I am confident that all of my readers will agree that asking the right question before starting any strategic exercise is vital at any time but particularly so when the context in which you operate is undergoing profound and radical change.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein
Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers. Anthony Robbins
Given this belief, you can imagine how pleased I was when the Chair of Tourism Vancouver – Howard Jang, CEO of the highly successful Arts Club Theatre – posed two particularly important questions at their recent Business Plan Launch on Tuesday (Jan 17, 2012). I couldn’t attend because I knew I would be in Auckland, so was able to contribute via video.
The depth of thinking being expressed by Tourism Vancouver is most encouraging so I have re-printed, with permission of course, Howard Jang’s side of the conversation below.
Howard Jang, Chair, Tourism Vancouver
This musing by Jan Myrdal started me thinking about what the “cause” of tourism is really about:
Travelling is not just seeing the new; it is also leaving behind. Not just opening doors; also closing them behind you never to return.
My own thinking on these topics has been evolving since the AGM and much of it was enabled by a new friend of mine, though an old friend of many in this room. Anna Pollock is a highly respected Futurist, perhaps though you’ll let me also add the designation of Visionary, as you’ll see.
Following our conversations and my reading of some of her writing, I asked if she’d speak with you today, during this presentation of mine, via video. Stay tuned. First, let me take up the “cause”.
I’ve long felt that there is more to tourism than making the cash register ring – important and fundamental though that is to our industry’s well-being and to this very organization. Yet there seemed to be values inherent in tourism that are broader, more meaningful, and possibly at the very foundation of a sustainable industry – one that is in the longer term profitable on many fronts. In discussions, I asked Anna, “what she feels is the ‘cause’ of tourism?” and here is how she responded:
Anna’s words both echoed and informed some of my own thoughts, posing fresh views that I wanted to share with you. It’s crucial that our tourism industry engage wide support with the citizens of Metro Vancouver, indeed within British Columbia. The Team at Tourism Vancouver, are at the forefront of generating demand, attracting visitors, ensuring a business model that works for you, our members. However, we are also about ensuring that the visitors’ experiences while here are unparalleled, and that when they leave us, they have an ambition to return and a willingness to speak highly to others about our destination.
I once heard this quote:
Once a place becomes special, it’s no longer special Peter Storey
And then there is the other concept from our AGM.
When I first used the term – a presumptuous declaration of sorts, now that I look back – that the coming years would be Vancouver’s Decade of Culture, I was wearing more than one hat.
Understandably, I was speaking as your new board chair, and also I obviously come from ‘the arts’, from the cultural industries.
True though both those hats are, there was another – it is that of a Vancouver resident. We call this place home – and that gives us notable privileges, huge opportunities, and a host of responsibilities. For me, Culture has never been about just the Arts but, rather reflections of our soul. I wanted to take the “decade of culture” beyond a comforting phrase and give it depth and context.
And, I asked Anna’s thoughts.
Those two clips and my own words are but a part of how we hope to inform, guide and learn with you during today’s presentations.
Thanks Howard! – looks like you are already letting your guests define what Culture means to them. I see you have a great Youtube Channel and a number of vignettes on Culture in Vancouver.
Let me end with another quote from my favorite poet, Rainer Rilke, that applies to all of us
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
To see how Vancouver’s community (its residents) rescued its brand – click here