WRAPPED IN HOPE

WRAPPED IN HOPE

WRAPPED IN HOPE

‘To cherish a desire with anticipation,’ is Merriam-Webster’s lovely definition of HOPE. This week, we wrapped up RISE – Season 3. Taking a break until Season 4 launches in September, many around us look towards the mid-year holiday season and the ‘next normal’ as parts of the world begin to ease border restrictions and destinations welcome back tourists. Our wish is to leave behind apprehension, and advance with hope. This is done, however, whilst acutely aware of the fact that many parts of the world are still suffering, with  COVID-19 continuing to threaten lives and livelihoods. Prayers remain strong. As does hope.

The ongoing uncertainty of these times embeds how, during the past year and a half, we’ve all strived to remain positive and hopeful whilst trying to predict personal and professional outcomes. Any risk assessment and mitigation process requires looking at worst case scenarios – being prepared for those whilst hopefully anticipating the best outcomes! This is sensible, and it remains the only viable approach because, let’s be honest, the one thing we’ve learned this year is that predicting the future is a risky business in itself!  The brilliant Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue was our Executive in Residence for last Monday’s Season 3 Finale of RISE, and the timing was perfect, because Anita and Demian were able to ask him all the questions we’re all thinking and are desperate to have answered. 

 

What we need to  know

 

Mostly, we want to know what the travel sector – destination governments, tour operators, airlines, etc. – are doing to ensure we can get back out there and safely enjoy our vacations. For you, our RISE viewers, this is relevant from a business perspective as Travel, Tourism and Hospitality practitioners, but also as people who just want to have a holiday!

 

We need reliable information to feel safe to travel – we need to re-establish some sense of control in terms of health & safety, mobility (especially around border crossings), and cost. There are just too many risks emerging as rules and regulations seem to keep changing.

 

Dan emphasised the value of predictable protocols. He also stated the importance of destinations having adequate resources and infrastructure in place, suggesting that ‘well-prepared places with tourist – centric posture will attract travelers.’

 

What we do know

 

Our RISE audience poll told us that forced quarantine and isolation is still the issue that concerns 2/3 of travelers most when considering overseas holidays. Dan agreed that this reflects his experience, saying ‘traveller confidence in being able to travel and not get Covid is skyrocketing, but unfortunately the concern with respect to border closures, quarantine, and friction in the travel process continues to be significant.’

 

Our wish-list for the next normal

 

  • Clarity and consistency around travel regulations and requirements from Governments
  • Clear communication and messaging of the protocols from all stakeholders
  • A smooth transition from restrictions to travel freedom (with no surprises of reversal back to restrictions)
  • Co-operation and collaboration between industry sectors
  • Empowerment – we all crave a sense of control again. Yes, we need to know that risk is being managed at government and organisational levels, but we also want accurate and reliable information that allows us to make our own decisions again, with a degree of security that we can make the right ones based on the correct information.
  • A greater focus on sustainability, finally
  • A changed approach to labour within the industry. We said this is a wish-list, so yes, we are going there! The lovable grouch Demian suggested that Anita was dreaming when she argued in the TKO debate that the industry would change their approach to labour, being more conscious of and responsive to employee wellbeing. We all (even Demian) hope that positive change will come from the past year!
  • Sustained resilience – we’ve learned much from the pandemic, and our hope is that the resilience we’ve built personally and professionally will be carried with us as we move forward, and that we’ll work together, assisting each other in maintaining this too.

Lastly, we hope the technology that’s been developed in response to this pandemic will assist in preventing the next, so the traumatic experience of the past year may remain there… in the past. 

For now,  ‘arm doors and cross check!’ We move forward with hope and confidence. Whether you are looking to safely enjoy a long-awaited holiday, or staying put and productive behind a computer screen, RISE is here with you to embrace the next normal. And we are excited to welcome you back for RISE Season 4 in September! Until then, well you know the drill: stay safe, stay strong, stay hopeful.

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

 

APPLAUSE – MONSOON RAINS HEALING PARCHED COVID19 SPIRITS

It was a sound that made the mind’s eye think of a dark, cloud-filled sky cracking open to release heavy, quenching, monsoon raindrops falling onto dry, parched, cracked desert ground.

It was a sound that broke through silence, flowing swiftly, soaking into the ground, feeding the spirit.

From every direction, through every sense, it was a sound so consuming, so desperately sought after, so dearly needed.

Finally, as with the monsoons after a period of intense waiting, it had arrived – a sound that poured down onto the performers on the stage, wave after wave, as though bathing desert flowers thirsty for life.

It was applause, for the first time in such a long, hard, trying time.

London’s Royal Opera House was open once more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-Gau5cVBu0

In late May 2021, with cautious relief and delight, Covent Garden’s centre for the performing arts carefully opened its doors. Returning to its magnificent heart, staring out across the vast, velvety expanse of theatre seating to the Main Stage, one could almost feel:

  • the moment when sleeping lights were re-awoken to reveal the grand theatre shaking awake after a lengthy hibernation,
  • the moment when the stage was quietly stepped upon with a gentle tap-tap-tap from each touch of the pointe shoes,
  • the moment the orchestra pit first filled with fresh, flowing sounds of musical instruments warming up, marking the end to a year of silence,
  • the moment hundreds upon hundreds of plush, red velvet seats were lovingly dusted and tied off with ribbons to welcome a 50% capacity limit audience home.

