How to get traction to create enduring value with sustainability projects

How to get traction to create enduring value with sustainability projects

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Welcome to the Future of Tourism Podcast. I'm David Peacock. Stop owning your own content.

Young leaders are stepping up. Bring everyone to the table and Imagine their world anew. There's an obvious necessity for tourism to create legacy value improvements and assets for the places and people that choose to play host to visitors. We need to take a very careful look at all our activities and determine if they are indeed serving our communities and creating legacy value for our citizens.

Sustainability and regeneration initiatives are, by definition, activities that leave a lasting, positive impact on places and people. They're also an opportunity for DMOs to build meaningful partnerships outside the cohort of the usual suspects. If we want to talk about legacy value in sustainability and regeneration, then we want to talk to Jessica Vandy and Alexis Kurelek. They're both sustainability, vanguards, and they both work globally on a host of projects. They also both work with a global destination sustainability movement, or GDSM and the MC focused Meet4 impact group. Good morning, Alexis. Good morning, Jessica.

How are you? Where is it? Where are they? What's it like? You first, Alexis. Good morning, David. Hi, Jessica. First of all, thanks for having me here. Love to be here talking about this subject.

I'm coming in today from Vancouver, B.C. Very rainy day. Have had a lot of sunshine. So, yeah.

Looking forward to this conversation. Super. It's nice to see you. Jess, how are you? Where are you? It looks really nice there right now. Kia ora and hello, lovely to be chatting to you both.

I am in the lovely Hawke's Bay in the north island of New Zealand. This beautiful wine region and it's been very sunny here the last few days. We're coming into summer, so it's really starting to warm up and hopefully we're going to get some wonderful weather over the next few weeks and months. Yeah, but really great to be here and looking forward to sharing a little bit more on sustainability. Okay. It's great to have you both here to talk to you both.

What's kind of funny is we're we're meeting here on Google. Jess, I just saw you in Korea. Alexis... yeah I did. Jessica: You did! And then since then though, I've also seen Alexis in Saint Jacobs, Ontario, so back and forth across the country and have been to Tel Aviv to talk sustainability with CityDNA and with someone you both work with GDSM movement my good friend Guy Bigwood. So it's not like we don't see each other but it's great to see you again. All right, let's jump right into the really high level.

Alexis, you and I work together. I think it's a span of more than ten years. I think first at Inner Vistas, currently your GDS movement at work is with RTO4 organization that I work extensively with in there. You're also working with 2031 with my good friend here, Greg Klaussen. On global issues, give us a 30,000 foot view on what are we talking about today, where are we at in the global sustainability and regenerative movement? As a lot happened, we could talk about tourism, you know, coming to adopt it.

But I think we're past that. We're into we're into the action phase. Tell me what's going on. Yeah, I think that's a big question, David, and I don't think I get the whole 60 minutes of this. So I will try and keep it 30,000 feet, you know, I can I can talk specifically to Canada and North America just because of it's a bit of a different market than globally. You're right. Like we're seeing a lot of adoption and a lot of action taking place in Canada right now.

And I think it's a really, really exciting time. There's a lot of recovery funds. A lot of those recovery funds are being spent on sustainable initiatives, training, education. It's rolling all the way down to the businesses. Who's manufacturing for those businesses? This is some of the programs that are going to come out.

And I think if we talk about the legacy of that, we're at the tip of the iceberg of what tourism can do for sustainability. Talking very high level but, you know, because with that I want to say there's a lot happening and the market's becoming a little bit saturated with what's happening. And I think the one challenge that we have is and we need to look at aligning and kind of coming to a cohesive plan of how to use tourism for sustainability in Canada. That's a great that's a great intro. Let's stick a pin in it right there because we'll come back to the legacy value.

But I think you framed it really well. We're we're it's not even like we're all in the blocks on the track. It's like we've all decided we want to start running and jogging. We're at various stages.

Jessica It's a really interesting opportunity to jump back to all the way back to August for her to Korea halfway around the world. We were both guests in Goyang in South Korea, phenominal place, part of a 20 year strategy to build a destination with millions of people and all the services that go there in and to own a big piece of the Asian meetings, conventions, industry within those two decades, they're halfway into that 3 million square foot convention space. That's phenomenal. They've got a Hyundai Museum that is literally on par or better than anything I've ever seen anywhere in my life. The place is phenomenal, but in the middle of that 20 year strategy, boom, COVID right, you and I are right there. At the end of that is they, I thought, just so graciously handled the fact that they're all completely aware they have to make a shift.

