“There’s a travel vibe?” you ask. “Of course, there is” we say. How do we know this? Because we spend every week on RISE asking our viewers and our guests what’s happening in our Travel Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) Industry and asking how you’re all feeling about various topics. So – what we can tell you is that the majority of people want to get out there!


Monday’s episode was called Gen-Z: Breaking Free! Click the link below to hear what our guests Adam Armstrong, CEO of Contiki Holidays and Eduardo Santander, CEO & Executive Director of the European Travel Commission & Chairman of the European Tourism Manifesto had to say about this interesting sector of the market, but first –  for fun we’ll have a look at the traveller vibe you most identify with, whether you’re Gen-Z or a Baby Boomer!


In our second poll, we asked our viewers, apart from the universal reason of wanting to reconnect with loved ones, “Why are you aching to travel again?” The majority of you – 35% said it was “to feel alive and some sense of normality again!




We think many who gave this answer would identify with this travel vibe! Some call it ‘revenge travel’ – a term that emerged early on in the pandemic. RISE (particularly Anita) is not really a fan of the ‘revenge’ term. But we get the point. Whether it’s to take revenge on the pandemic and reclaim our lives, our plans, our holiday or personal development dreams, we are bursting with pent-up desire to get out there again and get on with our lives. We guess that many of our 18-35 year old viewers –  in this context referred to as “generation desperate” will also fall into this category. Grad trip, gap years, work experience, cultural exchanges, and honeymoons – these are all important life-stage experiences that have been missed or deferred, and what better way to prove that we’re undefeated and undeterred by this experience than to just get on with it? Hopefully the majority will do so safely and with due regard to the protocols so that we can all finally move out of lockdowns and restrictions! Demian’s video of Spring Break in Miami and the resulting state of emergency are a good example of how revenge travel can go wrong!



This travel vibe may sound more matter of fact, and a little less exciting than exacting revenge, but many of us, from all the age demographics identify with it. We may not be desperate to travel at any cost, but we’d dearly love to be able to move about safely and  practically – to resume our business travel and to get back to taking family gatherings and special occasions for granted. We’d like to see our communities and businesses revived and have tourists back at our destinations.




Paradoxically, those of us who may have fallen into this travel vibe, partly due to our life-stage demographic, and the resulting greater threat to health, are now the ones who’ll be front of the line when it comes to planning and booking our getaways! Adam referenced the fact that the generation most desperate to travel are at the back of the queue, and the older generation who’ve had earlier access to the vaccine are the ones who’ll be out there fastest! That’s not to say we can’t be cautious across all generations and demographics! Our caution may also be around protecting others, or fear of restrictions. Anita mentioned “the risk of travel is no longer the disease – the risk of travel is lockdowns, quarantines, regulations changing, and borders closing.” The challenge for us cautious travellers is that like everyone else, but to a greater degree, we’d love a little predictability. Eduardo referenced the challenge our industry faces in providing the predictability desired by tourists, stating that tourism is based on predictable facts, and we aren’t currently able to make many predictions!



We’re not saying you can only identify with one vibe! We’ve spoken consistently over the past year of the momentum gained towards sustainable and mindful travel. We don’t like to speak too much about trends during a time when nothing about travel is predictable, but there are strong indications that across all demographics, mindful and conscious travel is an important factor in our travel decisions. So, there’s a strong likelihood, especially if you’re a “youth traveller,” that you may be plotting your revenge on this pandemic, planning your escape, all whilst choosing to leave the gentlest footprint possible! We can be great multitaskers too!




3% of our viewers in Poll 2 stated you “have no desire to travel right now.” Perhaps it’s the lack of predictability or the concern around the way others may behave, but for some, if we’re fortunate enough to have loved ones close by – the impetus just isn’t there right now. A holiday season, safely ensconced at home with loved ones, enjoying our local community and what it has to offer, or beginning to rebuild and reclaim other aspects of our lives and liberty stolen by this pandemic is just the right vibe for some of us!