Finally, the lights glowing gold readied to be dimmed, the stage stood tall and proud dressed for the occasion, and the orchestra was anxious to start. The audience looked at each and every detail, taking the ‘here and now’ in with a quiet intensity, an audibly beating heart, a hint of a smile, a feeling of freedom.

Showtime. 21st Century Choreographers was about to begin.

As the curtain rose the feeling of anticipation, excitement, relief, and gratitude of each and every performer was evident as they stepped onto the stage with a distinct sense of purpose. Together, once more.

It was impossible to watch on and not wonder ‘how did they do it?’ How did they manage all these months, unable to be together, to train together, to perform together, to practice together, to laugh together, to bond together, to feel appreciated and adored?

In the early months of the pandemic awe-inspiring videos were shared around the world, our small screens filled with images of professional dancers training in their homes, on their balconies, in empty streets. Videos of hope. Videos of solidarity. Videos of remarkable creativity not only in dance but in determination. But then the music seemed to have stopped. Life in unknown, uncertain times stretched on far longer than the world ever expected, putting lives and livelihoods at risk far more severely than ever imagined.

For those in the performing arts worldwide, COVID19 forced them to find ways to stay fit, to stay focused, to stay hopeful that their careers would return to the stage.

  • How does one keep strong and supple when they cannot stretch?
  • How can one be creative when there is no reason to create?
  • How does one feel inspired when they cannot feel the presence of an audience?
  • How does one know when to move when they cannot hear the music?
  • How does one take a bow when surrounded by silence and empty space?
  • How can one leave the stage when their finest performance is yet to come?

For months and months and months there were questions, very valid questions, around whether or not so many performers would be strong enough, capable enough, willing enough, to put on their ballet shoes and costumes, and stand under the glowing lights. Ultimately, would performing artists worldwide ever again hear those heavy, healing raindrops of applause.

To be in a live audience again, to feel a rebirth taking place, was an absolute gift. A sense of blessing and gratitude was omnipresent – being able to be there, seeing and feeling it all in three dimensions, full of life, full of music, full of grace. With each performance the dancers were showered with applause, and more, and more. The orchestra performed magnificently, each and every piece played with a distinct sense of joy and relief. It was magical to experience months of dry, deafening silence being filled by floods of clapping, to feel the feeding of the starved spirits of the performers. For the audience, it was like rain washing dust off of one’s heart…

The pure magic of the moment brought to the fore a deep sense of release, a reminder of all that we have all been starved of.

We have all endured a year+ of suffering, of loss, of deprivation. While we have found ways to become comfortable in the discomfort zone, this discomfort cannot, must not, become the norm. Nothing about this time, this way of living, is normal.

As our shared world slowly, cautiously re-opens, returning to the stage will require of us all a readjustment to the sound of the music, the brightness of the lights, the presence of an audience, the test of our strength and stamina to continue dancing. It will not be easy, it will not be comfortable, it will often feel unnatural, but we will dance once more – with new steps discovered, new partners found, new purpose in our movements.

And a new sense of gratitude for the healing power of the rain. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

LEADERSHIP – STEPPING UP AND CHECKING IN

LEADERSHIP – STEPPING UP AND CHECKING IN

LEADERSHIP – STEPPING UP AND CHECKING IN

They say crisis reveals one’s true strengths. This crisis, this year, has been revealing like few others –  a surreal year in which we’ve all experienced moments beyond belief. Moments when we consciously acknowledge we’re seeing a different world from what we’ve seen before or could ever have anticipated. Throughout this past year RISE has been here to report, help make sense of, and discuss new developments, separating the noise from the news.

Contributing so richly to these conversations, have been our Execs In Residence, an array of extraordinary leaders from all sectors of our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry. Each has brought a fresh perspective and inspired us with their insight and their calm and optimistic approach to dealing with each challenge as it’s arisen. The RISE team has also observed, as our hosts Anita and Demian have facilitated thought leadership through RISE and have led their clients and students in navigating the way forward.

 

tHE INSPIRATION

 

Last week on RISE we were joined by Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Company as well as the CEO of Singapore Tourism Board, Keith Tan. Both are forward-thinking leaders from iconic global Tourism Cities. They shared their challenges and their perspectives on supporting tourism in their cities and remaining future-focused. One of our viewers asked Keith what was the most important thing he’d learned as a leader this year. His response became the inspiration for the topic of this Blog; “Stay calm and prepare for all possibilities. There are all sorts of things that could happen, surprises that come along the way. The crises and the challenges can come from anywhere, so I think as the leader of any organisation, we have to be prepared to roll with the punches and continue to imbue our teams with a sense of optimism.”

THE TOLL

 

Why? Because it’s absolutely true that this is what’s expected of leaders, whether you’re the leader of a family, a class, a company or a country. And it’s what great leaders do – they deliver on the expectation that they remain calm in the face of adversity, and they instill that same sense of calm and resilience in those they’re leading safely through the crisis. But what is the personal cost and toll on those who lead? Who checks in on them to see how they’re coping? Self-care seems another responsibility they themselves must undertake.  As we move through and beyond this crisis, it’s important to remember that sometimes the psychological effects are only felt when the immediate crisis is over, once we have the time to reflect and assess. So, we looked a little closer at what this means and how we can mitigate the personal toll of leadership through crisis. We all feel the weight of leadership to some degree, whether we’re leading a small family or a business empire!