Tell me tell me about tell me about Goyang and tell me what you saw. Yeah, Goyang It was a really fascinating experience for me. And I think just in general, because they've got I mean, we were invited to Goyang Destination Week, which is an entire week that's very much around the destination tourism, sustainability, very centered on dignitaries. And, you know, VIPs and getting people to this event to go and speak about, you know, sustainability around governance, around what the destination can really do to grow and evolve. And of course, we were there to take a few workshops for people not not just from Goyang or Korea.

We and we invited guests from Japan and Thailand. Obviously. Yeah. So yeah, Malaysia that we're attending.

I think probably the big takeaways for me from that week was the rebuild that we're going through now and the acknowledgment of what they're having to do. But equally and I and I see this certainly from a GDS perspective, the gains that they are making in a short space of time, they are investing heavily right now to really ensure that within a couple of years they are going to be rebuilt and they're going to be even better. Yeah, I think I was probably quite surprised at just how quickly they are moving on this and it's exciting and it got me excited. I felt really passionate about sustainability again from this event, from the people that were there, from what they were willing to share, and just the gains they're making so rapidly.

Yeah, so I think that’s my main takeaway. I couldn't agree more with you. You're walking into a situation that from a sort of intellectual perspective, you're walking into a situation, you know, that's an incredible flux. But the whole four day process played out so beautifully.

I mean, there was a full sustainability conference attached at the end of GDS Week for participants. I think you had 60 odd 70 people stay for that. I think you hit on a really important point in there. It started a decade ago with planning. In that planning, even then they were talking very early steps about sustainability. So to see them as they look at the middle of their program and say, we have to pivot, we have to literally make millions of square feet and thousands of hotel rooms serve a dual purpose.

And I've got some observations on that later. But I think it's really important the fact that the reason they included sustainability in that is twofold. One, like everyone else in the world, they woke up and said, Oh my gosh, this has become a central or central issue for for tourism, inbound travelers, traveling, whatever you like, but also they'd already committed to it, which comes back to what you were talking about is how do you how do you how do you make sure that the work you do now has some traction in order to create that legacy value? I couldn't agree with you more. And there's a lot of action, a lot of money floating around and can be critical, can be critical of a lot of money floating around.

But you sure do like to see it applied with some enduring value. And since we're talking about legacy, I mean, of course, we wanted to have legacy value, but let's talk about the gains that can be made as people are coming to the table. We can talk about the early adopters and the leaders, but they are a little bit further ahead and they've got fully developed programs and they've made commitments to five and ten and 25 year plans with outcomes. But as we see this new cohort of people who've woken up to the idea that this must be a central part of their plans and they're in this early phase of gathering information, what has to happen. Yeah, so I think you make a good point about the early adopters and the leaders because they're, from my perspective and from what I see, so we work with 70 plus destinations all over the world. We're about to now be working with 25 destinations in Canada.

At least it's a huge increase from 2019 that with strategy index being any you had said that you know we kind of different people different organizations are different parts of this journey and we need to crawl and then walk and then run. So I've seen these early adopters and these leaders continuing to invest and lead and move forward, which is amazing. And we don't want to leave them out, but we're going to see a lot of place fill those empty slots that they're leaving behind.

And I think that's the exciting part. I think there is a lot of training that's going to be happening across the country to DMO, to supply chains, to restaurants and to businesses and and in all different aspects. So it will be about creating a more sustainable experience for visitors, about including the community, but it's also about how to be a more sustainable, sustainable and better business. Like when you think about things like that, this is just helping the whole city. This is helping businesses be more profitable and be better businesses. So I think I think we'll see a lot of organizations be opened up to the opportunity in front of them and continue in that process.

Is it going to be all of them? No. But we again, we need to crawl, walk, run. Okay. So you are working on a project that I have a high dollar job in Saint Jacobs. I did get to attend the first two sessions of your community engagement piece on that very great, great, cool project by RTO4 in Canada. Interesting thing here so if I said to you, was sustainability well received in that room it would be an understatement.

