To kick off the ARC TravelConnect Virtual Series in 2021, ARC’s Peter Kane was joined by G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip for an insightful conversation about the travel industry during 2020 and what he sees impacting travel going forward. He detailed his free e-book UNLEARN: The Year the Earth Stood Still, which looks at how travel professionals can reshape the way people travel to help them connect with local communities and immerse themselves in their destinations.

Use the links to skip ahead to specific parts of their discussion or watch the full video below.

  • 0:30 – To open the discussion, Bruce shares the history and evolution of G Adventures from a time when modern technology like ubiquitous access to the internet didn’t exist, and how his focus has always been working with local communities to provide an authentic experience for travelers.
  • 2:08 – Bruce talks about the importance of freedom and happiness as pillars of G Adventures, how they shape the business and drive growth, entrepreneurship and deeper connections within the organization.
  • 5:30 – Bruce discusses the impact of COVID-19 on G Adventures and what led him to write an e-book that steers away from the typical corporate talking points featured heavily in spring and summer of 2020. He stresses the notion that humans are born explorers and that destinations should outweigh amenities for travelers to connect with different cultures and have a greater sense of purpose.
  • 11:15 – Peter and Bruce talk about the travel industry’s potential transition away from tourism and consumption to being more focused on exploration and contribution. Bruce believes in the value and responsibility of travel agencies and their professionals to educate travelers and define the impact their travel has on local communities.
  • 17:10 – Bruce points out the importance of travel for society and how the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to change the way travelers view the world.
  • 19:50 – Bruce talks about the satisfaction people can find from traveling more purposefully.
  • 22:10 – Peter and Bruce both share the sentiment that it only takes a small group of people to positively shape the future of global travel.
  • 24:10 – Bruce says the biggest challenge facing the travel industry as it emerges from the COVID-19 is instilling confidence in travelers that airlines, governments and destinations are taking the necessary measures to ensure safe travel. He highlights the countries that he believes have responded well to COVID-19 and the opportunities G Adventures has had to showcase health and safety protocols in some vanguard markets like Peru.
  • 27:01 – Peter and Bruce talk about combating myths about air travel, airlines’ safety protocols of airlines and the overall industry response.
  • 30:21 – Bruce lauds the benefits of working with local communities to follow safety protocols, even when they sometimes may conflict with international guidelines.
  • 34:05 – Bruce details how G Adventures has recovered thus far in destinations like Costa Rica, Tanzania and the Maldives, and the extra measures they’re taking to ensure they adhere to safety guidelines.
  • 37:58 – In closing, Bruce talks about the importance of travelers recognizing how fortunate they are to travel and the opportunities for the travel industry to be transformative.