 

A Professional Perspective

 

RISE – AND SHINE talked with Colin Wilford who is a Clinical Psychologist, Leadership & Executive Coach and CEO of  Wilford Scholes. We asked him about his observations and experience of the psychological toll on leaders during crises. He states that any organisational crisis, whether financial, emotional or medical has a profound psychological effect on the leaders of that organisation, for these 3 reasons:   

RESPONSIBILITY

The leader, like a parent, feels directly responsible for the safety and well-being of all those under their care. This deep sense of responsibility dramatically increases the amount of stress experienced by the leader concerning those they lead especially when that leader is empathic and people orientated. 

GUILT

When anyone suffers from the effects of a crisis, the leader naturally feels it’s their fault even though this may be irrational. During the past year many have faced painful decisions like reducing staff numbers or discontinuing contracts. Taking on that guilt is a common response and they wonder why they can’t sleep or why they are less patient than before.   

RELUCTANCE TO DELEGATE

Often the leader feels solely responsible for fixing the problem. Despite their own training and mentoring, they feel the weight of it all being up to them to provide relief and resolution and so they often neglect to share the load and have others provide solutions. 

 

Colin suggests these 5 steps when leading through and beyond a crisis:

 

1. Never try to deal with the crisis on your own. Always involve other capable work colleagues who    can share the load. 

2. Make sure you talk with a mentor or trusted associate about your feelings, fears and thoughts.        This process will help you be more aware of the impact on you and what you can do about it.  

3. Know that there is a solution to every crisis and you may need to research who has dealt with this before and what they did to resolve it. 

4. Remind yourself that you are not expected to know all the answers and that often all you can do is merely facilitate and encourage others to find their own solutions. 

5. Change your perspective to realise that a crisis is there to teach you and make you more effective and experienced as a leader and try to avoid focusing on the crisis always being a bad thing.  

 

WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT

 

Anita points out , “we should try to refrain from judging how other leaders have responded to a crisis, especially when a shared crisis like this past year. We all have different wiring, and therefore different responses. We all need to be sensitive to different people’s abilities to endure struggles in different ways.”

As travel restarts, lockdowns ease in some parts and we look to the next normal, it’s important to check in on our resilient selves, take the time to acknowledge the toll this year has taken and take the necessary steps to ensure that resilience remains and that we’re able to enjoy moving forward! 

So…‘Arm Doors and Cross Check’ –  which also happens to be the title of our final episode of Season 3 next week! Don’t miss any clues about what Season 4 will bring. Anita and Demian are delighted to be sharing the RISE stage with Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. Be there, same time and place to hear what Dan has to say about what destinations and travel companies are doing to help us all get back out there safely. 

 

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

 

2021 LIVING TRENDS – TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM?

2021 LIVING TRENDS – TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM?

2021 LIVING TRENDS – TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM?

 

On RISE we love examining which of the lifestyle changes from the past year people are keen to hold onto, and which we’re ready to drop…

 

Last week’s episode of RISE focused on how the forced WFH (working from home) culture impacting millions worldwide has had an impact on the Real Estate industry and how this also links to the Travel, Tourism and Hospitality industry. A fascinating connection between closed borders and opening of not only domestic tourism, but the domestic holiday home market. The lovely Dr Andrew Golding, CEO of Pam Golding Properties was our Exec in Residence, speaking with Anita and Demian about some of the lifestyle trends that have emerged globally – the consequences of working from home, traveling closer to home and investing more in home.

 

moving on out

 

Working from home has been normalised, virtual meeting an accepted way of working. Which is why business travel seems unlikely to return to previous levels in the mid-term. Then there are the zoom towns emerging outside of metro centres and commuter belts – often in holiday towns! Andrew mentioned that many of Pam Golding Properties’ clients feel that if they can work from anywhere, then they should seriously consider buying homes based on where they’d like to live. Living near the office is no longer an imperative. 

 

Many of us in the T,T&H industry don’t have the option of working from home. For those who do… the jury seems to be out on this phenomenon. Some love it, and others can’t wait to get back to their work spaces. There appears a strong correlation between working from home with young children and fleeing back to the relative peace and quiet of the office!

 

In our RISE polls last week only 6% of our viewers said that they’d enjoyed ‘nothing’ about working from home. This compared to 50% declaring that they’d most enjoyed the flexibility and time management advantages. Whilst there are obvious psychological advantages to working from home, there’s also the risk of burnout due to blurred boundaries between work hours and home hours. Some also find the disconnection and isolation from colleagues damaging to mental health. Evidence of the latter concern is supported by our first RISE poll on Monday, which indicated that 80% of our viewers were most excited by either ‘in person collaboration’ or ‘seeing colleagues/classmates in person’ when thinking about returning to the workplace. 

 

Moving on up

 

The prospect of continued work from home presents many of us with the dilemma of how to make it sustainable. We’re not talking about environmental sustainability here. Rather, we’re looking at how to make it work when we have multiple family members living and working in the same space. Again… this is not for everyone. If it is an appealing and viable option, there are considerations around living and working space. From a residential real estate perspective, this means we’re seeing an increase in consumers either upsizing and buying larger properties or renovating to increase living and leisure space. Andrew mentioned renovation trends including multiple home offices, increased living and leisure spaces, and the addition of home leisure facilities such as gyms, tennis courts, pools and spa tubs. The question is, are we likely to continue more home-based leisure activities, or will we be raring to re-join our community gyms and tennis clubs? 

