Yesterday was United Nations World Tourism Day which was celebrated by many at the Future of Tourism event held in Toronto. An evening of discussion, debate and creative exchange, visionaries from across the spectrum including Gap Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip, CBC’s David Suzuki, Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Erica Harms, Planeterra’s Megan Epler-Wood, and Travel Blogger Gary Arndt, all spoke the true hard facts when it comes to sustainable tourism.
The energy in the room was high as David Suzuki kicked off the night with his talk about how tourism not only introduces people to other cultures, but raised some bigger questions about how tourism can create a positive impact and how we, as travellers, can reduce our ecological footprint. This was further highlighted with Erica Harm’s presentation on how sustainable tourism can turn vanishing cultures to enduring ones.
Travel Blogger Gary Arndt also known in the twitterverse as @EverywhereTrip, stressed the importance that if we want to understand the changes in travel, we need to understand the changes in technology first. People are literally picking up their lives and working from different parts of the world as WIFI is becoming widely available in many countries.
But the anticipation rose throughout the night for ‘the big announcement’ to be made by Bruce Poon Tip. And big it was! With a series of videos and a heartfelt story from Bruce about his 21 years building his company, Bruce addressed a topic that’s been in chasing him for the past five years regarding the lawsuit between Gap Clothing in the US and his brand.
In 1990 Bruce Poon Tip launched Gap Adventures with the belief that other travellers would share his desire to experience authentic adventures in a responsible and sustainable manner. They’ve since grown from a one-man show to a company of over 500, and from a handful of trips in Latin America to hundreds of adventures spanning the globe. Which is why as a company, they’ve decided to take a step forward together and ‘free themselves’. Effective globally October 1st, the company formally known as Gap Adventures, will now be ‘G Adventures’.
“The decision is liberating because we are confident in our product and people. I need to focus on the company and what I do best. We only dropped two letters, everything else remain the same. One of our fundamental principles here is to change the lives of anyone who comes into contact with our company. Our business model isn’t about bottom-lines and turnover. It’s about happiness, freedom and independence,” shares Poon Tip. “I’ve always believed that the secret to happiness is freedom, and the secret to freedom is courage. This year, we are taking a bold step with our identity – a change that’s an evolutionary step into the future.”
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