Whatever your travel vibe, and whenever you feel ready to make your break for the freedom it offers, we can be secure in the knowledge, as Eduardo pointed out, that travel will always prevail. He also highlighted that ‘the purpose of travel is changing massively.’ Change may be daunting in its unpredictability but it’s also exciting – and in the case of our  TT&H industry, many of the changes we’re seeing indicate progress in securing the survival of our industry, our destinations, and our natural resources. Whilst acknowledging our losses, we do also like to keep an eye on the positives that have come out of this pandemic!


Next on RISE we’ll be “Making a Meal of It” and chatting about food innovation and trends with fabulous guests Barb Stuckey, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Mattson, and Alex Hardy, Regional Director, Consumer and Market Intelligence at General Mills. Join us. Same time and place!


Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 






It’s been a year! A whole long, messy year since international borders closed and travelers dashed back home – fearful of the COVID19 storm in the midst of which we’ve found ourselves. On March 11th the WHO reminded us that it was one year ago that a global pandemic was declared. Since then we have scurried to the relative safety and shelter of our homes. We settled in to ride it out, and awaited news of what exactly we were dealing with, and how long it would take to ‘blow over.’ We were grounded – literally locked in. 


So often we want what we can’t have – but this time was different. At first many of us didn’t have any desire to travel. Whether it was fear, or a sense of responsibility to adhere to safety protocols, to protect others, and our medical infrastructures – most of us were willing to give up travel for the greater good. When we felt a little more confident, we travelled locally, more often than not only to see loved ones. We travelled with a strong sense of purpose – to connect with those sorely missed rather than for fun. Our motivations changed – the meaning of our travel changed – which begs the question: has this past year cost us the freedom to think of travel as just being fun?




A year in, we can look at where we are now, in relation to where we were then, and assess the value that travel holds for us – and also how the values of travel have changed!




Travel has always been about adventure, about exploration, and personal growth. From the earliest explorers who discovered continents, to family holidays booked in far-flung destinations where we discover new sights, flavours, people, cultures and ways of life; Travel has always had at its heart an innate spirit of adventure, awareness of other ways of being, and of the importance of understanding more than just our own perspectives!




“Getting away from it all.” It’s more than an expression. When we travel, even slightly outside our usual environment, it brings a sense of liberation. A change of scene creates a sense of escape from our everyday reality. The change in perspective  frees us from feeling trapped in the sameness of our everyday lives. Dr Andrea Robinson PHD says, in her APA article 4 Reasons To Take a Vacation that “Vacations can also improve our mental health by reducing depression and anxiety.” At RISE, we’d go so far as to call it a form of therapy!  




Students take grad trips and gap years to celebrate the end of education and the beginning of adulthood, as well as to make a difference and discover themselves whilst doing some good and adding value to others. Newly-weds honeymoon, expectant parents go on babymoons, and empty nesters and retirees go on extended holidays and cruises to celebrate their re-discovered freedom from responsibility. All these holidays have traditionally been ways to mark and celebrate happy transitions and periods of personal growth and development. Has this changed? We hope not!




We gave this an exclamation point because it’s such an important and all-encompassing reason! It probably shouldn’t be in a category of it’s own because it’s a thread that runs through all the reasons for traveling. We travel to connect with people and places for reasons of business and for leisure. What has changed in the past year – and this has been mentioned repeatedly through the 3 seasons of RISE – is the shift in the purpose of travel. People have cited, and it seems in the short term at least, will continue to cite connecting with loved ones as their primary motivation to travel. This doesn’t mean that people will only travel to see loved ones. But current and short-term future holiday plans are focused more on family and friendship bubbles traveling together for the purpose of meaningful reconnection as well as all the reasons we’ve already discussed.




This is where discussing the value and values of travel becomes real! For individuals and organisations, for many of you, our RISE viewers included, for business sectors, local communities and entire destinations across the globe, travel determines our very livelihood. Having the world ‘grounded” and unable to travel has threatened the very survival of many. 