Perhaps, the aim is to have the option of either. As Andrew says, ‘everyone needs to plan for uncertainty, and whilst it’s always been important, the living environment is now of paramount importance.’

 

Moving IN

 

Another emerging trend is to move the family home to the countryside, and live in a micro-apartment in the city, or a co-sharing space during the week. Both concepts originated before COVID19, but have become more popular, and possibly even more affordable than before, as business real estate spaces have been vacated with corporates and retailers vacating cities. Will co-living spaces emerge as the preferred option for first-time home buyers due to affordability as we move beyond lockdown? In addition to affordability, co-living spaces also have the potential to provide a bridge for recent graduates between living at home (or university) and living independently. 

 

Luxe living – bring on the bubbles!

 

This covers 2 of the new lifestyle ‘bubble’ trends – 

  • Moving into communities or gated estates in which work, home, leisure and recreation can all be enjoyed on one site. Examples of this are golf, equestrian or eco estates.
  • Multiple family groups – either relatives or friends moving into the same luxury lifestyle estate or community so they may remain proximal to each other in the event of further lockdowns. This is especially relevant for multi-generational families.

Whilst the advantages of these trends are obvious, so – we feel, are the disadvantages. Did someone say claustrophobia? Like most other lifestyle choices… a blissful option to some would have others running screaming for freedom – and variety – or on the other end of the spectrum, more privacy.

Whatever our lifestyle preferences, 2021 has served up some interesting choices as we move into the next normal, some which we may never have considered in our pre-pandemic existence. They’ll also have a significant impact on our Travel, Tourism and Hospitality business decisions as we pivot to respond to and embrace the changing ways in which our customers live their lives, spend their work and leisure time, and the changing locations in which they choose to do so. 

Wouldn’t we all love a crystal ball right about now?

 

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

ONE YEAR ON, TOGETHER WE RISE

ONE YEAR ON, TOGETHER WE RISE

ONE YEAR ON, TOGETHER WE RISE

RISE has just celebrated our Special 1st Anniversary episode. It’s been a year of contrasts. At the same time being a time of loss, of fear, challenge, uncertainty, and personal isolation, it’s also been a year of unprecedented innovation, of unity, camaraderie, and hope. And so, one year on, to celebrate this milestone, we paused to reflect, to share, and to re-inspire. We were proud to feature 18 of our almost 60 Execs in Residence from previous episodes – global leaders through 3 seasons of RISE who shared messages of their personal hopes for the future of our industry. Alongside them, our impressive, eloquent and intuitive EHL student guests Christina Klaas, Alex Radojevic and Lena Chan certainly gave us reason to feel optimistic that the future of Travel, Tourism & Hospitality is in highly capable and compassionate hands!

Responding to the personal nature of the messages, Lena’s unsurprised comment was that ‘the only way forward is to show that we’re united in our vulnerability.’ This simple truth inspired us to dig a little deeper and look at the personal insights we the RISE team gained this year. Some of them are more comfortable truths than others. Some are helpful, and empowering, and worth holding onto as we move into the future – into the next normal. Others are more uncomfortable realities that we’d like to either leave behind us, find a way of working with, or adjusting to so we can move forward.

We’ve all become more intimately acquainted with work colleagues – our humanity and vulnerability exposed as we’ve worked from home, juggling work and family life, giving others insight into our homes, through our virtual connection with the outside world.

This year has concentrated and amplified our experiences and reactions – good and bad. Love, gratitude, meaning and hope – also fear, loss, anxiety, and vulnerability.

Our RISE Team was inspired– and in some cases, prodded to dig a little deeper, and share with you what each of us have learned about ourselves this year.

 

GRACE

 

“The Power of the hug: I can honestly say I have never realised just how much I have taken a hug for granted.

We hug for many reasons: a hello, a goodbye, a thank you or a sorry. I truly believe it can fix so much. Throughout this whole year, it is what I have yearned for so much. There are many moments over this past year that stick in my mind, but the ones that really stir emotions are those that contain a hug. The first hug outside my household was with my sister when she was able to bubble with us, we held that hug until the tears stopped. Hugging my Nana at Christmas, nearly a whole year after I was last able to hug her, I never wanted to let her go. As we go into the “next normal” and as restrictions start to ease, there will be so many things that will return to an old sense of normality, but one thing I will not let return, will be me taking another hug for granted.”

 

SARA

 

“The importance of not taking small things for granted such as going to the gym/the office or seeing friends at a restaurant.  Also, saying “No” or “I don’t have time” to work tasks sometimes, to allow time to get out of my room (which is also my office) and get a change of scenery so that I can come back to work with more energy the next day.”

 

DEMIAN

 

“I like working barefoot.”

Translation: I’m a big hearted softie who cares more than I like to let on, and I’m worried that it’s starting to show!

 

JESSICA

 

“As much as I am disorganised as a person, when it comes to work or my family – I don’t like half-measures. With schools open and shut, work lives and routine changed from ‘before’, I had to learn to accept I could no longer attempt to give 100% of myself to every area of my life. When your kids are playing next to your desk, as you try and maintain some semblance of professionalism in a meeting, you learn that you can only do what you can do. I’ve learned that this is okay, well I am at least trying to accept that it is okay. Burning out won’t help anyone, so my big shift has been finding focus in those windows of normality. Being okay with the 60% days, knowing that a window will open again and I’ll be able to still deliver work that I’m proud of.”

