Our ride towards regenerative tourism
Over the last few months, we've put a lot of thought into what kind of model we wanted to implement to create more positive societal impact through slow travel.
We’ve figured that the social enterprise model fits best with our mission and activities. Although we’re in the early days and there are still several steps to take, here’s an outline of the model built around the concept of regenerative tourism that we want to put in place.
Strongly inspired by the Code Social Enterprises from the Netherlands, we’ve launched Slowby with the clear intention to make it grow into a social enterprise. This intention marks the result of a process that we’ve been through to identify how to create positive societal impact in a sustainable and ethical way.
We strongly believe and also noticed from both our own experience and the feedback from slow travellers that slow travel is a strong force for change. As shown in Slowby’s theory of change: by making it easier for people to join the slow travel movement, we envision creating positive social links between urban and rural areas, supporting local communities and businesses, and enabling climate-neutral travels.
We set up and structured our activities based upon the following principles:
- We’re starting off with secret trips for beginners. Our success should be directly linked to the value created for travellers so that we can grow with them.
- We have big ambitions to make positive societal impact through slow travel and we will need a team to make this happen. A fair price for our secret trips will allow us to build this team. As it’s well described in this article, the fact that we’re providing a product or service to the public is also what makes Slowby as a social enterprise different from a not-for-profit seeking mainly support from governments and donors.
- To achieve our impact, we combine revenue-generating activities like planning secret slow travel trips with not-for-profit activities as Welcome To My Garden. We stay fully true to the rules and not-for-profit philosophy of Welcome To My Garden. Even better: as travellers pay for the use of our secret trip planning service (not for the WTMG stay or anything else), we'll be able to keep the Welcome To My Garden platform functional and free to use for everyone. It's a win-win-win!
- Last but not least, after having been active for 2 years as a collective on Open Collective, we noticed that it was time to professionalise and get our own legal entity.
Regenerative tourism is all about the idea that travellers, and tourism in general, can have a positive impact on communities and places. Building further upon the philosophy of regenerative agriculture, we aim to develop an impact model that strengthens the health and vitality of the whole ecosystem. Here is what our model for regenerative tourism looks like:
The different activities in this model are complementary and the success between the different activities is interlinked.
- 1.Slowby makes it easier to plan and prepare a slow travel so that more people can be close to nature and discover new places.
- Link with WTMG: Thanks to the network of WTMG ambassadors, beginners get the chance to meet new people and camp for the night in the garden of an experienced host.
- Link with our positive impact fund: For each stay in the garden of a WTMG ambassador, a €5 donation (included in the price) goes to a positive impact initiative chosen by the WTMG ambassador (out of a list of 3 initiatives, chosen at the end of the year).
2. Welcome To My Garden (WTMG) is a not-for-profit network of citizens offering free camping spots in their gardens to slow travellers. Ideal for seasoned travellers who prefer to plan their own slow travel.
- Link with Slowby: Thanks to our activities with Slowby, we can keep the Welcome To My Garden platform functional and free to use for everyone.
- Link with our positive impact fund: WTMG ambassadors can make more impact by contributing to positive impact initiatives that make slow travel more accessible.
3. Our positive impact fund supports local initiatives that actively contribute to making slow travel more accessible.
- Link with Slowby: Slowby travellers make a €5 donation (included in the price) for each stay in the garden of a WTMG ambassador.
- Link with WTMG: At the end of the year, WTMG ambassadors directly support a positive impact initiative of their choice (out of a list of 3 initiatives, chosen at the end of the year).
We’re just getting started and set up the legal entity. To make this new model for regenerative tourism work, we need to first of all prove that our basic model can work for Belgium in the next few months. Once that’s the case, we’ll be looking into different possibilities like, among others, equity crowdfunding (as, for instance, the Library of Things in the UK recently did with a great campaign) and a platform cooperative structure to bring the development of our regenerative model to the next level and get the community on board. This is talk for later. For now, let’s get started and make it work!
Here’s how you can help us make this a success:
- Become a WTMG ambassador and welcome beginners in your garden. More info on how to become a WTMG ambassador: https://ambassador.welcometomygarden.org/.
- 50+ travellers already left on a Secret Trip and they all loved it (reviews here). If you want to go on a secret trip too, here you can design yours: https://plan.slowby.travel/
- What's almost as exciting as going on a Secret Trip? That’s giving one to your friends or family. To get a gift voucher for a Secret Trip: https://gift.slowby.travel/
- We’re only a team of 2 people at the moment. If there’s anything you want to discuss or suggest, please feel free to get in touch at [email protected]