It was expected as everyone sat down and they were what they were businesses from the business improvement area, they were citizens. There were town council residents. It wasn't like, hey, can we can we sort of introduce the idea of sustainability? It was if it wasn't on the list, somebody would have been making an outcry about it. Right? Well, if you recall, my presentation David. By the time I got up there, everybody had already basically said what I wanted to say in terms of explaining what regenerative tourism was.

They didn't know they were talking about regenerative tourism, but they were talking about all the pieces of community and engagement in restoring and quality of life and everything like that. So yeah, it was a given, absolutely. Okay. So this leads me to my point and I can come back to you with this one. Jessica, one of the assumptions when I talk to Destination Sustainability consultants is, hey, we need the DMO just to connect with all these people and the stakeholder network and bring it my personal knowledge and experiences. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

You're overestimating the level of engagement that the DMO has with its stakeholders, and that's not to cast aspersions on anybody, the entire industry. We've got it. We've got a decent interface, but it's with a very specific set of stakeholders who are used to working with hotels and city, city governments to some extent retailer providers, purveyors of food and experiential. We're talking about an engagement much wider than that in the sustainability sense. That's that's necessary, but not even beginning to sufficient. Is that is that a fair statement, Alexis? Yeah, can I actually share something really cool about the St. Jacobs

project that you probably don't even know yet? Please, now, now, in okay time. So yes, that's part of our program. The GDS movement or GDS Index is about building a network and a foundation of stakeholders outside of the tourism industry. I think I think what you said with non tourism cohorts or something like that. I like to call them, I like to call them the unusual suspects. And usual suspects, which is so necessary for all of this.

And I seen a lot of really good examples of it, but nothing as cool as the one that hopefully is what transpires in St. Jacobs. St. Jacobs is, not even St. Jacobs, but the township, the bigger township that St. Jacobs sits in, it's just started. Their sustainability journey.

So they had just put together their sustainability committee. There's no terms of reference yet. There's no goals, or objectives yet.

And we're coming in and asking them to take on our program, this indexing program and and township, we're going to need your help collecting all of this information because we measure environmental, social supplier and DMO progress. Well, they're a bit stunted because they don't have this information yet and they don't really know how to apply all of this and how it's going to work. And what we're looking at now is they can actually use our tool to create the next step for their sustainability plan for the township, for measuring municipal garbage, recycling air quality and things like that. And that's almost usually our program goes the other way around that to see tourism program actually developing.

The next step for a township sustainability plan is. To hang on. So you're telling me you've had further discussions with with the township and they're excited about that prospect? Yes. It's super cool.

I did not know that. That is that's a new development. Okay. So, Jessica, over to you here we are in Goyang so it's August. Their pivot is about taking this asset that ten years from now would serve as the predominantly meetings business and it would be very, very busy. And its proximity to Seoul in the airports all sorts, you know, it's all linked. And there'll be there'll be high speed traffic.

I mean right now you can cycle from Goyang to downtown Seoul in about 40 minutes. Like it's not so hard, it's really cool. But that has changes because they realize you're going to have to count on a lesser volume of meetings even in the next ten years that they're going to have to really adjust their place. I mean, the place is beautiful. It's hard if you haven't been there to explain what a purpose built city that's been really well thought out.

Looks like it's weird. It's just kind of evolving out of bare space and then all of a sudden this massive world class aquarium next to a convention center beside, you know, what is essentially a Neiman Marcus area of shopping, good hotels, you feel safe the whole time. They're going to have to shift to a much more hybrid model of transient tourism or leisure tourism plus plus meetings. But let's talk about the engagement piece there, because you couldn't build something like this in most countries, the fact that it is a centralized government with a 20 year plan, one of the things I saw again was them waking up to this idea that they have to in their pivot, they have to start, you know, rather than just centralized planning, they have to really start to engage the people in this destination, don't they? They do. And I think, you know, we talk about stakeholder engagement a lot when we're thinking about legacy. And this is an appropriate, time to start chatting legacy.