 

mAnuel

 

It was a Thursday in January in the home office and I was so busy I couldn’t keep up with the work given to me nor would I have made the deadline ahead. I had just cancelled another meeting with friends when I realised it is alright to say: “I need help, I can’t do this alone”. It’s good to know your strengths, accepting help became one of them.

 

Joanne

 

“As a natural introvert, I realised how much energy I expend on presenting a more extroverted façade, because work and social life require it. There were parts of lockdown that felt more comfortable to me than ‘normal life’. The upside is that I’ve become more comfortable that this is who I am and that I don’t have to fake extroversion. The downside is that some aspects of getting out there again are quite daunting after a year of not having to. Fortunately even introverts like some social connection, and everyone seems keen for more real human contact now.”

 

ANITA

 

“The COVID-19 crisis taught me that as much as I, we, can all endure crises, it is usually for a limited period of time. This time has been different. It was long, hard, endless. Which has meant there was nowhere to hide, especially from colleagues with whom we usually manage our ‘on’ presence. Sometimes you just have to call off a meeting minutes before because a meltdown is just too near the surface. Sometimes you don’t notice the signs and the meltdown happens publicly. All times you just want to hide. This is where this time has been a strange gift – being able to find safety, kindness and understanding in the presence of people you never knew you could trust to simply let you be human, as scary and messy and grouchy as that may be. Because quite honestly, we’re all going through this scary time together.”

 

For many, it’s been a year of self-discovery. We’ve faced personal challenges, and discovered in ourselves, different strengths and vulnerabilities, but the one universal truth, as pointed out by Lena, is our ‘pent up demand for human contact.’ Alex shared his excitement at the prospect of getting together in person to work again, stressing how during his time of social isolation in Melbourne, he’d realised just how much we need social contact, and how “socialisation is important to survive.” In the context of employment, Christina emphasised how after this year, employee wellbeing will be an important consideration for any organisation.

 

A Psychologist’s view

 

We asked Clinical Psychologist, Shona Lowes of Equilibria Psychology, which lesson from this year we should carry with us into the future as we move beyond the pandemic, and for a tool to assist us in moving forward positively.

I think the pandemic has been an opportunity to pause our busy lives and to re-evaluate what is important to us in relation to work, leisure and social life. 

‘Reflecting on the past year can be really helpful to ensure you move forward in a way that suits you and meets your needs for social and leisure activities. Write in a journal all the thoughts that come to your mind in response to: 

‘What have I learnt about myself through this pandemic’

‘What have I enjoyed or engaged in more during the enforced lockdowns’

‘What did I miss or not miss from my pre-pandemic life’

Then write a plan for yourself going forward to ensure you continue with the things you enjoy and gain a balance that fits you.’

 

REaching out – Moving Forward

 

Finally, our Chief Wizard, Jessica says “This year the world’s collective trauma has been more transparent. So many loved ones lost, the world over, friends and colleagues losing jobs, and the lack of social connection that we still don’t fully know the consequences of. Reach out to those who are hurting, reach out to those who seem the strongest, we have all been through some type of trauma this year, and it doesn’t heal the minute the world opens again.”

All our RISE guests over the past year, have all been told that whatever happens backstage on RISE, it’s ‘because Jessica says so.’ The reason being, she’s a smart Texan who knows what she’s about, so if she says so, it makes sense, and there’s a good chance that everything will turn out just fine!

Speaking of moving on… next on RISE, we’ll be talking with Andrew Golding, CEO of Pam Golding Properties about one trend from the past year that we’ll be continuing into the medium term future – working from home! What impact has this had on Real Estate? Join RISE,  Anita Mendiratta, & Prof Demian Hodari (henceforth known as The Barefoot Professor) to find out!

 

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

COVID-19 OFFICIAL HOTEL QUARANTINE: WISH FOR A WINDOW FACING THE SUNRISE

At present there are 40.

At 04:00am on the 23rd of April there will be 41.

UK ‘Red List’ countries – nations worldwide viewed as a risk of COVID-19 importation due to surges and/or strains, making passengers arriving into the UK a domestic threat. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of-covid-19

Sadly it is our enduring global reality. Over 400 days into COVID-19 still we are seeing cases increasing and new strains mutating all while vaccines are being injected.

It’s not the same everywhere – some places are finding solutions to stopping the spread, flattening the curve, controlling contact. The over-reactions are understandable. Economic and social paralysis cannot continue indefinitely.

Hence the Red List.

And the need official hotel quarantine for people arriving into the country from a Red List country, a regulation imposed in the UK mid-February 2021, already active in other nations across the world.

To be a traveller forced to face hotel quarantine is quite something – and something personally experienced earlier this month when travelling back to the UK from South Africa despite:

  • PCR test: negative
  • Test for Antibodies: positive (as had COVID-19 end of 2020)
  • Household: single person

Travelling during COVID-times is challenging enough: lack of fresh air and smiles due to masks, excessive layers of protective packaging on items, eats and other usually tactile aspects of the airline and airport experience. Readying for a 10-day, government enforced, hotel quarantine introduces a further layer of desensitisation to an industry that has always been highly emotive, highly immersive.

The technicalities are straightforward enough, that is of course only once you land and establish to which hotel you are assigned and how the days ahead will unfold. Up until then the feeling entering into it all is a concerning one as there is little advance detail, especially around exactly where you will be spending your 240 hours on the inside.

