Deep and sustained, the community engagement process associated with the Islander Way project acknowledges the views and ideas of all those who participated in the engagement activities. It seeks to honour those views and ideas in a way that is authentic. As such, we have not wanted to ‘correct’ perceptions or to overlay an alternative ‘reality’ but present the feedback in a way that this document becomes a source of information for the future.
The next step is to develop a Draft Regenerative Tourism Framework in collaboration with Visitor Northern Tasmania (VNT), Flinders Council, and other stakeholders.
The theme of the Furneaux Futures Forum (7-9 June) is regeneration and will be an opportunity to come together to continue the regenerative journey.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Islander Way is a 2-year project, which commenced in September 2021, that aims to co-design the future of tourism with and for the community using regenerative tourism principles.
The project will chart a pathway for tourism that respects the community’s values, contributes to a resilient economy, and that takes responsibility for the impacts of tourism on the natural environment. It will build on The Flinders Island brand story, The Islander Way, that was co-created by the local community with Brand Tasmania.
The project adopts an innovative, emergent, community-led approach. Instead of adopting a traditional approach where the outcomes are predetermined, this project is a journey where the outcomes will be co-designed with the community. That means we need the community's ideas, genius, and participation!
Broadly, the outcomes of the project are to provide evidence-based guidance for managing tourism on Flinders Island. This guidance has various forms, including community capacity building activities, community and business projects that embed regenerative principles, and advocacy. We discuss these evolving outcomes regularly with the governance group as the project strengthens and extends its reach.
Our approach differs from the usual approach where outcomes are firmly established according to fixed expectations based on policy makers' past experience. By looking back, not forwards, this traditional approach and mindset limit creativity and innovation. Ultimately, it reinforces the existing system and current challenges. Instead, we believe that, because regenerative tourism seeks to shift mindsets and create space for innovation, outcomes reflecting old ways of working, and that are rapidly becoming outdated, doesn't make much sense.
Our approach is called 'working in emergence'. Emergence involves actively evolving and adjusting the project's desired outcomes while responding to emerging issues and challenges. Yes, it is incremental, but it is also shaped by a coherent overarching set of regenerative principles, values and aspirations defined through deep community engagement.
Flinders Island is the social and economic heart of the Furneaux Islands group, an archipelago of more than 52 islands in the Bass Strait.
With approximately 1020 residents, Flinders municipality is the smallest local government area in Tasmania. Concern over the long term economic and social sustainability of the Island’s community have been raised.
Flinders Island is also characterised by an extraordinary natural environment and high levels of scenic quality. It was the subject of overtourism during Covid-19 creating impacts on the local population.
At its simplest, regeneration is the process of restoring, rebalancing and allowing our social, cultural and environmental assets to re-generate. In the context of tourism, instead of focusing on how we can grow tourism, we ask instead, how can tourism contribute to our social, cultural and environmental wellbeing?
Regenerative Tourism is guided by three ideas:
Designing out the negative impacts of tourism that deplete the social, cultural and environmental resources on which tourism is based;
Designing in actions that optimise the regenerative potential of resources; and
Changing our mindset and systems to adopting a holistic regenerative approach.
The aim of our community engagement is to:
Explore what regenerative tourism means and co-create the future of tourism on the Island with all stakeholders.
Collect information about the community's values and attitudes towards tourism which can be used to inform future decisions and actions
Identify and nurture potential ideas and initiatives that will help to build a better relationship between the Islanders and visitors.
The information gathered over the duration of the project will help to identify opportunities to co-design the future, empower local stakeholders, and protect local lifestyles.
Our approach to regenerative tourism is based on ten pillars that provide the foundation for a community-led, environment-centred, and placed-based approach.
Key partners contributing to the funding of this journey include: