But for that to happen, there needs to be a paradigm shift in tourism, moving away from the low ambition of just doing less harm and into the regenerative mindset of contributing through actions and solutions.” Vincent Nijs, Chief Strategist at Visit Flanders. Source: Travel Tomorrow
The above quote and the many others that have graced my screens lately intrigued me. So, I seized the opportunity when TIAC, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, sponsored three cohorts to take a brand-new course Regenerative Events Management, in May. Committing the 3 hours per week for the online theory course, plus an hour or two’s homework, was the perfect mix. The bonus came in the shape of the facilitators and the co-hosts GDS Movement, ConnectSeven Group and #Meet4Impact, which are all organizations that I greatly admire.
From minute one, I knew I’d made the right choice:
Our Collective Purpose
Our Mission is to empower,
destinations with the mindsets, skill sets,
and toolsets to create regenerative
places to visit, meet and live in.
Along with members of cohort one, fellow industry professionals from venues, DMOs, associations, corporate and third-party planners, government institutions and academia, and other independent consultants such as myself, we set sail on a voyage of rapid discovery.
To be honest with you, I thought I had a good handle on sustainable events. I’d worked for one of the most proactive DMOs in Canada in sustainability due to the amazing, talented and dedicated work of Melissa Radu and her team. I learned quickly and led the way with the strategic direction for the Edmonton Business Events team. However, since my move into consulting in early 2022, a new terminology was in play ‘Regenerative Events,’ I felt behind and bewildered. This course was exactly what I needed to take me from sustainability thinking to a regenerative mindset.
But before I go on a little reminder for myself, let’s rewind. As a team leader in a fast-paced DMO, I slipped out of the habit of learning through dedicated time set aside and guided by professionals. Instead, I let my team take the courses, get the certificates and share the knowledge they acquired. At the same time, I kept the budget in check, helped break down barriers and kept my learning engine running by grabbing self-learning opportunities and snatching reading time when and wherever I could – largely on the bus and train commute. In hindsight, as a lifelong learner, this was a huge mistake. I was apprehensive about taking this course but knew my active brain would thank me. And thank me, it did. The sweaty palms and nervousness faded as soon as the learning outcomes were revealed on day one:
We will review key concepts of Sustainability and go beyond to explore regenerative development principles and how these can help you make your organization thrive and flourish.
As a result you will
- Learn key principles and frameworks about regenerative and sustainable development.
- Feel inspired and empowered to develop your sustainable event strategy and create new experiences.
- Improve your impact strategy, measurement and storytelling approach
And they delivered on all three with an amazing experience full of new knowledge, inspiration and practical takeaways, so much so that I’m reviewing the materials and concepts almost daily and using them in my work with my clients.
I truly believe that if our industry is to survive the climate crisis, we are all battling the ‘Why’ behind meetings needs to be crystal clear, and we as an industry need to lead the behaviour change required to succeed. So, I won’t let any of this learning go to waste. In every newsletter for the next few months, I’ll pass on some of the knowledge I’ve gained and share a case study on an event or organization demonstrating best practices. Not on my mailing list yet? Sign up here for my monthly newsletter.
I’ll also be keeping my ears to the ground and bringing your regenerative stories and inspiration through my weekly Look Ahead with Anna insight videos and YouTube short series, so subscribe to my channel to never miss an update.