The cost of quarantine is significant, and unavoidable:

  • 10 full days (starting from the first sleep), and
  • GB £1750,

which covers,:

  • a room on one’s own (if a solo traveller),
  • three meals a day, and
  • a small degree of laundry servicing.

On landing at the airport (LHR in this case), one is immediately ushered into Immigration lines that set your pace and feeling of welcome, effectively those free to move as arriving from Green List countries (no quarantine or self-isolation required) or Yellow List countries (self-isolation required) redirected according to usual entry permit classifications (UK, EU, etc.) separated from those feared as arriving from Red List countries requiring hotel quarantine, regardless of entry permit classification.

Red List? Follow the red line.

The red line leads you from one escort to another – yellow vests – straight from passport control through baggage, into waiting areas, into a holding area, onto a coach across several hotels depending on where you’ve been allocated to quarantine. At the hotel entry is through a side entrance, into a briefing room, into a process of completion of forms: consent to stay, menu choices for the next 10 days, indication of timings of PCR tests (days 2 and 8), and then escorted to your room for the next 10 days.

Just keep following the yellow vests. Wait until they make contact.

The hotel experience is stripped away. The opportunity to make a guest feel welcome and enjoy the hotel is all stripped away. Rapidly, easily, it can feel like a human experiment. Pavlov’s dog suddenly makes sense. Three times a day you hear a knock on the door. Meal time. When the door is opened an elevated tray awaits along with, across the hallway, a warden in PPE…and yellow vest. On the tray is a brown paper bag within which are two to three little brown boxes. The little boxes containing the meal you have requested during on the menu sheets on arrival. Meal by meal, knock after knock, day after day, they arrive. Delivered by a yellow vest.

There’s no other human contact.

The hotel room itself is a bedroom. It is a bedroom in a branded hotel. The branding, however, is stripped away. There is no leaving the room unless escorted, and brief: 15 minutes maximum, whether it’s to walk around the parking lot of the hotel to get some exercise or for those who are smokers, to get a nicotine fix. Leaving the room is with a warden. A yellow vest. In the hallways stand monitors, in yellow vests.

The feeling? Especially in the first two days when the yellow vest system of quarantine controls become the routine? Punitive. Yet you have done nothing wrong. You are just there, behind the door, because you have to be, because you flew in from a Red List country.

It is easy for one to look at it and think that it is unnecessarily harsh. It is a psychological adjustment feeling as if people are looking at you as if you are contaminated. As if you are a combustible. As if you are dangerous.

But it’s not personal. It’s a pandemic, and this pandemic needs to be respected. Governments are doing all they can to contain the pandemic, to contain the spread. The loss of lives, the loss of livelihoods and the pressure on medical systems. One cannot fault extreme caution.

And then slowly, slowly, through the 10 days, you find these little glimmers of light,:

  • morning light that breaks through as the sun rises, stretching across the room to create a golden glow,
  • the light that comes from a cheerful yellow vested warden delivering a brown bag of breakfast with a smile and wish for a good day,
  • the lightness of heart that is felt when care packages of fresh flowers, fresh fruit, freshly baked gingerbread biscuits and other fresh thoughts arrive from loved ones hoping to lighten the mood,
  • the lightening of workloads and to-do lists as wifi lines and long days make for a period of high productivity,
  • the light touch of hotel staff calling to simply check in every 48 hours, making sure you’re okay, letting you know that they are there for those guests struggling being alone, inside, ongoing.

Interestingly, having spoken to the hotel staff the check-in calls are not part of the government protocols and their requirements to be a COVID-19 quarantine hotel in the proximity of an airport. It is just the hotel being humane, simply reaching out to make sure that you’re fine. During Passover they make sure that the menus have no bread. As Ramadan nears they check with the guests to make sure that the meals are being provided at the time of breaking the fast. Little sparks of humanity, of identity, through what initially felt like quite a dehumanising, identity-neutralising process.

COVID-19 has challenged the lives and lifestyles of everyone, everywhere, in different ways. This is just another of those ways. Importantly, no one is happy about the situation – not the government, not the hotel company, not the staff following protocols strictly, not the ‘guest’

It is not ideal. But it is also not hardship. It is just inconvenient. A test of patience. A whisper of humility. First World Problems.

The perspective? Vividly clear, especially in these time of immense loss. For millions upon millions around the developing and developed world, the circumstances equate to luxury: one is falling asleep in a clean bed, in a warm room with hot and cold running water, full plumbing, receiving three meals a day served with care. For 10 days.

The COVID-19 quarantine hotel experience is a unique one because, in addition to having everything stripped away, one is suddenly aware very quickly of all that they actually have. And importantly, the blessing of having a place to go home to once you have left the hotel.

All of this is about being able to work together to ensure that COVID-19 does not bring us all down. None of these regulations, none of these restrictions, none of these requirements and enforcements are what we wish for.

What we all wish for is safety.

What we all wish for is health.

What we all wish for is to be able to hug loved ones, to see the smiles of stranger.

In the short term, as we endure these discomforts and these inconveniences, these are small prices we need to pay for the long-term investment of making sure that once again, we can come together safely, securely, confidently. Whatever challenges we continue to face, whatever each day may bring, we are getting one day closer to all being released from this time.

And if there is one wish one can make that makes all the difference in our COVID-19 world: wish for a window that faces the sunrise.

