Regenerative Tourism, Triumph or Tradegy?


Anna Pollock

Anna Pollock, Founder of Conscious.Travel, has 48 years’ experience in tourism as an independent consultant, strategist, international speaker and change agent and is now acclaimed thought leader in the emerging field of regenerative tourism.

Past clients include the Canadian Tourism Commission, PATA, European Travel Commission, Tourism British Columbia, the Australian Tourism Export Council, Tourism Tasmania, Innovation Norway, Visit Flanders, Rotterdam Partners and departments of industry, conservation and tourism in New Zealand. Recipient of The Visionary of the Year Award from the Canadian tourism industry,

Anna has undertaken seminal work in many aspects of tourism, notably in education, sustainability and technology. During the 1990s, Anna established herself as a thought leader on the strategic implications of the Internet; she created the first internet-based tourism strategy for Scotland; and she co-developed one of the first multi-purpose destination management systems. She also prepared one of the first reports on the impact of climate change for the Canadian tourism industry in 2007.

Her strength is her ability to see the whole “big picture,” to ask difficult questions and to help others make sense of their rapidly and dramatically changing world.

Since 2010, Anna has focused on investigating emergent, alternative models for the tourism sector that would enable it to shift from extraction to regeneration and that generate higher yields with less impact.  After several years of research, she published her thinking in a comprehensive report Social Enterprise and Tourism – The Conscious Travel Approach that is now used as text in many universities around the world.

In October 2016, she was retained by Visit Flanders to assist their strategic planning and, over a two year period, supported their Travel to Tomorrow program, helping to shift their official policy from volume growth to destination flourishing. During that period, she was able to develop her unique approach to regenerative tourism and assist a number of communities through a program of action learning. That led to a LEADER project that applied the flourishing destinations concept in Angus, Scotland; Bazinul Dornelor in Romania; and Meetjesland in Flanders.

Having influenced the first ever regional tourism strategy in New Zealand to integrate regenerative principles, Anna was invited to New Zealand in 2019 and began working with the regional tourism organisations and the Department of Conservation. Her writing and speaking led her to be invited by the New Zealand Government to sit on the Tourism Futures Task Force that produces its report We Are Aotearoa in January 2021. She was the only member of the Task Force outside New Zealand.

Anna has recently been retained to advise on a regenerative recovery program for Northern Ireland and, in recently completed delivery of an online educational program Back To Life to 100 + participants designed to enable destinations and their stakeholders better understand and apply regenerative principles.