Research Pass tourism & hospitality

Transformation and the Regenerative Future of Tourism (By Special Invitation Only)



Transformation and the Regenerative Future of Tourism

Guest Editors

Irena Ateljevic, Institute for Tourism, Croatia – Email: [email protected]

Pauline J. Sheldon, University of Hawaii, USA – Email: [email protected]


In his talk at the symposium 'Travel to Tomorrow', Wahl, (2019) draws the parallels between the future of tourism and the future of humanity and how they might possibly interrelate. In doing so, he calls upon the urgent transformation of tourism to become a catalyst for regeneration. Before the looming spectre of irreversible ecosystem destruction and climate change that could trigger cataclysmic results for our species, he goes as far to claim: ‘Somewhat surprisingly — at least to me personally — it seems that possibly the only industry with enough global reach and local transsectoral impact and power of influence to effect such an immense transition in a catalytic way is tourism'. Similarly, Ateljevic (e.g. 2009, 2013, 2020) and Pritchard, Morgan and Ateljevic (2011) spoke about the transmodern and transformative power of tourism to potentially change the world for the better.

In the current context of the global pandemic, the call for 'one planetary vision for a responsible recovery of the tourism sector' (UNWTO, 2020) becomes even louder and more potent. To this end, the regeneration paradigm and regenerative economics has become a new beacon for a liveable and thriving future on this planet. While the concept of the regenerative approach to living is not new (thanks to indigenous wisdom), the mainstreaming of the term is. In early 2015, John Fullerton released a publication on Regenerative Capitalism: How Universal Principles and Patterns Will Shape Our New Economy. Spending 20 years in a high finance career he intimately experienced the destructive impacts of neoliberal economics, which eventually forced him to step out of the financial system that he himself helped to build. Since then, he has been advocating a systemic and holistic approach to economics that 'produces lasting social and economic vitality for global civilization as a whole' (p.5). To this end, the existing sustainability discourse that is still entrenched in the old economic paradigm of separation and competition, has been increasingly questioned for its efficiency and rationality. In contrast to sustainability practice described as a ‘slower way to die’, regenerative design architect Bill Reed juxtaposes regeneration as 'restoring and then regenerating the capability to live in a new relationship in an ongoing way' (Glusac, NYT, 2020). Similarly, the latest report from The Innovation Group, “The New Sustainability: Regeneration,” (2018) explores the rising need for better sustainability as ‘doing less harm is no longer enough. The future of sustainability is regeneration: replenishing and restoring what we have lost and building economies and communities that thrive, while allowing the planet to thrive too'. In a similar vein, Anna Pollock (2019) speaks of regenerative tourism as the natural maturation of sustainability for which we need an ontological/mindset shift. As she explains, for businesses to move from ‘business as usual’ to doing less harm to become a force for good and for regeneration, we require a ‘change in seeing, awareness and consciousness that Einstein said would be necessary if we were to generate any effective transformative change'.

This special issue builds on these insights to ask:

  • What do these transformations entail and how can tourism become a catalyst for environmental, social, cultural and economic regeneration?
  • How can tourism drive a thriving future that heals ecosystems and empowers local communities?
  • How can tourism enliven the indigenous traditions and cultures and bring their wisdom to heal the modern world?
  • How can spiritual knowledge and respect for the sacredness and interconnectedness of all life inform tourism development in the future?
  • How can the power of corporate tourism to be harnessed for the greater good and assist in the regenerative shift?
  • How can host communities be empowered to influence the political processes defining future tourism development?

In the context of countless doomsday scenarios for the future of the (tourism) world, we wish to focus on the opposite. While remaining critical, we wish to provide hopeful, regenerative and transformative views of tourism’s potentialities. In this vein, papers in this issue may also consider how planners might think freshly about facilitating a regenerative future of tourism.

Special Issue Aims

In these times when we realise that we ‘cannot go back to normal’ (Ateljevic, 2020), this special issue of the Journal of Tourism Futures (JTF) aims to point our gaze towards a positive and regenerative future of tourism in the context of the current transformation of the world. We aim to provide a holistic overview of this emerging wave of hopeful tourism practices in order to inspire a paradigm shift in the industry and beyond. Our aim is to facilitate timely, swift and globally accessible research and informed perspectives on transformative and regenerative potentialities of and for (tourism) futures. Please note that all papers need to be future-oriented.