In last Monday’s episode of RISE, our brilliant guests Kelly Craighead of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Bernhard Stacher – VP Global Hotel Operations MSC Cruises discussed the interdependence between tourism and destinations. With reference to the cruise industry, our RISE panelists highlighted the importance of a balanced relationship between tourism partners. Demian Hodari referenced the dependence of many tropical island destinations on tourism in his Headlines, sharing that the majority of tropical island countries depend on tourism for more than 50% of their GDP. Whilst prior to the pandemic, many destination islands expressed concern over tourist overcrowding related to cruises, Bernhard feels that post pandemic, there is now an elevated appreciation from destinations for the tourist revenue brought by cruises. 




Anita feels “one of the blessings of this time is that it’s changed the value and values of tourism.” This perspective is clearly shared by many. It came up in SEASON 3 EPISODE 1 when both Robin Tauck and Adrian Gardiner spoke of the importance of focusing on the impact of tourism on destinations, as well as the rising importance of and desire for an emphasis on conscious and sustainable tourism among travelers. People want to do better and be better! Organisations such as Tourism Cares have been harnessing the “transformative power of travel” for 20 years. Their belief is that “while each of us alone can make a small difference, businesses bound together in purpose and action can literally change the world.” 

This pandemic has been a blight on the world and on our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (TT&H) industry in particular – but what a gift it has given us in creating a renewed appreciation for what we’re missing, and propelling the growing momentum of desire for change, for positive impact and a greater personal and social accountability to others.

As we cruise into the next normal, with restrictions easing, and borders re-opening, most of us will be mindful of our safety bubbles and the safety of those around us.  We have it on reliable authority from our guests this week that “cruise bubbles” are a great way to go! Kelly says cruising is “a terrific experience which has been enhanced in terms of safety and service because of the increased staff to customer ratio.” Also, safely planning your vacation, whether it’s a cruise, hotel or holiday is helping others by stimulating our industry, and the economy of the surrounding community! What a great way to feel you’re making a difference – we know – it’s not exactly altruistic, but you are helping, it’s true!

Today we have a very special additional RISE episode which will be part of the Young Hoteliers Summit! TOMORROWS’ TRAVEL: TAKE IT FROM THE TOP! features Hon. Minister Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife for Kenya and Dr Hannah Messerli, Senior Private Sector Specialist, Markets and Technology from The World Bank. They’ll be talking more about the impact of travel on destinations. This is an especially important topic for our young TT&H professionals of the future! 

If you’re in the 18 – 30 age bracket, you’ll enjoy further discussion around planning your holiday escape in our next, usual RISE slot the following Monday – 29th March in our GEN-Z: BREAKING FREE! episode. No prize for guessing what that one’s about! 

In the meantime, go and plan your next holiday! Go on… you know you want to! 


Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE. 







Confession time! This title was boldly and unapologetically swiped from the lips of Anita Mendiratta. Our last episode of RISE was about the business of personal transformation. As Anita and Demian examined the idea of personal transformation – assisted in their enquiry by our brilliant (and literally transformative) guests Dr Clare Neser and Mia Kyricos – it became clear that the most important question we should ask ourselves is “why?” Apart from prompting Anita’s witty one–liner used as our title today, this question also presented itself as the obvious line of investigation for RISE – AND SHINE this week!

When we asked you, our viewers “what have you focused most on improving in the past year?” the majority, 31% of you answered “my health and fitness,” followed by 28% who said your skillset. Mia was unsurprised by this result, stating that “at times of change, people look for transformation.” What was a surprise was that no one, not one viewer, stated that they were focusing on their appearance!


What is Transformation?


It’s defined by the Oxford English dictionary as “A marked change in form, nature, or appearance.” And when asked by Demian how they defined it, Mia said that for her it’s about “transforming to the next best version of yourself.” Clare agreed, observing that after being “cocooned in restrictions” people are then “unleashing their potential and making the most of themselves.”





We’ve discussed over the past 3 seasons of RISE how each sector of our Travel, Tourism & Hospitality (TT&H) industry, like other industries, has needed to dramatically pivot. Re-imagining and re-inventing the way we do business to survive the changes brought by this pandemic has been central to re-engineering for the new world of travel that awaits us all. For many it’s been a question of survival, and for some – tech being an example, it’s been an opportunity for unprecedented growth. Not only are companies improving the way we do business in order to remain relevant and profitable – there’s also been a much-needed prioritisation of employee wellbeing.


