With the United Nations World Tourism Day being celebrated on Sept. 27, this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press features a one-on-one Q&A with Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, relentless social advocate and new author (“Looptail: How One Company Changed the World By Reinventing Business”) to discuss the role of tourism in global sustainability and how travel agents in Canada can help.
This is how the conversation went:
Given the size and impact of the tourism industry, how can we harness its strength to make the world a better place?
“Tourism has the ability to create employment opportunities, lift people out of poverty, strengthen economies and be the greatest form of wealth distribution the world has ever seen, if it’s done the right way. Consumers need to ask questions about where their money is going and make conscious travel decisions to better the communities they visit. It’s our hope that one day, one could give back simply by going on vacation. It’s a win-win scenario for our customers and communities around the world. We’re proud to be a conduit of sustainability and a social enterprise.”
What does sustainable tourism mean to you and G Adventures?
“For us, it’s all about ensuring the money generated through tourism stays in the local economy and that we are making an impact on communities around the world, by helping to provide sustainable business solutions in partnering with local community business leaders with Planeterra, our foundation. We can ensure that these local businesses will be sustainable and successful because we take our trips through the various projects on many of our tours. It’s our goal to one day include a visit to a Planeterra project on every G Adventures trip itinerary. We constantly receive positive feedback from our travellers about their time at Planeterra projects, often described as their favourite part of the trip. Plus we see the relationship with Planeterra grow through donations and fundraisers delivered by past travellers to raise money to support these projects. We’re a social enterprise because of this and we do hope to grow this model even more in the future.”
What is the role of the travel agent in the sustainable tourism movement?
“Agents play a huge part by influencing and encouraging the choices of their clients. We put a huge emphasis on educating the agent community on why their decisions are important and the importance of sustainable tourism. Agents, more so than any other group, have the ability to change lives through travel by choosing more sustainable options to recommend to their clients.”
For the full story in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press, click here.