I mean, Goyang were thinking legacy when they develop this plan and, you know, any legacy planning, you know, is very much around stakeholder engagement. It's around engaging groups and residents and people and indigenous people and groups that we probably not familiar with or comfortable with in our normal sphere of activity. And that they've done this. They've certainly engaged their residents and are taking them on the sustainability journey. And yeah, there's been a lot of thought and I know as we kind of departed Goyang, you know, there was, you know, we're where are they going to go next and what is the next part of the plan? And a bit of a gap that they recognized as they want to develop more tourism products that are really important. Part of that is how do they take the residents on that journey? What are the residents need? And this is some of the things that they're starting to think about.

And I really admire how they've gone about this. It's it's fascinating to see because they're now developing the city is very much based around the needs and desires of the residents in some of this, you know, through the stakeholder engagement, the stakeholder consultation process. Yeah, quite incredible to see. It is and it's it's hard not to feel like you have to underline the fact. That was a further on thing though that that engagement piece probably would have taken, you know, five or six years from now.

So continued literally, I'm going to be continue to build the population, the destination and the assets all at the same time. They can do that. Okay.

So we've talked about the idea that sustainability obviously is the ultimate legacy regeneration sorry. Regeneration is the ultimate legacy in this whole thing. And once you get pulled into the global sustainability movement, it hits you.

Almost everybody's working hard not just to reduce but to regenerate. We never get there. So obviously no argument against the fact that regeneration is the ultimate legacy value.

But as human beings, we need to create small legacies along the way because we have to deal with our populations who need to see progress in their lifetime. It's great and we're going have to think like our first first Nations peers in Canada. We can't just ask all the progress in our lifetime. We have to see the next seven generations, see where they're going to go.

But that said, have started to point some really important short when when I say short term nowadays I'm talking 3 to 5 years. I you know, I just I think one of the worst thing that ever happened in tourism was the 12 month plan. We got stuck in marketing for 40 years because of the 12 month plan. There's no such thing, cannot be so looking three years in the St Jacobs you're looking three years in a Goyang we have to have legacy value wins on sustainability. Alexis, you jumped the gun always ahead of the class and talked about one of the first ones, which is if the township thinks it can create its regeneration model out of the GDS part of the St Jacobs initiative, super cool. That's Legacy Asset one.

You've got to get another couple of things you like to talk about. I did run into Vancouver Island and they're they're social. What are they calling it? For VI? Yeah I ran into a For VI and talking about their Sorry, bookend that program for me. What are they calling it? So they're, they're now a social enterprise. Thank you. Go on. Yes. Yes. Tourism.

They used to be tourism Vancouver Island. They switched into For VI and they're. Yeah. So they now operate as a social enterprise which means that a lot of their funds I don’t know actually, you know how many of the funds, the majority of their funds have to go towards supporting community projects. But funny enough I have a call with meet for impact and then after this call because they're looking for new ways like we've been talking as an industry for so long, what are additional metrics to measure tourism? Right. What does that look like? And they're looking at that and those impact metrics.

So we're having a discussion with them after this. But it was funny. what’s his name, Brian Cant? I think he's the VP of marketing. I don't remember his actual title, but he's been one of the main people making this organizational transition. And I saw him at the tourism Fairs conference in Victoria.

He was speaking and somebody said, So what? What's your elevator pitch when you run into somebody? And he said, These days I prefer to take the stairs. Oh that was excellent. It's not an easy transition. And when you have hotel vendors and you know, your traditional tourism members, it's not an easy transition. We get a lot of support and I'm just repeating Brian's words.

I haven't been a part of this, but they get a lot of support, but they get a lot of criticism and challenges as well. And it's a new way of of managing tourism. And they've taken a much bigger step then obviously any organization that I know of globally to do that.

So but it will be about how they how they measure tourism. differently. Well, and then I did get a chance to hear Anthony Everett speak about it. And it does it reminds me a lot of our friends over at RTO4 of where they took their budget and said none of this is going to advertising from now on. Everything has to have a criteria based legacy value that improves the plight of the citizen of the business and the island, all those three and preferably all three at once. So those experiments have been happening around the world.

They have for sure. And I think that's that's that's one of the shining stars. Jess anybody you want to talk about in particular, where you're seeing sort of great legacy value and it doesn't have to be massive. I think you hit on this, Alexis meet for impact looks at you know incremental gains too.

