Author of Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business Bruce Poon Tip has also formed one of the largest sustainable tourism companies in the world. His idea of sustainable tourism is to bring social benefits to the society by hiring street children as guides for foreign tourists and then paying them so that they can sustain themselves as well as complete their education. The writer-entrepreneur, who also supports women's cooperative societies by offering foreign travellers food from their eateries, spoke to dna's Shahkar Abidi. Excerpts:
You claim to bring social development through your tourism business venture. How do you achieve that?
We believe that social changes can be brought through development of adventure and sustainable tourism in this country. For example, we have been trying to help hundreds of street children fund their own studies and livelihood by acting as guides to the tourists we bring to them. Similarly, women cooperative societies, too, get help when we take our tourist groups to them instead of any hotel or restaurant. In short, it's combining the pleasure of travel with a sense of responsibility.
Are Indian travellers ready for adventure or sustainable tourism?
India is a huge market for adventure and sustainable tourism, with about 10% of outbound tourists opting for it. They get a chance to stay with the locals in foreign countries and enjoy their cuisines and culture at a fraction of the cost they would have otherwise incurred. Today's youth wish to leave behind their inhibitions and explore the world while doing something for the environment and future generations.
What are the choices available to travellers as far as satiating their passion for travel is concerned?
Travellers can enjoy living with the locals, going on walking tours, marine tours, expedition cruise, family tours, etc. They get to move around in groups with people from different nationalities, which develops a healthy outlook in one's attitude towards the way s/he perceives the world.
Which are the destinations Indian travellers now want to explore?
Iran is one country which is in great demand, after being perceived negatively for years. Burma and Colombia, due to their political change of fortunes, are two other places which were earlier not in demand but are much sought-after now.