Transformative Roles in Tourism: Adopting Living Systems’ Thinking for Regenerative Futures

Written byAmanda Ho | Regenerative Travel

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This study demonstrates how the Tourism Living System (TLS) concept can support the evolution of tourism stakeholders as self-organizing and interconnected entities that form symbiotic relationships with the communities and places in which they operate.

Living systems’ thinking sees humans as part of nature, and has been applied to envision tourism as a complex set of evolving practices and relationships within broader systems in which multiple actors collaborate and support the system to thrive.

The TLS framework challenges industrial/profit-making conceptions of tourism by proposing a shift in stakeholder roles (generally reduced to suppliers, distributors and consumers) from ones purely based on extraction to ones driven by social-ecological regeneration and prosperity.

Five diverse, interdependent and fluid stakeholder roles have been identified through case studies and scoping review. All roles (stewarding, guesting, hosting, placing, communing) are vital for a healthy evolution of social-ecological systems through TSL.

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