Regenerative tourism  is changing lives and communities around the world. But what is regenerative tourism, how is it different from sustainable travel, and how can you have a regenerative experience in the Willamette Valley? We’ve put together a guide to help answer those questions and encourage a deeper and more enriching trip to the Willamette Valley. 

What is Regenerative Tourism?

Regenerative tourism is all about creating positive impacts for both the environment and the local communities you visit. 

In the Willamette Valley, where our natural setting plays a huge role in producing unique and authentic experiences, it’s important to protect and nurture the region’s bounty—whether at family-run farms, storied wineries, or thoughtful outfitters.

Broadly speaking, it’s experiential travel where visitors can support businesses that make a positive impact, learn about sustainable practices, and help spread them around the world. Together we can make sure that our natural resources stay abundant for future generations through our everyday actions. So if you’re a visitor or traveler, consider getting involved in regenerative tourism to help bolster the environment and communities you visit.

Regenerative Travel Stories Across the Willamette Valley

When a dramatic wildfire ripped through the Columbia River Gorge in 2017, Kieron Wilde knew the devastation would have impacts for years to come—whether that meant rebuilding trails and removing debris or steeling communities for an influx of visitors while certain areas remained closed.

Today, the chief expedition officer at First Nature Tours is rethinking what eco-friendly tourism looks like and how he can connect travelers with meaningful experiences. Learn more about how Kieron Wilde is helping travelers give back while making memories that last a lifetime. 

Leaders in the Local Regenerative Movement

Tracey Sunflower, along with her husband Noah, took over the Westfir Lodge in 2018—creating a new kind of travel experience in the Cascade Range.

In the five years since opening, the Sunflowers have worked hard to offer a wide range of regenerative travel experiences that include guided outings that deepen connections with the surrounding Willamette National Forest, hosting an on-site yoga room, planting one tree for every overnight stay, and growing fruits and vegetables for the lodge in a nearby garden. 
Learn more about what’s happening at the Westfir Lodge—along with what inspired the Sunflowers to take a regenerative-minded approach and how they’re creating community in the great outdoors.

Preserving and protecting the oak trees of the Willamette Valley

Oak trees once covered the Willamette Valley’s rolling hillsides, creating the ideal habitats for a variety of wildlife and wildflowers. A voluntary conservation agreement, The Oak Accord, aims to help private landowners protect, restore, and even plant new oak trees not only to preserve and expand oak woodlands, but as part of the broader vineyard experience.

The WVVA Destination Regeneration Report

Explore the program report designed by a team of local regenerative tourism development practitioners and the Transformational Travel Council that will inform our goals in participant and community understanding of transformational travel practices and regenerative development. 

The Transformational Travel Council

The Willamette Valley Visitors Association is proud to be an early adopter of the Transformational Travel Council (TTC), joining globally recognized change-makers and conscious travel experts to commit to offering transformational experiences. The TTC believes meaningful travel starts from the inside out. The visionaries at the TTC are working to deepen connections to discover meaning through travel experiences to foster personal fulfillment through compassion, stewardship, equality, and belonging.  In partnership with the TTC and other partners, WVVA is creating a wealth of resources for frontline staff to bring this vision to life throughout the Valley. 

In the News

WVVA’s regenerative and sustainable tourism initiatives are getting noticed. Find out more in the Destination Stewardship Report.

A meeting of Regenerative Program members
Regenerative Program members discuss WVVA’s Sustainable Tourism efforts

Mission Statement & Who We Are

Meet our staff and our board of directors representing each county in the Willamette Valley region.

The Willamette Valley Visitors Association’s (WVVA) mission is to build awareness for the Willamette Valley as a premier year-round travel destination through marketing, sales, and destination development. Comprising six visitor associations, WVVA serves as the regional destination marketing organization for the Willamette Valley, driving visitor expenditures and economic impact to all parts of the region.