Events

Exceptional ALIEN’s Justin Drape and Michael Canning discuss creativity and travel for Travel DAZE

The travel industry’s leading conference is just around the corner (9 June!), and we’re showing off some of the brilliant speakers you can expect to see.

Today we have the co-founders of Exceptional ALIEN, Justin Drape and Michael Canning, to give us their insight on storytelling and travel.

Exceptional ALIEN is a platform that celebrates and shares the travels of creators. It recently launched its latest collaboration with Tourism New Zealand to showcase New Zealand through the eyes of creators and invite people to experience their inspirational stories as borders and travel re-opens.

Before you check out this amazing interview, don’t forget to click HERE for your access tickets to this industry-leading conference.

Just enter the number of tickets you’re after, enter the discount code “AGENT100” plus just a few particulars, and it’s Travel DAZE here you come!

TW: What are your key priorities for 2022 and beyond?

The first is to build the foundations of the Exceptional ALIEN platform as a destination for travel through a creative lens. Our platform is driven by a community of people who love travel and creativity, and a top priority for us is that we share diverse global voices from around the world. With the growing community of Exceptional ALIEN, we have the foundations in place to build upon this inspiring community.

We are also now working with brands like Tourism New Zealand. They have great stories to share with our growing community and we’ve just launched Part 2 of our Aotearoa Country Special this week, enabling an audience to experience the country through the lens of exceptional creators and their personal Travel Playbook for a chosen destination – including fashion designer Kiri Nathan, contemporary artist Sofia Minson, Fat Freddy’s Drop frontman Dallas Tamaira, Olympic gold medal freestyle skier Nico Porteous and sustainable fashion designer Maggie Hewitt.

Other priorities have of course been growing the Exceptional ALIEN team which is now 30 people across Australia, France and the USA and includes talented folks like Mikaela Aitken (ex-Monocle) and Brodie Carr who was previously the CEO of World Surf League (WSL) and Managing Director of Tourism Western Australia.

And finally, we have been expanding upon what our audience loves about the personal context of travel in a new mobile app for release this year – which will place the Travel Playbook of experiences and recommendations in the palm of people’s hands.

TW: What are the biggest trends and opportunities in the industry at present?

If treated tokenistically, sustainable travel is a trend in the travel industry. But treated with true consideration, meaningful and actionable steps, sustainable travel is also the greatest opportunity we have to build new and impactful behaviours. Exceptional ALIEN is proud to have received a B Corp Certification, and we’re committed to sharing progressive creative thinking, inspiration and importantly, sustainable actions for today’s mindful traveller.

We believe that sustainable travel begins with understanding, empathy and respect for other cultures, customs and destinations; including respecting the traditional custodians of the lands in which you are travelling. For Exceptional ALIEN, sustainability starts here, and it’s a message we share through the diverse perspectives of our growing global community who seek travel through a creative lens.

TW: What is the one thing you’d like Australian travel agents to know about what the future of travel looks like?

We have the privilege of connecting with inspiring creators around the world every day and hearing about experiences of travel through their creative lens. What we see in the community we connect with, and also research we have undertaken with different groups globally, is that the best travel experiences are no longer about cramming to fit everything in that a destination has to offer.

Instead, they’re about travelling in a way that connects with the destination, its culture and community in a more mindful and meaningful way. Less tourism, and more conscious travel that is aware of its impact. People are seeking the most rewarding experiences for themselves as travellers and also for the destination. This is a mindset that is already shaping a new era of travel and travellers.

TW: What keeps you up at night?

MC: Anytime the only option to travel is on a red-eye flight.

JD: My 8-year-old son who likes climbing into my bed at night, then kicking me in his sleep.

TW: How do you relax?

MC: Putting my headphones in and going for a long walk, often without a specific destination in mind.

JD: Swim in the ocean. It’s my elixir, so I try to do it every day.

You can catch Drape speaking at Travel DAZE in just a weeks time. Get your tickets now!



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