The second webinar series of Rewilding Europe’s Rewilding Training Tourism programme attracted nearly 50 participants from multiple business sectors. The programme’s widespread appeal demonstrates the growing connection between rewilding and nature-based economies.
Rewilding is proving increasingly popular with those directly involved in nature-based tourism – apart from anything else, wilder, more extensive nature helps to support business growth. This is evidenced by the development of nature-based tourism in many of Rewilding Europe’s operational areas, with nature recovery creating jobs and income for rural communities and revitalising local economies.
But the business appeal of rewilding doesn’t stop at nature-based tourism. With nearly 50 people from 17 countries attending the second webinar series of Rewilding Europe’s Rewilding Training Tourism programme in February, a closer at their backgrounds confirms this.
“We had everyone from nature managers, architects and designers to researchers, salespeople and even a ‘wilderness pedagogist’, attending,” says European Safari Company Operations Manager Aukje van Gerven, who helped to develop the programme. “It was fantastic to see so many people with different professions come together. This demonstrates perfectly the growing importance and synergy between rewilding, wilder nature and nature-based economies.”
Having kicked off in 2020, Rewilding Europe’s pioneering, three-stage Rewilding Training Tourism programme aims to professionalise and scale up nature-based tourism across Europe. The webinar series of the first stage, which involves a series of presentations by nature-based tourism expert and owner of Nature Tourism Development Simon Collier, will be followed by second stage field training in the Central Apennines rewilding area in May, June and July.
Feedback from the second webinar series was overwhelmingly positive, with nearly three-quarters of participants reporting that the information learned would be immediately useful, and all reporting it would be useful within a year.
Inspiring rewilding journeys
Each one of the webinar participants (and their respective businesses) is on a rewilding journey – some are preparing to begin, others are integrating rewilding into their established way of working. Jonathan Kleppe founded his company – a safari camp in the Veluwe area of the Netherlands – in 2016. The Veluwe, an extensive area of forest, sand drift, lichen steppe and heathland, is one of the most spectacular wild areas in the country.
“The more I hear about rewilding, the more inspired and passionate about it I become,” says Kleppe. “The webinar series reinforced my belief that connecting with wild nature can benefit us all – which is really what my camp is all about – and that all businesses should give something back to nature. I can’t wait to attend the second stage field training, which I’m sure will enhance the experience I can offer clients.”
Hanna Rasper, a German designer based in Sicily, works mainly in the field of social impact and creative strategy.
“Having discovered rewilding through a documentary on the German Arte TV channel, I then came across the Facebook page of Rewilding Europe’s Young Rewilders Community, which fuelled my interest,” explains Rasper. “The webinar series was a great all-round introduction to rewilding – to me the diverse mix of participants was a perfect reflection of the holistic, transdisciplinary and beautifully complex nature of rewilding.”
“When I started the programme I had plans to start a glamping business in Sicily, but the webinar series has opened my eyes to so many more perspectives and nature-based economic opportunities,” she continues. “I guess you could say I’m now shaping my own entrepreneurial journey, with rewilding at its heart. Stage two field training will help me to take further steps along this path.”
Integrate rewilding in your business
The Rewilding Training Tourism programme will run on a cyclical basis going forwards. The third stage of the first training run, which is open to all those who pass the second stage, is scheduled for September this year. Stage one training will begin again in November and December (open for booking), with second stage field training in early 2022. The webinar series costs 195 euros (excl. VAT), while costs for stages two and three have yet to be finalised (see PDF for more details).
Those interested in applying for the programme should e-mail Irene Fernandez (firstname.lastname@example.org), outlining why this training would be beneficial to themselves and their business. General questions about the programme should be addressed to Aukje van Gerven (email@example.com).
The first cycle of the Rewilding Training Tourism programme (2020/21) was developed and organised with funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The lottery made a special donation to Rewilding Europe Capital in 2020 to support the scaling up of European nature-based businesses.