One of the best compliments I receive from tour participants is something along the lines of "You have such great friends here. Thanks for sharing them with us!"
Whether it's Fiona Ritchie stopping by to chat around an evening fire on the River Tay or Brian Ó hEadhra coming along to create a memorable moment with Gaelic prayers at a sacred site, Tim and Ross joining us at a local pub after their concert, or my old friend Neil taking us through Roslin Glen, we love to share our friends with you. This not only creates more lasting memories, but it strengthens the bonds of community across continents.
Regenerative tourism is a fairly new term and it goes beyond sustainable practices, which strive to leave a place as it was found. Regenerative tourism seeks to leave a place even better through empowering the relationship between visitors and locals and giving back to the land. It's what we have done all along, but we didn't always have a word for it.
Perhaps I'm overly mindful of bringing frequent groups of Americans to such a peaceful and unspoiled landscape. There have been times when I've questioned if it is the right thing to do, but then I remember the lovely Scottish people who truly look forward to our groups, who have businesses we love to frequent and who are grateful for the projects we support by donating a portion of each tour to conservation efforts.
The world has and is changing dramatically and there is no longer space for unconscious business practices or those who promote profits over people. Regenerative tourism often involves volunteer efforts. Personally, I believe volunteers who come from other places and do not understand the fabric of a culture or community, can do more harm than good. That's why our tours give financial support to organizations and projects in Scotland that have systems and local volunteers already in place.
Our tours will always put regenerative tourism and relationships as a top priority, and continually seek new ways to do that. I firmly believe that how we do any one thing is how we do everything. We can't truly separate who we are from what we do and vice versa, so when we put relationships, whether with people or with the land, first, gifts in kind come back to us. We keep the cycle going and the momentum continues to create a better, stronger, more loving and connected world.