We can't expect everybody to, you know, to turn green overnight there. There are all sorts of incremental wins. What else, as you're looking at people getting onto the on ramp of this, whether they're in the convention industry, whether they're in the transient industry what are you seeing that you see that's already contributing back or creating those little legacy value wins that will help move this along? Yeah, I think there's some there is some great stuff happening in Asia, Asia-Pacific, and I, I guess I see my observation, you know, working for GDS and, and also for impact and seeing what's happening globally.

Asia-Pacific are probably catching up now and we're starting to see a few destinations really embracing and starting to embed some some not just sustainability, but thinking more about legacy practices and what are they doing. And, and yeah, one of the destinations we're working with at the moment is business event Sydney and we all know that Sydney, Business event Sydney have been in this game for a long time. They've been doing research on legacy and impact for over 12 years and some incredible stuff as a pace beyond tourism benefits came out I think and 2010. And it was a fascinating insight into you know looking outside of of what conferences brings to destinations now 10-12 years on they're actually undertaking a project that's now going to apply some of this research into what they're doing. So it's going to become part of this strategy for attracting conferences to Sydney. So it's yeah, I'm really excited to see where this project goes and I'm sure we'll all see a lot more in the coming years.

But there's also, you know, and I look across the, across the Tasman to Australia, you know, there's already some great initiatives both in Melbourne and Brisbane and I’d certainly love to say some legacy projects both in tourism and in business events in New Zealand. But again, we're probably a little bit further behind our recovery. It's taken is still taking a long time. So I expect we will see New Zealand perhaps embrace this thinking a little bit more once they've got the destination management plans and strategies kind of done and completed. But yeah, I'm also looking forward to seeing a little bit more out of destinations like Singapore and Thailand. There are some wonderful initiatives happening there and I think the next steps, the both of those destinations will be more in the legacy space.

So when I speak. Your listeners, probably don't know David, but Canada is doing a big study on 16 events, future and past as well, international conventions, studying the legacy of those events over the next three years. So now you're doing that with which hat. Which of your many hats.

That one’s with the Need for Impact hat. Yeah, super cool stuff. And we will do a whole show on Need for Impact. I do want to get to that for sure. I'm coming back though to let's let's talk about NZ for a second because one of the things that I personally herald and champion is this I do believe as destinations and you've heard me say it many times and it gets me in trouble and other people respected like it, which is we need to be better at engaging with our communities. We're just getting started and that's okay because we are getting started and we should have been getting started ten years ago, but we're not.

We're getting started now. And I do believe if COVID hadn't happened, we'd still be behind the curve on that one. But there are some great working destinations around the world who are saying, okay, we're going to have a significant role in sustainability. But you know what? We've got to get a lot better at having getting back to that wider, deeper pool of unusual suspects.

And I'm really excited with what Queenstown NZ is doing because their approach to sustainability is we can play a significant role here, but credibility is the issue here. So I see organizations like them zeroing in on stakeholder engagement, doing innovative programs, whether it's digital hygiene programs with stakeholders. But most places I see are changing that narrative. I do want to I want to bring this up, though. It's it's uncomfortable to change that narrative. Alexis, you've been in a room the first time he ripped the Band-Aid off.

What do we really think about tourism and why is it good for this town? It can be a bit of a brushfire, can't it? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that that's why we're working on changing that narrative, right? Like what if those headlines were to change from what they were before about Barcelona and Venice and that and it was more tourism's the driver for for community success in developing these communities and maybe dreaming. I don't know. I think we'll get there someday, you know.

But but but but you're being so polite around the elephant in the room, which is the first time you sit down with the residents and you ask a self-selecting sample, because let's face the people who walk through the door the first time, you know, you beat the bushes, you can really work. But they're the self-selecting sample who had something to say and haven't been heard. And often it's a very it's a message that basically totally reaffirms the importance of regeneration and sustainability, but generally starts with how bad everything is, doesn't it? Absolutely. We've been in that situation recently, David, maybe speaking to a specific situation, but it is, yeah.

And it's, you know, residency. Absolutely. And part of that is because like you just said, we haven't done a good job of engaging residents and communities. And that's how we got to this point.

