Founders Katie and Mel are just wrapping up their time in Texas – it’s worth mentioning this is our first time seeing one another face to face in nearly 3 years! – after an exciting week attending the World Travel and Tourism (WTTC) Global Summit, representing Kinyei (Kinyei Cafe and Soksabike) as a finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
The WTTC Summit, held in Dallas this year, covered two full days of speakers, panels, presentations, and networking with an all star group of influential players in global tourism including major hoteliers, airlines, tour service providers as well as government leaders, economists and academics.
While the WTTC Summit mostly represented the interests of these major tourism players, the Tourism for Tomorrow finalists represented lean, fresh and innovative approaches to tourism and sustainability. Kinyei was acknowledged in the top three sustainable tourism organizations for doing outstanding work with people and communities amongst a group of 15 finalists representing 14 countries in the 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards supported by AIG.
Though Kinyei didn’t walk away with the award, we were thrilled to be among such impressive company – Jus’ Sail, a St. Lucia based vocational training operator, and Youth Career Initiative (YCI), a UK based hotel and hospitality training partnership both do excellent work towards improving youth employment outcomes around the globe. Have a read about YCI, the winners in the category here.
It was a jam packed few days that we could go on for hours about but instead we’ve tried to distill a few key insights we walked away with for you here.
- Leadership and innovation coming from the little guys – it seems the movers and shakers of new ideas were all the small operators, largely those of us involved in the Tourism for Tomorrow awards. It strikes us how important it is for us to have strong linkages between the big guys and the emerging players for the industry and for the future of the planet. We shared a bus ride with the CEO of Lonely Planet, dined at a table with the former CEO of Disney, and current CEO of a major international cruise liner, but the story we told about the Kinyei and Soskabike teams was always the biggest crowd pleaser.
- Something that shone brightly in the Tourism for Tomorrow symposium for us was the collective appreciation and respect for the concepts of tourism that support pride of place, dignity in work, empathy and peace (check out the work of Steve Killelea)
- We met our tribe at the Tourism for Tomorrow awards (we spoke the same language and felt part of a broader community) – they are exciting and operating in amazing locations and we want to visit them all! We already know that two of the sailing initiatives will be doing a staff exchange, and we’ve got our own collaborations cooking…so stay tuned!
So, what’s next?