 

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

 

How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

How Has Your Relationship With Food Changed Over The Past Year?

 

Food, glorious food! What is your relationship with it? And has that relationship changed over the past year being locked in? We’ve all been there – alone with our cravings, needing comfort, deserving a reward, wearing stretchy waistlines! 

 

On Monday’s RISE, we made a meal of it – chatting with Barb Stuckey, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Mattson and Alex Hardy, Regional Director, Consumer and Market Intelligence at General Mills. We dished up rich discussion around food innovation from a business and consumer perspective, how those innovations have been impacted by the pandemic, which are here to stay and the trends we may see continuing. 

 

As you know by now, we like to dig a little deeper in RISE – AND SHINE. So this week, we’re asking how you’d describe your personal relationship with food after a year of pandemic-dining? “Is that a thing,” you ask? Yes it is! We just made it up. 

 

A Love Affair

 

 

Many of us, during a pandemic or not, do have an ongoing love affair with food. It’s usually there when you need it, it can be comforting, entertaining, and healing. What’s not to love? Well, too much of it isn’t a good thing, and most of us food lovers can attest to indulging more than usual over the past year – especially during the height of lockdown. If you’re a food lover who wasn’t one of those participating in solo charitable runs or following the exercise gurus doing online workouts, then chances are you’ll also have piled on some ‘lockdown pounds’ and the whole ‘foodie affair’ may have progressed beyond the honeymoon phase and descended into the ‘I need some space to rediscover who I am on my own’ phase.

 

A Love  – Hate Relationship

 

Who amongst us doesn’t relate to this dynamic? Especially when it comes to having to prepare meals ourselves, which we’ve all been doing more of over the past year! We love eating, but we don’t love cooking. We love eating, but we’re bored with eating at home. We love eating but we hate piling on the pounds. Notice how mostly, we do love eating! Alex Hardy said one of the trends he’d noticed was that a year ago people were initially enjoying cooking more, but then pulled back from it as they became bored with having to cook 3 times a day, 7 days a week. No need for a show of hands here… we’re united on this one! As Alex pointed out, businesses have taken note of this, and commerce has responded with innovations designed to ease this burden! We have only to look at the surge in popularity of pre–prepared healthy meal kits. We can’t be certain which idea we love more – not having to decide what to make, or not having to shop for specific ingredients. Both! We love both!

 

The Great entertainer

 

Food has always had a fun factor! Whether it’s the enjoyment of trying different recipes and styles of food preparation, or the entertainment association of going out to eat with friends – a meal has always had the potential to create a sense of occasion. In the context of this past year, we should probably separate this category into ME and THEM.

ME

Will we ever forget the sourdough and banana-bread baking phases of lockdown? Have nations ever been so united in baking experimentation? It’s safe to say millions of us around the world entertained ourselves at some point during this pandemic, by experimenting with food preparation. This increased interest in cooking seems likely to continue! Our RISE audience POLL 1 reflected that cooking from scratch is the behaviour most people (59%) will continue into the next normal.

THEM

Anita stated that “food has become activity, engagement, education and entertainment.” This is true for us as individuals but will also resonate with every parent out there who had to find ways of keeping kids entertained, engaged, and fed – all whilst working from home – but that’s a topic for another blog! For many of us, food has been a powerful aid in keeping our loved ones entertained, and constructively engaged in activity –  and with each other.

 

A HEALTHY DYNAMIC

 

 

Barb made the interesting point that we need to define what eating healthily means. For some of us it means eating ‘clean’, and eating ‘whole foods,’ or if we’re eating packaged foods, looking for recognisable ingredients. For others, eating ‘clean’ or ‘healthily’ means clean living, and eating sustainably for our environment. One of the food-related trends that she’s noticed over the past year, is that more people are making food choices based on environmental impact. This mirrors the more mindful and impact conscious tourist behaviours we’ve seen and discussed over the past year on RISE. Our RISE audience Poll 2 indicated the majority of our viewers (71%) are eating more healthily now than they were a year ago. Does this have to do with taking a proactive approach to fighting the virus, and giving ourselves the best chance of staying healthy? Alex mentioned this as another one of the food-related trends, leading to innovation over the past year. With people recognising immunity boosting value in food, he says he’s seeing “nature and science coming together in how we look at food.” 

 

 

I’m ALL ABOUT MOVING THROUGH THE STAGES

 

 

As with all these discussions, it’s possible you see a little of yourself in each of these food relationships. We may feel that our delightfully complex relationship with food contains many facets all at the same time, or some of us may feel we’ve progressively waded (or waddled) through all the different stages! 

 

Food relationship aside, who else just can’t wait to eat somewhere other than at home? It doesn’t matter that we’ve supported our local restaurants, and mitigated our ‘kitchen fatigue’ by eating restaurant take-outs at home. That was great for a while and eased the boredom and the monotony of home cooking. It doesn’t, however, replace the thrill, entertainment value and sense of occasion that we derive from getting out there and eating out. This will surely be good news for all the publicans, chefs and restaurateurs out there who can’t wait to welcome diners back to their establishments! Bon Appetit!

A special invitation to our RISE community across the world – Save The Date!! Next Monday, April 26th, is for our very special 1st Anniversary of RISE! Join us as we celebrate how far we’ve all come together over this past year. RISE was created with you, for you, because of you – so please join us as we celebrate you –  our outstanding RISE community. Some of the truly inspirational Executives in Residence we’ve featured in previous episodes of RISE will share their hopes and expectations for their businesses one year on. We are all so excited, but this RISE 1st Anniversary milestone would not be the same without YOU. See you there!

