The last thing we want to do in Conscious Travel is undermine or compete with the good work being done by a host of other travel-related organizations that are trying to build a better future. We fully applaud and support the efforts and achievements of such organizations as the International Centre for Responsible Travel (ICRT) and especially the pioneering work of Justin Francis, founder of ResponsibleTravel.com; the various agencies involved in Sustainable Tourism such as Sustainable Travel International; the achievements of many eco-tourism and activity providers where great leadership has been shown by The International Ecotourism Society and Adventure Travel Trade Association. The work of Tourism Concern is also much appreciated and deserves more support.
What we are trying to do though is add value, impetus and encouragement by focusing on building the internal leadership skills within the tourism community to navigate the turbulent waters of change and grow high yielding, stable businesses. Our intent is to make it easier for “SME” providers to access the knowledge, information and tools they perceive as relevant to their development. As such, we will be pleased to work in partnership with others.
The concept has been based on a belief that within a sector as labour intensive as tourism, all the intelligence, drive and imagination exists within any destination community to adapt and thrive. It is the task of leaders to challenge, inspire, draw out, support and reward the innovations that will come from customers , employees, suppliers and the host community. Most tourism entrepreneurs have brought their skills as restauranteurs, hoteliers, activity providers, attraction and event managers to the sector but have not necessarily had the opportunity to develop leadership skills that are appropriate for our times. Unlike the employees of Fortune 500 companies, few travel providers have had the time, money or opportunity to develop the managerial and leadership capacities of their personnel or access emerging thinking.
What differentiates Conscious Travel is our initial focus on the inner world of those who would afect change. If the tourism community is to have the capacity to thrive in turbulent times, it requires leaders who can make accurate sense of their world, adapt to changing conditions and demonstrate resilience. We reject the notion that concepts such “mindset”, “values”, “culture” and “character” are soft. On the contrary, they profoundly determine the extent of a company’s success.
Our vision is for Conscious Travel to become a global learning community in which participants recognise their interdependence and help themselves and each other. We’re looking to attract business owners, such as the ones Seth Godin describes below, who want to grow themselves and enable their employees and the host community to grow in a qualitative sense.
Heretics are the new leaders. The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes and who create movements. Seth Godin
The Conscious Travel e-learning program is not for everyone. We wish to attract heretics and change agents, the curious and those willing to stretch themselves so that they can better serve their communities. The full scope of the program is summarised here and will be refined in greater detail after expensive consultation with travel-related suppliers and potential participants.
Success will have been achieved if participants in the program:
- feel better able to make sense of the changes affecting their business, their community and the tourism sector and more confident in their capacity to respond and thrive; and
- are able to create the conditions whereby their own teams can collaborate with others to delight the Conscious Travellers they attract; provide tangible net benefits to the host community such that its residents wish to actively participate in welcoming visitors; can attract responsible suppliers and investors; and generate above average profits.