One-on-one with Bruce Poon Tip, and the documentary that’s a must-see for all travellers

One-on-one with Bruce Poon Tip, and the documentary that’s a must-see for all travellers

It could be seen as ironic that a documentary about the risks of over tourism was paid for by the founder of a large travel company. But, that’s just one of the many reasons The Last Tourist gives viewers a bit of hope that the industry could change its ways and become more sustainable.

The film project was led by Bruce Poon Tip from G Adventures, who joined with UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall and Gary Knell from National Geographic.

The Last Tourist addresses the real impact of mass tourism as it traverses 16 different countries, magnifying its impact on the environment, wildlife, and vulnerable communities.

While its final presentation is grand in scale, it origins are much smaller.

G Adventures Bruce Poon Tip

“The original idea came in meeting that was held in our office almost six years ago, where we discussing the advancement of cameras on iPhones. They had become so good that we thought we could do our own documentary internally with their own content department,” Poon Tip told Travel Weekly.

“The first thought was that we could do a documentary short. And, we could just tell our story through a documentary.”

The project snowballed from there. The team brought in a writer, producers and eventually a director, and what was meant to be a short film became a feature length documentary.

“The movie which was originally going to cost tens of thousands was now going to cost millions, but we just went ahead and did it.”

Bringing in a wider team, and expanding the story outside of G Adventures meant Poon Tip had to relinquish control of the film, despite the fact he was paying for it.

He says this is something he struggled with throughout the creative process.

“I found it impossible.”

“I have run my own company for 33 years, and I have certainly become used to a certain level of control.” he said.

“I learned a lot. And, there were a lot of fights. I also learned what artistic freedom really means, and creative control and creative freedom,” he said.
I didn’t roll over easily, I’ll be honest. And, there were a lot of concerns on my part in terms of direction and content.”

There was a huge focus on animal welfare. That didn’t not come across my radar even though animal welfare is a big part of what we do,” he said.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

“I wasn’t wasn’t able to influence when I would have liked to but ultimately, the finished product speaks for itself.”

Despite the documentary highlighting the habits of the Instagram generation and how they affect conservation, Poon Tip says Gen Z is not to blame, and is often misrepresented.

“It’s really easy to shake our fists at these millennials because we don’t understand them or how they think.

We think they post online to be braggadocious or to create FOMO. And I just don’t think we truly understand the motivations of that generation just yet,” he said.

“I think we’re, it’s dangerous to it’s too quick to criticise, because on the other side, there’s so much data that shows that those young people are also completely driven by purpose. And they don’t want to work for companies that don’t drive a purpose that matches their values.”

So what can we do to change things? Poon Tip says there’s one action we can take that will have huge benefits.

“Follow the money,” he said.

“Find out where your money’s going. And it just takes very little time.”

Rated the number two documentary on Apple TV in Canada when it launched last year, The Last Tourist is available to stream via Prime Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play and Microsoft from 21 March.

Latest News

  • Aviation

Board Air Canada in Sydney’s CBD via a sleek Light Rail

Visitors flocking to Vivid Sydney will glide through the CBD in the newest addition to the Air Canada fleet – a sleek Light Rail tram wrapped in the airline’s unique livery. The Air Canada-themed tram is part of a new marketing campaign designed to put Air Canada in lights during the Vivid Sydney festival (25 […]