JWU News

Can Tourism Be a Source of Good? This Travel Visionary Thinks So.

Bruce Poon Tip receiving honorary certificate from Dean Paul McVety

12/14/15 | Bruce Poon Tip, founder and CEO of G Adventures, delivered an inspiring speech to a packed Schneider Auditorium on Thursday before being recognized as the School of Hospitality's 57th Distiguished Visiting Professor.

Poon Tip, an advocate of sustainable tourism and social entrepreneurship, founded G Adventures in 1990, when he was just 22 years old. He refers to this time period as the “golden age of traditional tourism.” The cruise industry was growing, as was the all-inclusive resort. Companies were doing everything they could to provide consumers with all the comforts of home, giving them no reason to break out of their comfort zone and explore the local culture around them.

At G Adventures, Poon Tip explained, the goal was not only to fully immerse travelers in the culture of the areas they visit, but to have a positive impact on the local economy. “Out of every $100 spent, only $5 remains in the local economy,” he said. “We need to care as an industry. We need to view tourism as a vehicle for social and economic change. Tourism can transform lives. Tourism can be a source of good.”

Bruce Poon Tip speaking to a packed Schneider Auditorium

It's this belief that led Poon Tip to establish the Planeterra Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to make tourism sustainable while minimizing impacts on the environment, respecting the local people and cultures, and offering economic benefits to local businesses and communities.

Planeterra works with G Adventures to determine the best project locations and communities in need along a given travel itinerary to ensure the projects are benefitting people who have often lacked opportunity. Projects Poon Tip outlined during his presentation included Women on Wheels in New Delhi, India and the Women’s Weaving Co-op in Sacred Valley, Peru.

“I’ll leave you with one final thought,” Poon Tip said, wrapping up his presentation. “There is no faster path to peace than seeing other cultures and how people live. Travel can be the vehicle to achieve that.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, Chauncey Thompson-Quartey, pictured below with Poon Tip and Dean McVety, was presented with a Distinguished Visiting Professor scholarship in Poon Tip’s honor. A small group of Tourism students were also invited to attend a private luncheon with Poon Tip prior to his speech.

Bruce Poon Tip and Dean Paul McVety present honory DVP scholarship to Chauncey Thompson-Quartey

Distinguished Visiting Professor Scholarship winner Chauncey Thompson-Quartey

Bruce Poon Tip at a luncheon with tourism students prior to his presentation

Topics: Providence Travel & Tourism