Being forced to pause and reassess our impact on the planet, on our communities and on each other, led to many of us feeling a call to duty – to action, and a sense that together, within our communities and organisations, we could and should effect change, do better, and be better. Also, interestingly, this pause has allowed us to look very closely at the decisions we make in our daily lives and how these impact our greater sense of wellbeing within our communities. Are we taking care of ourselves so we can help take care of others? 


This leads to an interesting angle. Mia made the valid point that “we’ve all had to hold the mirror up in some way.” To some extent self–evaluation has been driven by the extra time we had in 2020 when forced to pause. We’ve used this time to reassess who we are, and whether we’re happy with what we see – both physically and psychologically. We’ve had time to think about whether we’re happy, fulfilled, and healthy. For many, the risk and fear of falling ill brought home the need to improve our physical health and literally… our chances of survival.


TYpes of transformation


Our 2nd RISE viewer poll indicated that people are invested in improving their health and fitness, their skillsets, their relationships and their education.  As mentioned before, an interesting anomaly was that none of our respondents indicated an interest in improving their appearance! This feedback is not supported by the evidence of an increased uptake of surgery to improve facial and body appearance. Clare believes, in the case of her practice that this was stimulated by lockdown. The recent upsurge in these procedures is variously attributed to:

  • The opportunity for recovery time at home, behind closed doors
  • Our increased online interaction and the reality that many of us aren’t happy with what we see on our zoom screens
  • Disposable income that would previously have been spent on travel and entertainment 


Why, and why now?


This is the most important question! 

What makes us want to change anything about ourselves? This question has been partially answered in terms of:

  • The opportunity the pandemic provided to be better and do better
  • The necessity for survival of businesses and individuals

What we haven’t discussed is that taking action, transforming and improving ourselves provides us, psychologically with a sense of taking back control during a time when we feel we have little or no control over outcomes. 

Lack of control and an inability to predict what tomorrow will bring leads to a sense of powerlessness and fear. Controlling in some small way, any element of our lives, whether it’s improving our diet, fitness, skillset, or relationship gives us comfort in the ability to predict and manage whatever area of our lives we can!


What does it all mean?


Will the momentum of positive change continue beyond the pandemic? Will the self-healing, the improved wellbeing, the prioritisation of self-care and care for others remain part of our next normal? Or will we revert to old habits once we’re able to move about freely again?  What improvements have you made, and which are you determined to maintain? As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

On that note of positivity – next Monday on RISE it will be “SMOOTH SAILING?” featuring Kelly Craighead, the President and CEO of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and Bernhard Stacher, VP of Global Hotel Operations, MSC Cruises.

No better Execs in Residence to give us a sense of how smooth, or choppy, the waters are ahead. We look forward to welcoming you on board!

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE!


In Search of Meaningful Connections

In Search of Meaningful Connections

In Search of Meaningful Connections


What is the one thing that has been most disrupted by this pandemic? No question about it: our freedom to connect in person, physically with other people and places. Our physical, sensory experiences have been curtailed. We’ve retreated into the virtual, digital world of online relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Our physical connection with places has diminished to a small radius of only “essential” interactions.



The result? A sensory disconnect that has created a strange dichotomy of both craving and fearing physical reconnection with our greater world and community.

“What does this have to do with Season 3 Episode 3 – Retail Therapy” you ask? Well – we explored the relationship between retail, travel and tourism, with invaluable insights offered by our guests Andrew Jennings and David Green. As you know, in RISE – AND SHINE we like to dig a little deeper and understand more about the human behaviours driving the decisions we make. We also like to check in with our viewers and get a sense of where you are in this – which is why we have our RISE viewer polls. Some interesting patterns are apparent.


Meaningful Connection


The common thread that seems to run through the choices we’re making is our pursuit of a meaningful connection. Our need for meaningful connection includes:

  • connecting and identifying with ourselves and who we are 
  • connecting to the people inside and outside of our ‘bubbles’ 
  • the way we connect with places – from our local communities to our choice of shopping and holiday destinations.

