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“I’m a big supporter of cancel culture”: Bruce Poon Tip on the power of conscious consumers

Not one to shy away from controversy (if it serves a purpose), the founder of G Adventures admits that he's "all up in" cancel culture. But he's not talking about that quick jump to cancel people (often online) based on presumptions and a close-up of an eyebrow (that's a Bieber reference for those not up on the latest insta transgressors). Bruce Poon Tip means business. 

Not one to shy away from controversy (if it serves a purpose), the founder of G Adventures admits that he’s “all up in” cancel culture. But he’s not talking about that quick jump to cancel people (often online) based on presumptions and a close-up of an eyebrow (that’s a Bieber reference for those not up on the latest insta transgressors). Bruce Poon Tip means business. 

“The basis of democracy is the ability to protest, right? What better way to protest than with how you spend your money being a conscious consumer,” Bruce asks.

“I’m a big supporter of consumers uniting to use their spending power to create change,” he tells Karryon.

A man sanctioned by Russia, Bruce is renowned and sometimes criticised for speaking his mind. He often reminds me of a four-year-old. And I say this with great respect. He is hungry for the next thing, feeling for the rules and wondering why they’re followed. He is always curious and simply and inappropriately unafraid.

Some think him strange or eccentric. And maybe being on the outskirts of normal has given him a licence to speak up when the normal isn’t good. 

Because the normal wasn’t great

It’s three years to the day that Bruce sent home G Adventures’ staff for what they thought would be two weeks. The company is still fully remote and operating with the challenges and nimbleness of a 30-year-old start-up.

The ability to be able to rethink and rebuild is exciting for Bruce. 

“It hard to change the wheels of a moving car,” he says. 

Prior to the pandemic, we were hearing instances of locals protesting about overtourism. In Europe, flight shaming was on the rise. This was when things were ‘normal’.

“I think there’s this push to get back to normal and my message from the very beginning was normal wasn’t great. Tourism wasn’t great before the pandemic. So why are we fighting to get back to normal? 

“Let’s take the opportunity to reevaluate and do everything better.”

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The pandemic’s gift to the travel industry

Nobody is denying the devastation (both measured and untold) the pandemic has caused. But Bruce has always spoken of the opportunity it has afforded us.

When agents were working for nothing, his message was one of optimism. 

“You’ll have more people wanting to travel, the same amount of travel product to sell and less people selling,” he said a year into the pandemic.

Now, with travel set to be a trillion-dollar industry and simultaneously the largest source of revenue for many of the world’s poorest countries, conscious consumers have the power to change the world.

“If there is one thing we should learn from this pandemic, it is that we all share the same planet, and the better we understand each other the better we’ll appreciate who we are and where we came from,” he wrote in his instabook, Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still

“The world can’t sneak up on you if you’re there seeing it, feeling it, tasting it, talking about it. Sure, travellers may miss the occasional subtlety that living in a place can give you, but we get the big stuff. 

“Picking up on subtleties makes you sophisticated, and you can start to get a hold of them after a week or two with the right local guides and introductions, but it’s the big stuff that keeps the world in check, keeps it from splintering off into jagged little schisms. Travel is a great unifier.

“That’s why your decision to travel is important. We cannot let fear spread faster than coronavirus. With great challenge always comes great opportunity for those who choose to rise and meet it.”

THE LAST TOURIST: Streaming in Australia from March 21, 2023

After launching in the U.S. and Canada late last year, G Adventures Award-winning travel documentary, The Last Tourist will finally be available to stream in Australia from March 21, 2023.

The new documentary will be launched on multiple streaming platforms from March 21, 2023, and is now available for pre-order on Apple. Read all about it here.

For more, head to www.thelasttouristfilm.com