Tourism

Bruce Poon Tip: “Travel could be the greatest form of wealth distribution”

Ali Coulton

If you weren’t at Travel DAZE yesterday, you have our deepest sympathies.

If you were, we have four words for you: HOW GOOD WAS THAT?!

It’s not every Monday that you get to spend your day listening to fast-paced, cutting-edge talks from the best in the biz including Barry Mayo, Julia Zaetta and Jacqui Timmins just to name a few.

Our keynote speaker, the founder of G Adventures, Bruce Poon Tip flew in all the way from Canada just for us to deliver a fantastic talk on the future of tourism and how we can change the world through the power of travel.

“We’re living in one of the most extraordinary times in history,” Poon Tip told Travel DAZE attendees.

He said travel is one of the fastest changing industries in modern times with online and direct ticket sales completely changing the role of the travel agent.

“Out of every great time of change in history, it’s also some of the greatest opportunities for business.”

“Even though we’re going through so much change, so many opportunities are being created for our industry.

“Agents can’t make a living just selling airline tickets anymore, which has really cleaned up the industry and made it more professional.

Poon Tip pointed out that agents now have to provide a professional service rather than just a transaction.

But Poon Tip believes not all of this change has been well managed.

“When you look at it from a sustainability angle, it’s not a sustainable model,” he told us.

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In fact, according to the United Nations Environment program, of every $100 spent in tourism, only $5 stays in the local economy.

“The cultural impact is just completely unsustainable,”

“But the opportunity is that these people are travelling to the poorest countries and the travel industry is growing.

“We had a billion tourists in 2012, we weren’t supposed to hit a billion until 2015. And now we’re going to hit 1.8 billion by 2022. As a business case study, tourism is excellent. Very few industries can tell you they’re going to double in the next ten years.

“Travel could be the greatest form of wealth distribution the world’s ever seen. Wouldn’t it be great if your way of giving back could be going on holidays?”

For this to happen, Poon Tip said, business models would have to change.

On some level, this is already beginning to happen, with social media completely changing how businesses communicate with consumers. It’s no longer a one-way conversation and companies are now being held accountable for the ways they conduct their business.

“A new breed of company is being created.”

“Companies today like Microsoft, Facebook… all of these private, aggressive, profitable companies are the ones of the future, and they’re blurring that line between social entrepreneurship and social media and creating a new breed of company which is considered social enterprise.”

“Social enterprise is a whole new business because it’s about creating a relationship with customers.”

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Do you have something to say about this? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Ali Coulton at alexandra@travelweekly.com.au

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