Regional stakeholders come together to form the region’s regenerative tourism framework

Destination North East England welcomed leading regenerative tourism experts from the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement) to the North East.

Destination North East England welcomed leading regenerative tourism experts from the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement) to the North East to work alongside regional leaders, tourism businesses and key stakeholders to co-create the region’s first Regenerative Tourism framework.

Untitled design 89

The stunning Great Hall at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum was the venue for a landmark stakeholder workshop, aimed at engaging key players in the area to co-create the region’s first ever regenerative tourism framework – a tool that will ultimately help the North East to become one of the world’s most sustainable, inclusive, accessible and welcoming regions.

The GDS-Movement is the international consultancy and change-making organisation behind the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), a destination-level programme that measures, benchmarks, and guides the social, economic, and environmental sustainability strategy and performance of tourism and events destinations across the world.

Representatives from some of the area’s most visited attractions like Alnwick Garden, Beamish Museum and Sunderland Empire joined local authority leaders, NGO experts, destination partners and visitor economy professionals for 2 days of co-creation and strategic discussions, assessing the priorities and core pathways for the forthcoming framework which is due to be published this summer.

Regenerative Tourism, an emerging concept in the industry, presents a proactive approach to leveraging tourism and events as catalysts for addressing environmental, social, and economic challenges within communities. It seeks to revitalise communities holistically, emphasising restoration and rejuvenation over degradation or mere sustainability. By prioritising the growth of tourism in the North East, this framework not only aims to cultivate exceptional visitor experiences but also endeavours to expedite the region's decarbonization efforts. Additionally, it seeks to bolster local enterprises, invest in human capital, and revive the richness of local culture, heritage, and natural landscapes.

The workshop comes off the back of Newcastle and Durham entering into the GDS-Index for the first time. In this programme cities are benchmarked against leading regenerative destinations like Copenhagen, Bordeaux, Glasgow and Belfast. Sunderland will also go through the indexing process in 2024, with Northumberland, the first county region in the world to be indexed in 2025. The framework being co-created by stakeholders at the workshops will help the destinations improve their performance on the GDS-Index, drive competitiveness and increase the positive societal impact of tourism.

I'm inspired by the unwavering spirit of collaboration driving this project. Working closely with local communities, authorities, businesses, and non-profits, Destination North East England is committed to creating a tourism industry that benefits everyone. The Regenerative Tourism Framework aims not only to minimise environmental impact but also to actively contribute to the biological, social, and economic health of the region. This project stands out for its scale and ambition, going beyond mere sustainability to drive transformative progress.
Guy Bigwood, CEO, GDS-Movement
Taking part in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) was an important step on the journey for North East England to become a leader in the field of regenerative tourism, creating a global competitive edge for the destination whilst ensuring tourism has a positive impact on our economy, assets and communities. We now have the evidence not only on our current sustainability performance, but on what needs to happen next, providing vital information to help shape the regional strategy.
Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visit County Durham
The whole aim of the destination development partnership is to foster collaborative working across the region, to bring stakeholders, communities and the visitor economy together to effect real change. I’m delighted that so many influential and passionate people have been able to feed into our regenerative tourism work. If we are going to double the size of the visitor economy as part of out 10 year strategy, we need to do this in a sustainable, inclusive and accessible fashion, to minimise any potential harm and ensure our world-class landscapes, places and people are looked after for generations to come
Ian Thomas, Destination North East England Lead

Share on social:


News Articles


Post Date

Gradient Header Keilder

Sign up for news and updates

Register for the Destination North East England newsletter packed with news, resources, events and market intelligence.