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“There’s a danger in agents selling capacity,” says G Adventures founder

When agents become less about selling destinations and experiences and more about selling capacity and amenities, the repercussions for the travel industry will extend beyond merely failing to attract new talent to its ranks, G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip tells Karryon. 

When agents become less about selling destinations and experiences and more about selling capacity and amenities, the repercussions for the travel industry will extend beyond merely failing to attract new talent to its ranks, G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip tells Karryon. 

To attract young people to the industry, salary isn’t the only thing we need to consider, Poon Tip says. Passion and purpose are key drivers of the next generation of both travellers and travel agents and the industry needs to answer both. 

“The travel industry has always attracted people because of their passion for travel, their passion to see the world, and their passion to be able to sell what they’re passionate about. 

“But when you actually get in the job, and you find that you’re just selling deals and you’re just selling capacity then it’s no longer fun. How can you stay passionate about that? You’re just selling stuff.” 

“It takes away from that passion and purpose of work. And if you work in an industry that’s notoriously known to be lower in pay, but you’ve made that sacrifice because you’re passionate about your work, what happens when you lose that passion?” 

According to Poon Tip, the industry is facing “a serious business problem”, with many in the travel industry promising their shareholders infinite growth, when we only have a finite amount of places we can go. 

“So these two things are on a collision course. This is why we have overtourism, why we get pushback from the locals against mass tourist invasions because there’s a constant push for bigger and bigger. The business model doesn’t work and it will backfire.”

We need to bring destinations back

“We’re born explorers,” Poon Tip says, “but somewhere along the line, society makes us tourists such that we’re no longer participating in culture. Instead, culture becomes this consumable entertainment.” 

Poon Tip says people are posting pictures of everything they’re eating, but they’re no longer posting pictures of their destinations because the destination is irrelevant to them. It’s not why they booked that trip.

“That’s a dangerous place for us to be in the travel industry if people no longer want to travel, if the destination doesn’t matter, and you’re just booking based on amenities.”

Bruce Poon Tip

The sometimes controversial Poon Tip admits that there is a place and a customer for that type of travel but calls on agents to be equipped for when their clients want to do something different.

“We work bloody hard in the wired, western world. And sometimes we just want to not think, and we just want to lie on the beach and drink as much as we want. I don’t have a single problem with that. 

“But, travel is a privilege and oftentimes associated with status. You went on a cruise, I’ll go on a bigger one. But at some point, do you want something different? 

The true power of travel lies in the exploration, the immersion, and the connection with destinations and cultures. It’s about rediscovering that innate curiosity within us, reclaiming our status as explorers rather than mere consumers of packaged experiences. When we lose sight of this, when we reduce travel to a transaction of amenities, we diminish its transformative power. 

“Agents hold the key to unlocking these transformative journeys, to rekindling the passion and purpose that drew them to this industry in the first place. When they use that key, they not only ensure the sustainability of our industry but also preserve the essence of travel for generations to come.”