Conscious Travel is a movement, a community and a learning program that enables places to attract and welcome guests in a manner that doesn’t cost the earth.
The operating model that has created a global tourism industry is dying and a new model is emerging. The rules of the game are being re-invented, right now.
Tourism is system of three elements: Places, Guests and Hosts. As such, it’s all about PEOPLE. If people change their values and their perception of how the world works, then everything else changes.Similarly, tourism is embedded in and dependent on a biosphere for its life support.
There are multiple forces shaking up the tourism system:
- The key human actors in the system are shifting not only their values but their core understanding of how the world works;
- The industrial model on which tourism is based is collapsing. As it matures, it produces diminishing net returns to all participants, and relies on volume growth to compensate for yield declines. As visitor volume increases, so do the costs associated with resource depletion, pollution and wealth concentration..
- External pressures will require the tourism economy to pay significantly more for services that hitherto have been free or relatively cheap. These cost increases will occur when reduced incomes and higher demand volatility are already compromising the resilience and profitability of existing businesses.
First the model is based on a different paradigm (PERSPECTIVE) and a new story that is emerging within humanity as we adjust to living on a finite planet. The focus shifts from more to better, from growth to flourishing and to contributing to a Regenerative Economy. The model recognises that while change is best affected in community, its members must also commit to change within themselves. We need healthy communities supporting healthy enterprises operated by people living fulfilling, productive, happy lives. The new paradigm will call for new organisational forms and styles of leadership and for hosts to become active change agents.
Conscious Hosts know that Profit follows PURPOSE – a commitment to use the business to make the world a better place while creating value and “wellth” for all stakeholders. Tourism is primarily all about PEOPLE and PLACES. People with passion about their place, who are intent on protecting, expressing and celebrating its unique Personality will sustain its value. The POWER has shifted to both guests and employees who can affect change within community. Both parties will be motivated to PROTECT the biosphere that gives them life and the culture through which they have unique expression. By slowing their guests down to appreciate the wonder of their experience (PACE), and concentrating on what’s local (PROXIMITY), guest satisfaction and net benefit will rise. The personality of the place and its people can be fully expressed and that will attract (PULL) guests who will value what it has to offer. New performance measures will track in quantitative and qualitative terms how all stakeholders in the community are flourishing.
Unless tourism enterprises embrace the new model they will continue to see their profit margins shrink; their resilience to external shocks weaken; and their viability diminish. Tourism entrepreneurs and their communities need to assume responsibility for changing and cannot assume that traditional institutions or agencies can supply fixes.
Conscious Travel is building an e-learning platform and on and offline communities designed to stimulate and nourish the capacity of tourism entrepreneurs – the 99% – to flourish in new market circumstances.
90+ page report integrating background research, rationale and unique holistic perspective on an alternative model (Social Entrepreneurship in Tourism: The Conscious Travel Approach). This report was designed for use by academics teaching tourism and hospitality at a university level. Click on image to download.
Brief summary of the above in the form of a Conscious Travel Manifesto
A summary paper Conscious Travel: Not More but Better, Better for More outlining these concepts in more detail can be downloaded from here.
What are the change drivers necessitating a new approach?
Benefits of Serving Conscious Guests