Connection with ourselves

Over the past year, we’ve seen the increased focus on self-improvement, re-invention, and making decisions in our personal and professional lives that re-examine who we are versus who we want to be. In some cases, this has been forced by changes in personal circumstances such as unemployment. In others, the pandemic has simply raised questions which have redefined our personal priorities, and our definition of ‘meaningful.’

On a consumer level, we see this reflected in the rise and rise of personal improvement and work out apps –  and the increased expenditure on luxury retail as people ‘treat’ themselves to compensate for missed holidays and entertainment opportunities. We need a treat if not a break! 

In our next RISE episode “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”, we’ll also be looking at the increase in cosmetic procedures and “wellness” tourism, but we digress…


Connecting inside our bubbles


As our lives are lived within home, support and work bubbles we’ve benefitted from more time with loved ones inside our bubbles and attempted to maintain meaningful connections with loved ones we’re physically distanced from. This has contributed to the strengthening of some bonds, and the dissolution of others. We’ve reassessed which relationships work and which don’t! Anita made reference to increased expenditure on luxury retail within our “affection bubbles.” Whilst disposable income isn’t being spent out-and-about on entertainment, dining and holidays, we’re treating ourselves to retail items for our homes, our loved ones and our pets! Andrew Jennings pointed out, “the retail winners over the past year have been technology, products for the home and pets’ accessories.” Fizzy bubbles are also a great example of luxury in-home retail expenditure – and no, we’re not just talking about Anita here!


Outside our bubbles


Our connection with those outside our homes has become almost exclusively digital. An interesting aspect of this is our exposure to colleagues’ homes and families – and all the vulnerability and humanity that goes with that. There’s no better example of this than the Richard Quest CNN interview with the CEO of Trivago which was interrupted by Axel Hefer’s young son. What makes this so appealing, apart from Quest’s delightful handling of the situation, is that it’s so relatable to all of us working at home with children and barking dogs. Hooray for the rise and rise in humanity!


Moving between bubbles


In our previous Season 3 episodes, 1 and 2, we discussed the trend of moving from one safety bubble to another. This is apparent in the current preference for resort destinations and short-term rentals such as airbnb accommodation. As travel restrictions are lifted, the preferred destinations will be the more remote ones, and the chosen travel companions will likely be extensions of our social bubbles, rather than random strangers. The motivation to travel has become a meaningful connection with others, rather than purely adventure seeking or sight-seeing.


Emerging from our bubbles


As we move beyond lockdown and begin to re-engage with our greater community, it’s likely we’ll continue to seek meaningful connections with the places we visit, whether we’re dining out, shopping or holidaying. Is this because as David Green points out “people yearn to get back to retail,” and when we return to bricks and mortar retail shopping, we really want to make it count, and maximise the experience? This seems likely. Our RISE viewer poll indicated that most of us yearn for both the sensory aspects of shopping – the tasting, smelling, touching aspects (29 %) and the social aspect of meeting with friends and dining out (32 %.) Andrew Jennings agrees that “socialising is becoming an important part of retail and the future of retail will involve socialising and interacting with people.” This is good news for our resident Grouch, Demian! Whilst he proclaims that he doesn’t miss shopping at all, he did also let slip that he quite enjoys socialising at the cosmetic counters of department stores!

After more than a year of limited physical interaction with other people and places, the shoppers and travelers of the near future will be looking to mindfully, safely, re-engage with people and places we’ve yearned for, and rediscover the sensory pleasures of retail and travel, and the social interactions that go with both.  What will be different from before? Quality over quantity, and the increased importance of meaningful connections between people, places and products. 

As always, we’d love to hear your views on this. What do you most look forward to when you’re able to shop in person again?

Don’t miss the next ‘live’ episode of RISE on Monday, March 01st, 12:00GMT  – “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.”  We’ll be talking about the rise in cosmetic procedures (including domestic Medical Tourism) and Wellness Tourism with our brilliant guests, Dr Clare Neser and Mia Kyricos. RISE promised you interesting angles on our Travel, Tourism & Hospitality industry and we love being able to deliver!


Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE.




Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Finding The Faces Behind the Stats

Every week on RISE we try, as best we can to keep you informed of the news rather than the noise of this pandemic, especially as related to the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality sector (TT&H). It’s easy to get lost in the stats, or perhaps it’s more comfortable to focus on those, than on the human faces behind them.


Last week’s episode – Trading Spaces, Going Places, for many – really hit us in ‘the feels!’ Was it the raw, chilling, anguish of LA county restaurant owner Angela Marsden in the now viral video clip shared by Demian, in which she rails against the injustice of her restaurant closure, and implores local government and the public for support in saving her and other restaurant businesses? Possibly – it certainly affected all of us. We tease our Prof. Hodari about being grumpy, but all jest aside – this clip shared by him was an emotional insight that truly highlighted the human faces behind all the business closures! 


There is a real sense that people are making an effort to create order from the chaos brought by this crisis, and to control what they can. This includes how we spend our time and with whom we spend it. There’s a shifting of priorities and purpose, as well as a greater sense of community sharing and responsibility. As you may recall, in our Season 3 kick-off episode on January 18th, we talked about legacy, and how the tourist of the future will likely be a more conscious traveller, with a greater sense of accountability for the impact they make. In our second episode this past week, we talked about how tourism has become a genuinely more community-shared experience.


How do these human insights impact TT&H? Our viewer polls are always revealing, but what was really interesting last episode was that we asked you the same question almost a year ago (Season 1, Episode 3.) We asked: “Which of the lodging sectors will recover quickest after travel restrictions are lifted.”

Back then, 42% of you thought it would be city hotels, and 18% thought it would be resort hotels. Almost a year on, we asked the same question again this episode, and your response has been inverted! The majority – 37% of you, now back Resort Hotels for the fastest recovery, closely followed by short term rentals and only 11% predicted a faster rebound for city hotels. Is this because city hotels are associated with business travel? Or because people prefer to stay away from crowded city centres? Something tells us it’s about trust.

This question ties in with our first poll result which declared that the majority of you felt that remote working and studying would be the one ‘lockdown behaviour’ that would have the greatest impact on your lives 2 years from now. 

Velma Corcoran, our great Exec. In Residence from Airbnb who has the very cool title of Regional Lead for Middle East & Africa, added “there’s been a shift from mass travel to the same destinations to see the sights – to more meaningful travel, to reconnect with loved ones.” This has resulted in dispersed travel to more remote destinations, rather than mass influx into the cities. A positive benefit of this – apart from encouragement that traveling safely is possible, has been the business stimulus to local communities around the host accommodation. This increase in traveling from one “safe bubble” to the next, possibly also accounts for our viewers predicting that resort hotels will be the happy beneficiaries of tourist interest once restrictions are lifted. 


The way that we as people and as communities are coping, and creating a sense of order in our lives, is by re-prioritizing what’s important. These are our loved ones, our communities – local and sometimes virtual. Also how we spend our time – with an increased emphasis on quality time with loved ones. From the distrust in leadership and the conflicting information, has arisen a greater sense of personal accountability and responsibility for the choices we make – thus safeguarding ourselves and those we care about. Predicting and forecasting at the moment is almost impossible, and information is often unreliable. This is why we crave familiarity, transparency and a clear sense of what to expect! Authenticity, accountability and transparency – if these are the personal and corporate values that come to the fore out of this crisis, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing at all!

What do YOU feel are the most important values to you, and what do you value most now? Have they changed from a year ago? COVID19 is dropping a huge mirror in front of us all – what are you seeing?? As always, we love hearing from you, and checking in with you – not just as students and professionals – as people!

Next Monday on RISE we’ll be talking “Retail Therapy” with Andrew Jennings and David Green – 2 highly respected, globally celebrated and driven leaders. They have a wealth of experience to share and more to tell about how these challenging times have made retail a very interesting part of our survival… and our sneaky self-indulgences. Don’t miss out!

Register here to catch us live, or to watch previous episodes. Thank you for being an invaluable part of RISE.