 

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

 

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

WHAT’S YOUR 2021 TRAVEL VIBE?

 

“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!

 

‘TAKING BACK MY LIFE!’ TRAVELLER

 

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!

BUSINESS AS USUAL, EVEN IF UNUSUAL

 

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.

 

CAUTIOUS

 

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!

RESOLUTELY MINDFUL

 

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!

 

NO INTEREST

 

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. 

 

COVID-19 ONE YEAR ON. THE SOOTHSAYER TRIED TO WARN US

They are words of warning recognised the world over, a literary conversation well known. If only Caesar had listened – if only we had listened:

Soothsayer. Caesar!

Caesar. Ha! who calls?

Casca. Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

Caesar. Who is it in the press that calls on me? I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music, Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March.

Caesar. What man is that?

Brutus. A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Caesar. Set him before me; let me see his face.

Cassius. Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

Caesar. What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.

Soothsayer. Beware the ides of March.

Caesar. He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

(Julius Caesar, Act 1 Scene 2 – William Shakespeare)

The first warnings came on December 31, 2019 when the WHO first reported the existence of a novel strain of Coronavirus, COVID-19 to be exact. Then came the next warning on January 30, 2020 when the WHO raised the volume of its warning, declaring the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global health emergency.

By March 11th  classification was raised to ‘global pandemic’.

By the Ides of March, the world was shutting down – borders, skies, businesses, schools, centres of faith, our homes – we were told to close in, quickly, before this invisible curse now known as COVID-19 caught us out. Wave 1 had begun….

Now, one year on, echoes of those ominous warnings continue to be heard. March 11th, 2021 marked the end of a year that has been beyond anyone’s expectation and imaginations. Depending on where one was in the world, throughout March 2021, year one markings unfolded of lockdowns first imposed, the first time we got a sense that life as we once knew it was no more. March 23rd for we from the UK. By the final day in March 2021 the WHO’s freshly released report on the origins of COVID-19 is being rigorously reviewed and remarked upon.

In just one year this one virus has taken over 2.8 million lives, denied billions their basic liberties, and cost trillions in livelihoods. New strains are being discovered in tandem newly approved vaccine being rolled out. New waves are threatening. renewed strength is increasingly hard to find. In just one year one truth has emerged that everyone has had to face: there is no escaping the trauma of COVID-19, even if one escapes falling prey to the virus itself. Everyone has lost something, someone, somewhere. Everyone has suffered in some way. No one has been spared.

Unlike any crisis experienced in our generation, this pandemic has completely erased not just borders between nations, but so many lines we used to put in place in our individual lives:

  • Office vs home,
  • Day vs. night,
  • Weekends vs weekdays,
  • Business vs. pleasure,
  • Professional vs. personal,
  • On vs off.

Blur now exists where once there were lines, this blur an operating space that must be bravely navigated – destination unknown, duration unknown, all within a context of immense, intense trauma. Genuine trauma.

The trauma has been real. It has been prolonged. It has been profound. It has been personal. The blur has been accented by deep, undeniable, inescapable, and surprisingly, often very visible ache.

Tears have fallen uncontrollably.

Cracks have been revealed unexpectedly.

Fear has closed us in illogically.

Faith has been tested deeply.

Interestingly, this shared reality, this exposure, has afforded us the opportunity to turn trauma into a lifeline, forcing us all to come closer, to be more real, more human, more understanding and more compassionate with those around us. To encourage, without judgement or hesitation, others to reach out and grab hold.

Why? Simply this: the shared trauma we have all experienced has, while differing in individual situations, circumstances, characteristics and complexities, allowed us to care more – to care more honestly, more deeply and more transparently with those who truly provide us the focus, the purpose, the energy, and the hope we all need.

COVID-19 has been the most democratising challenge our world has ever faced.And uniting.

This pandemic has united us – all of us across the world, across the country, across the room – making vividly clear,:

  • WE ARE ALL HUMAN – forced to dig deep each and every day with a stamina we have never demanded of ourselves, and others, before;
  • WE ARE ALL HURTING – recognising that everyone is feeling pressure, feeling loss, feeling fear;
  • WE ARE ALL EXHAUSTED – respecting that everyone is carrying a heavy load, needing rest, needing to feel safe;
  • WE ARE ALL LONGING – knowing how we all ache to touch, to feel, to breathe, once more;
  • WE ARE ALL BONDED – united in our refreshed awareness that we all need care, kindness, compassion and courage from one another.

For all of the uncertainty still facing us all, especially the layers of mental health, economic and societal crisis that will emerge, rapidly and painfully from COVID-19, reasons for hope still exist, hope we all need to hold onto, a lifeline pulling us all forward, whispering to us a reminder us that through tragedy can emerge tenderness, through trauma can emerge healing, through darkness can emerge the dawn.

The soothsayer somehow knew. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2021

 

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

TRAVEL: WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO YOU?

 

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?

 

THE VALUE AND VALUES OF TRAVEL

 

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!

 

PERSONAL ADVENTURE

 

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!

 

FREEDOM

 

“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!  

 

RITES OF PASSAGE

 

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!

 

Connection!

 

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.

 

Livelihoods

 

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. 

 

opportunity

 

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.