With sustainable tourism fast climbing the travel and tourism agenda, we’re discussing the topic with travel industry leaders and change makers on how they think we can #Traveltochangetheworld.
In the first of our ongoing ‘Travel to change the world’ interviews, David Hosking of The Travel Corporation shares his thoughts and ideas on how we can all do our bit to sustain the industry and leave a legacy of goodness.
What was it that inspired you to join the travel industry?
I joined the travel industry in 1975. I’m a Kiwi and liked living on the road so I started out as a driver for Contiki and just loved the travelling – I’ve stayed a gypsy ever since.
What concerns you about the industry today in terms of its long-term viability?
Of course there are certain geopolitical events and situations where the industry needs to adapt and change but I think travel’s viability and long-term future is fine.
People have a very strong desire to travel but they don’t have to travel.
We’re in the want business, not the need business. If you’ve got a breadth of products in different parts of the world and are able to offer the travelling public options that interest them, that have an environmental footprint and sustainability around them, all those aspects, then they will travel.
Do you think travel can change the world?
The short answer is yes – I don’t think it can, I think it does and it has.
Travel can be disruptive so I think it needs to be done sensitively and I think it does needs to be done (and increasingly is) in consultation with the countries you are travelling through. But the economic benefits are significant so long as they’re widespread.
I absolutely believe that travel can be a force for good and never more so that in the world we see today with the various polarising events that are going on.
Those who have travelled, and I’m a perfect example, come home with a different view.
There’s a difference between someone taking a holiday and someone really travelling. For example, you can go for a holiday to a short term destination like the Gold Coast or New Zealand. But people who like to travel like to experience other cultures and societies come back different, without a doubt.
So it’s incumbent on us to increasingly tie into our offerings the opportunity to be more engaged in the countries we visit. Travel is absolutely a force for good and for change but it needs to be sustainable, needs to understand the environment and it needs to be sensitive to the cultures of the countries it travels to.
Are you seeing positive change happening in the industry that you really admire?
People are increasingly looking at travel and tying it to either a cause, a purpose or voluntourism. They get involved in things now and think about life differently – such as the way they want to travel, the food they want to eat and how they impact the world through travel. It’s definitely changing.
If you go back 30 years in this country and look at the restaurants, it’s totally different now. That’s because the people see things overseas and they bring them back here.
The coffee in Australia is another example – go back 30 years and it was hard to get a good coffee in Australia but now it’s hard to get a bad one. It’s about improving your own country by taking the good that you see overseas.
Its impact and the benefits are significant. If you think about how Australia is today, it’s not just because of immigration but because of how people travel.
Some people come to back to Australia, their home country, with great ideas that they’ve seen work overseas. It changes the way they think when they’re back home and that’s a good thing.
What projects is TTC undertaking in this space?
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