Wholesalers

REVIEW: Bruce Poon Tip’s new e-book explains what a post-COVID-19 world should look like

Christian Fleetwood

With Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still, Bruce Poon Tip has penned a 24-page love letter to travel, grounded in unprecedented times.

Written while in isolation during April 2020, the G Adventures founder and New York Times best-selling author’s new e-book asks an important question: what should the world look like after coronavirus?

It’s one academics, industry bodies and public figures have puzzled over since the deadly novel virus made its presence known across the world. It’s one that still doesn’t have many decent answers.

But if there’s anyone with a new perspective on this – one that we haven’t heard yet – it’s certainly the quirky and goofy man behind the world’s most successful small-group adventure travel company.

With clarity, turn of phrase, and his trademark sense of humour, Poon Tip backs up his belief that the current times afford us an unbelievable opportunity to change tourism for the better.

“There is no question travel has changed, that it won’t be the same on the other side of these days of global isolation,” he said. “I think there is a fine line between hope and hard reality.

“I think there is also a difference between what I would like to see and what might actually be possible. We have a chance to reset everything.”

From rethinking ‘sustainable tourism’ and all-inclusive luxury, to promoting the benefits of homestays for community empowerment, and returning as contributors to culture instead of consumers, Unlearn shows what the new normal ought to be.

It’s also a book sure to get the industry talking – as you’d expect from a text called Unlearn, there’s no shortage of controversy.

Bruce Poon Tip

There’s the bold claim that tourism could have halted some of history’s worst atrocities, like the genocides of World War II. As Poon Tip writes: “The world can’t sneak up on you if you’re there seeing it, feeling it, tasting it, talking about it.”

Does that overstate the role of travel? Not for the man who believes tourism is the world’s “fastest path to peace”.

And, as you’d expect from the founder of an adventure travel company, there are plenty of digs at the cruise industry and consumer culture, with the entrepreneur urging travellers to make efforts to ensure tourism dollars stay in the pockets of local communities.

It could be as simple as “buying your drink from the guy with the cart on the street instead of from the big chains”, Poon Tip writes.

This all comes together with a very important chapter dedicated to the ‘leakage’ of funds outside of destinations and communities, with the G Adventures founder taking precise aim at “resorts, cruise lines, and multinational chains of all sorts”.

“If you take one thing away from my first instabook, I’d like it to be this: The tourism industry is not tourism… we are tourism,” Poon Tip writes. “Which means if we want less leakage, there will be less leakage.”

At the end of Unlearn, I found this to be a great little book to get travel professionals thinking sideways as well as forwards, to get them inspired and dreaming – exactly what we need in morbid times.

It’s a challenge to reimagine how we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic – and perhaps books like Unlearn will help us come into the light with a renewed sense of purpose and a little more accountability.

Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still is now available for download on Apple Books, Amazon and Kobo.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

“Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up”: Health Minister issues bleak border warning

Greg Hunt says Australia’s international border could remain closed even once the entire country has been vaccinated against COVID-19. *Sigh*

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Signed, sealed, delivered: ACCC authorises Virgin’s cooperation plan with Alliance Airlines

by Huntley Mitchell

Did you recently happen to see ACCC tsar Rod Sims popping some mail in your local AusPost box? All is explained here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Accor to bring second Mövenpick hotel Down Under

Travel Weekly’s editor is more of a Häagen-Dazs fan when it comes to ice cream, but he’s still licking his lips over this new hotel.

Share

CommentComments

Events

The travel industry’s favourite destination event is back!

by Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand

Dust off your event frocks and shine your ‘outside shoes’ because the Aussie travel industry’s favourite destination event is back with a post-pandemic twist.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Hilton’s Chad Miskiewicz

This week, the head chef at Samuels on Mill at Parmelia Hilton played us his favourite Foo Fighters songs while making his famous brisket. It was delicious.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Dolphins spotted in Venice’s Grand Canal

Don’t worry, we haven’t fallen prey to the same hoax that was circulating at the start of the pandemic. There were scientists involved this time, so we reckon this one checks out.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Australian Travel Agents Co-operative inks deal with Expedia

Do you happen to be a member of the ATAC? Well, you probably already know about this news, but here it is anyway.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival posts $2.6 billion first-quarter loss

The cruise giant has laid bare its quarterly financials, and it appears head office will have to wait patiently for a new Nespresso machine.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

The Ghan gets a makeover to celebrate Parrtjima festival

Journey Beyond has teamed up with a very talented Indigenous artist to give The Ghan a wicked cool new paint job.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Serious incident” on flight sees female passengers classified as children

The error, which was caused by a glitchy IT update, caused the plane to be more than 1,200 kilograms heavier than expected.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu Tours launches four new Aussie trips

Just like the gambling debt of Travel Weekly’s editor, Wendy Wu’s domestic product offering has grown.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

European MPs call for safer, more sustainable tourism post-pandemic

Here’s some political news all the way from Europe. However, that’s not to suggest we actually sent a journalist over there to cover it.

Share

CommentComments