I think our whole industry is getting better. I think I think everybody wants to get better at that. And it's definitely we're all in movement for it.

But that doesn't mean that residents and communities understand that or believe. Right? and we are working on it. But I couldn't agree with you more. And in fact, one of my observations of the team working on that was, hey, this is really uncomfortable. Get used to it.

We're going to have to figure out how to mitigate this kind of thing, because it can take over a meeting, it can become really negative, but bottom lines, everybody's scared, fed up, wondering what happens next as as we all are if we put ourselves in those situations. They're hard conversations. It's like the reconciliation conversation here in Canada. You've got to start you've got to suffer that that sort of, you know, wow. Yeah. If everything were perfect, we wouldn't be having a big rethink on all of these things.

It's not. It's true. We need those people. We need those opinions, and we need that confrontation to really develop the proper solutions. Yeah, I totally agree. Never, never easy. But again, I'm always encouraged.

I look around the world and I usually say, you know, the future is here. It's happening in pockets. More and more. The future is engaged communities that are finding their voice, that are that are working through the difficult starting points of this and really engaging and grabbing sustainability and running with it. I did get a chance to meet Jeremy Smith.

Right. He's he's the writer who declared at one point tourism had a sustainability emergency. Fantastic guy. He he shares the idea, though, that with all this money floating around for rebuild and and recovery, that it's really important that when we gravitate towards this, we we share and educate people because it's not a box to be ticked is it Jessica? We've we've seen we've seen spreadsheets and it starts out sometimes in people's minds as a box to be ticked. How do we mitigate that?

How do we make sure it's enduring? Yeah, I think we have to be authentic in our approach. And I speak to out here on New Zealand here a really big part of what's the shift that's happening in tourism is widening that net in terms of who the stakeholders are that we are engaging and you know, engaging with our local Indigenous communities a lot more so our iwi and our happu which also changing the narrative a little bit, not just from this, this word that we use around consulting Indigenous people and we actually need to collaborate. And I say this because our Indigenous people are really, really big. Part of what we do here are very much around collaboration and they've been delivering regenerative practices for centuries. And so we have a responsibility not just to consult, we need to be collaborating with them and all parts of our community. And it's fascinating that you brought up Queenstown and again, this might be a bit of a controversial thing to say, but you know, Queenstown has been the star of our tourism products in many, many years and this is something that's been created through the way that New Zealand has been marketed internationally for years and so they perhaps have a greater responsibility to do more in the sustainability space and to do more to engage their residents.

And it's not necessarily harmonious down there for tourism. Queenstown is a wonderful tourism destination, there's no doubt about that. But equally they have some significant challenges around engaging their residents and residents who became deeply unhappy about the role that tourism played. And so yeah, they're going to have to cast the net really wide they stakeholder engagement plan is going to have to continue to be enormous and continue to keep evolving. Well your word is have to and I totally agree.

And I think working with that, I can see that for sure. The pressures of success and Barcelona is a great example. I mean, we can look at Barcelona, we can look at Queenstown, we can look at any of these places that feel it's I mean, the one that comes up all the time is also Sedona, right? I mean, you have this place that represents some of the most authentic and important assets that need to be generate regenerated and sustained. And there's a lot of good work going on, but there's a lot of angst and there's a lot of angst in Barcelona. And we're talking at the level of threats against people who work in the industry because people are fed up. But I totally agree.

I mean, but again, I think some of these places that feel this incredible pressure, you're right, they're going to step up and do the best work because they're incredible destinations. I you know, you think of the little town that's about to be taken over by a city. And that's kind of what you're working on in St. Jacobs is a town attached to a city that has to plumb its future. I've just moved to another small community in Canada. That's the same it's it's, you know, engaged now or in the future just be run by development right now. Absolutely.

All right. So we're going round this out. We're coming into it. We're coming into our close time here. Final thoughts. There's a lot going on in the areas of sustainability and regeneration.

A lot of it has to do with awareness. Sustainability, of course, is taking on mantle. It's social, it's economic and environmental, and which is a really positive shift during COVID.

