Mon, 31 October 2016
Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of G Adventures, the largest adventure company in the world. The company is now 25 years old and today people from 160 countries book trips with G Adventures. He is also the author of Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business and Do Big Small Things.
G Adventures has a very different business model than any other travel company. Most travel companies offer customers a luxurious experience with the modern amenities of home. Today at least 75% of holidays are all inclusive and take place on a cruise ship or at a compound. Poon Tip believes that the travel experience should be different.
Poon Tip believes that if people want the comforts and amenities of home while they travel, then they should probably just stay home. He believes that traveling the world is about the experience of immersing yourself in another culture and truly seeing how other people live. His company not only gives customers an honest experience, but it also benefits locals in countries around the world.
According to Poon Tip traveling is the “greatest form of wealth distribution”. People are always traveling to poor countries, but instead of putting their money into the local government and people they are giving their money to hotel chains and cruise lines. G Adventures remedies this issue. When people travel with G Adventures they are going to have the chance to shop at local vendors, stay in local hotels and eat at local taverns and restaurants in order to build up the local economy.
G Adventures has a lot of different types of trips (over 700 to be exact). One type is local living. It allows people to travel to Africa and stay with a nomadic tribe, travel to Iceland and stay with a local family on their farm, travel and stay with locals in a small village in Italy. They also have projects in various countries that are helping locals achieve a better quality of life. One example of this is a cooking class G Adventures is setting up where travelers can go out and shop at local markets with children from a homeless shelter to get ingredients for the dish they will learn how to make. They can interact with the children and help them learn English. The travelers then go back and learn how to cook a dish with local teachers. Another project is one they are doing in India where they help women who are living out in the street by assisting them in getting a chauffeur’s license so they can make a living by driving travelers around the country. G Adventures wants to change the world and they believe that tourism can be the vehicle for that.
In today’s world people want to feel they have a purpose in their work and companies are starting to evolve to give more meaning to the work their employees do. Companies really can change the world. But who is responsible for creating this purpose at work? Is it the responsibility of the company to create this purpose? Or is it the employee’s responsibility to find this purpose in whatever position they have? The answer is it is a mutual responsibility. Employees should make sure they apply for a company that has values that line up with their own with opportunities to make a difference and employers should be sure to provide these opportunities for their employees.
Poon Tip plans to continue creating opportunities to improve the world through G Adventures. He sees his work more as a movement then just a job and he wants to continue using “tourism as a vehicle to change the world”.
What you will learn in this episode:
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(music by Ronald Jenkees)