People
April 26, 2019

TRAVEL CHANGEMAKERS: Bruce Poon Tip, Founder G Adventures

Words by Matt Leedham
Changemakers

Bruce Poon Tip, Founder of G Adventures shares his thoughts and ideas with us on how we can all do our bit to leave a legacy of goodness on our travels.

Entrepreneur, leader and philanthropist Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of award-winning small group adventure travel company and social enterprise G Adventures.

We caught up with Bruce to get his worldly insights into the travel industry and how travel can change the world.

What was it that inspired you to join the travel industry?

I was born in Trinidad, moved to Canada when I was three and went on a backpacking adventure through Asia in 1990.

I was deeply touched by what I saw and when I came back I thought ‘I want to make a career out of this’. I wanted to share that passion and vision of experiencing adventures in an authentic and sustainable manner with others.

I wanted to bridge the divide between backpacking and mainstream travel and give travellers the opportunity to foster meaningful connections with local communities in the countries they visited.

My belief then, and indeed my belief still to this day, is that travel can connect global cultures and lead to greater global wealth distribution – if done correctly.

That was the beginning of G Adventures and my travel industry life, 27 years ago now.

What concerns you about the travel industry’s long-term sustainability?

I think the travel industry faces numerous challenges, just as it probably always has done at varying other times in history.

“Today, we’re in the middle of a time where the world seems beset by a severe case of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.”

Across the world, there is civil disruption, wars, disease, environmental concerns and less freedom for many. Many currencies are volatile as are the countries they represent and of course terrorism has made many people scared of travelling.

However, this industry is a resilient one and especially in Australia where you are very far away from many of the world’s troubles and attitudes. The Australian travelling public continues to embrace travel as a rite of passage.

Namibia, G Adventures

Do you think travel can change the world?

I think travel already has changed the world in so many ways.

But yes, absolutely it can do more and that’s perhaps travel’s greatest opportunity. Through education, the breaking down of stereotypes and connecting human beings – regardless of where they’re from.

All of this creates responsible ambassadors who spread the word and inspire more people to travel and do the same.

Today, there are more opportunities than ever in travel; there are more ways to travel and more ways to experience the world. I believe there is truly something for everyone, everywhere.

Bruce Poon Tip at the G Adventures Australia HQ Ball Pit, Melbourne

Are you seeing positive change happening in travel?

I think the most impactful, positive change that I’ve seen is that, increasingly, it’s consumers who are driving innovation and more responsible travel.

Consumers are pressuring companies for answers, solutions and transparency. And to me, that’s exciting.

More and more travellers are looking at corporations and saying “what are you doing to give back? What are you doing that’s holistically sustainable in the way you are operating your business?”

With social media being so prolific now, there really is nowhere to hide – and that’s a great thing as it forces everyone to lift their game and do more.

For most of the next generation coming through exposure via social media isn’t an abnormal concept – it’s part of their DNA and would be abnormal to not think like that.

Pop & Zebra via Unsplash

What do you think is the biggest challenge the travel industry faces?

The biggest challenge is always piquing people’s interest to learn more and inspire others to do the same in a positive way.

I think the travel industry is well placed now to take advantage of consumers’ increasing appetite for ethical and purposeful travel and to push the boundaries.

In that way, together we’re already providing a dynamic, scalable platform for everyone to sustain themselves.

Find out more: gadventures.com.au

G Adventures Wellness Tours
G Adventures Wellness Tours

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your own impact by sharing your new-found knowledge. Share this link to a friend who you think would be interested or post it on your own social media.

Ultimately, it all comes down to staying curious, keeping yourself up-to-date and making yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.

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