Destination Marketing Organization in Washington state to develop industry leading road map for regenerative travel

Driftwood Beach Scene

Photo by Suzi Pratt

COUPEVILLE, Wash., July 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism is undergoing strategic planning in partnership with the Transformational Travel Council (TTC) in a bold step to adapt to a forever-changed travel industry, and to lay the groundwork for a future-fit destination. An early adopter of the TTC’s Regenerative Places Program, the year-long process cultivates shared values and vision, builds stakeholder capacity, and facilitates the co-creation of a Regenerative Action Plan. This process is designed to develop the self-regulation of the islands’ tourism systems, and ultimately plant the seeds for a tourism industry that improves the lives of residents, enriches the visitor experience, and benefits the natural environment of the islands.

“Tourism is the third largest industry in Island County, yet with islands being particularly vulnerable to over-tourism, there is a desire to change how this industry affects our sense of place,” says Sherrye Wyatt, PR & marketing manager for Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism. “We see the early signs of unsustainable visitor trends and we want to mold our strategy in a proactive way that will ensure that our community and environment will thrive alongside our tourism industry for years to come.”

“While the industry is drawn to buzz words like “transformational” or “sustainable” tourism as part of a rebrand or messaging, at this critical moment, it is vital that we walk the walk, even when it is hard. Early adopters of our program, like Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism, are going through a transformative process that unifies, shifts mindsets, and opens them up to new ways of believing, doing, and being so they can fully embrace transformative and regenerative approaches. We hope that by helping them with sensemaking we’re able to cultivate an emergence from within that fosters a community that works for all and does so long after we’ve left,” says Jake Haupert, CEO of the TTC.

Regenerative tourism development takes a systemic approach to the design and development of the visitor economy starting with shifting mindsets, and working from the inside out and ground up, to co-design innovative legacy solutions that benefit the whole system. This process is not supposed to be quick and easy, but rather meaningful and effective. While the full plan will take effect later this year in response to community surveys and outreach, workshops with key stakeholders and more, Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism has already revealed programs to support the regenerative effort. A new field guide suggests alternatives to popular, well-loved beaches and trails called 24 Trails off the Beaten Path. It details routes along wooded hideaways, pastoral vistas, and rugged beaches in an effort to lessen the visitor impact on over-visited island spots. Each of the 24 trails are also detailed on the website whidbeycamanoislands.com/24trails.

About Whidbey and Camano Islands 
Drive off the mainland to find two of the most accessible and scenic island destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Camano and Whidbey sit just north of Seattle, a short trip via bridge or ferry. Offering a different experience with each season, the islands provide locally inspired shops and restaurants, dynamic experiences for a variety of interests, recreation, and beach combing. Rich history and a healthy dose of local color in all mediums is provided by the region’s many artists. Lodging options range from nationally renowned hotels to secret spots ideal for a quiet retreat. For more information on amenities, lodging and a calendar of events visit www.whidbeycamanoislands.com. Connect on TwitterInstagram and Facebook via @GoWhidbeyCamano.

About the Transformational Travel Council
TTC is a growing organization rising to meet the challenges that face a post-pandemic travel industry. TTC members are dedicated to supporting both travelers and the travel industry in transforming lives and changing the world through more mindful and intentional travel experiences. Their mission is to use travel as a catalyst for creating deeper connections with self and nature and as a tool for fostering global citizenry, communication, understanding, stewardship, and real human connection.

Media Contacts:
Erin Osborne / Annie Sullivan
ON Public Relations for Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism
206-948-6059 / 206-856-5660
erin@onpublicrelations.com / annie@onpublicrelations.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4578b891-b37f-4dec-a00f-fcbcd622b420

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