The Journal of Tourism Futures is an open access and free of article publishing fees. Written in an accessible manner, contributions to this special issue will strive to be of interest to tourism scholars, the tourism industry, the public health industry and policy-makers, amongst many others. Research papers, theoretical treatises and industry viewpoints are invited that focus on key themes below (although not exclusively):

  • Tourism, world transformations and the regeneration renaissance
  • Tourism and regenerative agriculture
  • Tourism and regenerative business and economics
  • Tourism transformation and social entrepreneurship
  • Tourism and regenerative leadership
  • Transformative travel and transformational tourism
  • Tourism and regenerative cultures
  • Tourism, DAO technology and regenerative cryptocurrencies
  • Tourism and the localisation futures
  • Tourism, geopolitics and biosphere politics
  • Design of tourism experiences for regeneration
  • Transformative human resource development in tourism for regeneration
  • Cross-sectoral and collaborative models of regenerative tourism
  • Education programs and pedagogical issues for regenerative tourism
  • Stakeholder consciousness-transforming models for regenerative tourism
  • Community input processes for regenerative tourism
  • Future scenarios of regenerative tourism
  • Regenerative tourism in developing countries
  • Alternative economic models for regenerative tourism
  • Regenerative tourism and destination life cycles
  • Equity and regenerative tourism
  • Case Studies of regenerative tourism (with the focus how they (can) shape the future)

The special issue will comprise an editorial, followed by up to 15 articles which can be full papers, research notes or industry oriented “Viewpoints” on diverse topics leveraging varied geographical contexts. Published articles will be available on Early Cite where they will be freely available worldwide.

Further information on JTF can be found on:

Works Cited

Ateljevic, I. (2009) Transmodernity – remaking our (tourism) world? in Tribe, J. (ed) (2008) Philosophical Issues of Tourism. Elsevier Social Science Series, pp. 278-300.

Ateljevic, I. (2013) Transmodernity: Integrating Perspectives on Societal Evolution, Futures, Vol 47 (March), pp.38-48.

Ateljevic, I. (2020) Transforming the (tourism) world for good and (re)generating the potential ‘new normal’. Tourism Geographies, Vol 22 (3), pp. 467-475.

Glusac, E. (2020, August 27) Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived. The New York Times.…

Innovation Group (2018) The New Sustainability: Regeneration…

Pollock, A. (2019) Regenerative Tourism: The Natural Maturation of Sustainability…

Pritchard, A., Morgan, N. and Ateljevic, I. (2011) Hopeful Tourism: A New Transformative Perspective, Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (3), 941-963.

UNWTO (2020) One Planet Vision for a Responsible Recovery of Tourism Sector.…

Wahl, D. C. (2019) Travel to Tomorrow 1: How we travel will affect where we arrive. Medium.…

Types of papers

The journal recognizes that writing about the future is formed in different ways. Therefore, we will accept a variety of papers in different formats to represent different access points to the future. These include:

Research papers

These should normally be between 5,000 and 7,000 words (including references) with a title of no more than eight words. Papers can be empirical, applied case studies or conceptual frameworks. All research papers are double-blind refereed and critically reviewed.

Viewpoint papers

These are papers where content is dependent on the author's opinion and interpretation, this also includes journalistic pieces. These papers are usually written by practitioners (although not necessarily) and are 2,000 to 4,000 words (including references). Papers are reviewed by a member of the editorial board for guidance and improvement. Papers must follow the submission guidelines of the journal, for more information visit…


Abstracts should not be more that 400 words and should align with the objectives of the journal, and clearly demonstrate an emphasis on the regenerative future of tourism ( In general, abstracts should include (as appropriate) the purpose of the paper, its design, methods or approach, findings, research limitations, implications of the results, the value, the emphasis on the future and originality of the study and the type of paper based on the above categories.

Abstracts should be emailed to [email protected] and [email protected] with “Abstract – Special issue in Journal of Tourism Futures” in the subject line by 7th May 2021

Special Issue Timelines 2021

May 7: 400-word abstract due

May 21: Review of abstracts completed/Authors contacted

November 1st: Manuscripts due

Nov - Dec 14: Review Round 1; referee reports forwarded to authors


March 1: Revised articles due; review Round 2; forward referee reports

May 30: All remaining articles due

December 2022 or March 2023: Special Issue published (note: all accepted articles go on Early Cite first)

Guest Editor Bios

Irena Ateljevic obtained her PhD in Human Geography in 1998 at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She worked at Auckland University, Victoria University of Wellington and Auckland University of Technology and did numerous international research projects in Asia and South Pacific. In 2005, she moved to the Netherlands to teach at Wageningen University, a highly esteemed university for sustainability and nature conservation issues. She is a co-founder of Critical Tourism Studies network dedicated to promote the academy of hope concept. Currently, she holds a part-time position of a senior scientific associate at the Institute for Tourism, Zagreb while also acting as an activist and social entrepreneur.

Pauline J. Sheldon is Professor Emerita, University of Hawai’i, School of Travel Industry Management where she also served as Dean. She holds a PhD in Economics, an MBA, and a BS in Mathematics. Her research areas include sustainable and regenerative tourism, social entrepreneurship, and transformative and wellness tourism. She is co-founder of Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) and TRINET. She has published many books and peer-reviewed journal articles. Her most recent book is Social Entrepreneurship and Tourism, and her most recent research is Designing Tourism Experiences for Inner Transformation. She is the first woman recipient of the UNWTO Ulysses Prize, and was President of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. Pauline is a regular keynote speaker and has consulted with World Bank, APEC, and UNWTO. She teaches with the Art of Living Foundation and is passionate about blending her study of tourism with her interest in the transformation of consciousness.