This report examines how restorative tourism practices can help the tourism industry build resilience and increase revenue-generating opportunities while simultaneously protecting the environment.

Insights for What’s Ahead

  • The restorative tourism market will continue to grow in the coming decade, presenting new revenue-generating opportunities. Global travelers are looking for sustainable destinations and experiences that preserve and restore local environments and culture. Studies show that guests are willing to pay a premium for sustainable, restorative destinations and experiences. Wildlife and nature tourism hotspots have increased their revenues by investing in conservation.
  • Hospitality businesses that want to implement restorative initiatives will need to work with scientists, researchers, and local communities to develop effective programs customized to the local environment. Tracking and communicating the progress of restorative initiatives is equally important. Effective communication to stakeholders should take a two-pronged approach, highlighting both the effectiveness of current programs and the gaps in them.
  • As both retail and financial investors place increasing weight on ESG factors, businesses that have restorative initiatives in place will have increased access to financing. Restorative initiatives will future-proof companies by making properties more climate resilient and preparing businesses for new biodiversity policies and disclosure frameworks. Financial institutions are developing additional green financing options and green bonds to support businesses with sustainability initiatives.

[1] Anuj Saush and Ioannia Siskos, Biodiversity Loss: What Does It Mean for Your Business?, The Conference Board, June 2021.

[2] OECD, Biodiversity: Finance and the Economic and Business Case for Action, May 5, 2019.

[3] UN Environment Program and Conservation International, Tourism and Biodiversity, Mapping Tourism’s Global Footprint, 2003.



Research Fellow, Environmental, Social & Governance Center, Europe
The Conference Board


Program Director, ESG Center, Europe
The Conference Board


ESG Center Leader, Europe
The Conference Board


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