Most people are lining up to get started. I have one adage that I use in every industry I've ever worked in, from rock and roll to television to tourism. And it's this If you cannot find either the revenue or the expense on your accounting chart of accounts, then how do you buy it? And one of the things I don't see is accounting chart of accounts that include sustainability officers or committed engagement officers, and a real push here towards the idea we must change the thing we spend our money on.

To do that, we need to talk to our boards because we literally have to change our charter charter of accounts. That's my pitch for, hey, if you needed one tip from today. So what's your tip, Alexis? Can I just add that before I get to make it quickly? Give, give. One of the things I am seeing. And it's I guess it is coming from the leaders because it's people that were part of organizations that were part of the GDS Index before COVID.

Now what I'm seeing is when they give outreach to us, it's with new people from their team, new members of their team that are in indigenous engagement or community engagement or sustainability experts with within MBAs in sustainability. These organizations are growing their sustainability teams. And maybe that is my final point like this is these organizations are now looking at different KPIs slowly, but how do we get there? And it's all coming from sustainability strategies in community development strategies and these next steps realizing that they need the what's what's the word that you use David for the. Unusual suspects. Yes. And unusual suspects.

For round out the team and they get there and I'm so excited every time one of my destinations I'm sad to lose my original DMO contact, but to see these new roles come in place, that's what we need. We need to invest in it and create those teams and that expertize and that growth. Excellent observation, Jessica.

Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with you on that. I think more of a shift needs to happen and really seeking out, you know, expertize from outside sectors that tourism might not, as you know, typically thought about. I guess the one thing I would like to see a lot more of here, certainly in the Asia-Pacific region and New Zealand is I'd love to see our KPIs expanded beyond just economic input because let's be honest, they mean nothing to residents, they just hold no value.

And I still see it pumped out in coms. I still see it pushed out. And the way that we talk about tourism and events and if I'm just a resident of a city or a town and I see that published, it means nothing to me. I want to know how tourism is making a difference to communities. And the only way that we're going to start, you know, being able to communicate this better is if we look at KPIs just beyond the economics. We have to look at the environment, we have to look at social, cultural innovation as a whole range of KPIs.

They've got to be considering. Well, then you then you need to talk more to Alexis because she is working on a project where one of the outputs from one of the key consulting groups is we need to have KPIs that understand destination strengths, destination viability, community engagement and those those will not be the kind of, you know, pie chart graph numbers we're used to. Some of them will have qualitative aspects.

Some of them will be related to things like NPS, but they're going to have to be different. So one of the charges I know the RTO4 is made to the consultants is, hey, we need different KPIs so that we can do this in the next town and have a framework for Yeah. Absolutely. It's super to see you both. It's always fun to speak to you both. Where are you off to next? Jess Probably back to Sydney before the end of the year to carry on this work on this project.

But yeah, I mean in up to Europe in January, is my next trip. Alexis? I'm actually off to visit Rapid City. Yeah, in South Dakota we're doing project.

There very similar looking, they're developing. They have new executive in place developing a new tourism strategy and it's based on sustainability and regeneration. So I'm really excited to go see what we can do there. All right. Good travel coming up.

That's that's cool. I'm off to Minnesota to advocacy where sustainability a front and center seat because the two now are obviously inextricably linked. Alexis, will I see you in Ottawa for Kayak? Yes, that's my next trip. Not that it's not exciting, but I will see you in Ottawa. For the last two years.

Ottawa has been kind of exciting at times through. Yeah, we're I'm speaking on with a bunch of other sustainability consultants as well. We'll be doing a panel 7 minutes each.

So come watch us Is meet? Is meet for impact there as well? No, they're not attending the conference. Okay. So long and short. And if we wait around in the airport for an hour or two, we'll see each other at some point.

All of us. Absolutely. All right, guys, it's been really great. Thank you. Let's follow up. I do I do want to do I do want to do a separate piece on meet for impact.

So I think some of the specific legacy stuff happening at the convention level that's sorry at NC level is a real template in Harbinger for good stuff. It's very measurable, it's very calculable, it's tangible. And I think I think we have to look at that from the transient side start to see that. And Alexis, I think it'll help influence your thinking on this massive project of measuring sustainability on a river that I've heard you've taken on Perfect. All right. Take care, guys.


2022-11-13 22:49

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