Personal and Professional Management Development in English, in France.

Posts made in July, 2009

Sustainability Discontinuity

By on Jul 8, 2009 in Tonyversity View | 0 comments

Ok, let me own up: I think the title is a bit ‘cute’… but there is a point here that arises from research on Sustainability  (Developpement Durable, as it is termed here) that I have undertaken over the last two or three years with my university students in France and Germany: they seem to have quite readily assimilated a reasonably sustainable approach to their personal consumption activities in their daily lives – but when it comes to thinking about Tourism consumption choices, they were, themselves, somewhat shocked to find that it is as if the synapses shut down almost 100% and the thought of sustainability applied to Tourism consumption choice just does not register.   Tourism appears to be cause to escape normality and to forget normal constraints and concerns altogether. To me this seems particularly significant for the following reasons:- these are students in their early 20s. They were born at about the time of publication of the Brundtland Report : ‘Our Common Future’  / ‘Notre Avenir à Tous’ (World Commission on Environment and Development) published in 1987 and the subsequent ‘Rio Conference’ that launched sustainability upon the world political stage. Chernobyl, Ozone Layer depletion, global warming and the disappearance of the ice-shelf at the poles have been part of their immediate and present history. They have theoretically been living and learning in a world increasingly rife with the sustainability message running through all media since their birth: they are, surely, the most likely to be aware of the ‘message’ and to have ‘bought-in’ to it….. yet when it comes to Tourism, there is a surprising disconnection: sustainability almost doesn’t figure at all (‘though it does feature significantly in other aspects of daily life). the Tourism industry seems to be waiting (not entirely unreasonably) for Tourism demand to shift significantly in the direction of Sustainable Tourism products and services.  After all, what industry or corporation would make an investment in something that its market did not seem to be actively demanding?  Some do target small niches admittedly, and successfully so, but commercial history is littered with organisations that dive over the ‘leading edge’ and find themselves on what is often termed ‘the bleeding edge’.  For example, Click Mango was...

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Crisis Spawns Co-operation and Co-opetition

By on Jul 7, 2009 in Tonyversity View | 0 comments reports today (7th July ’09) that a company called ‘The Holiday Team’ is calling for far more co-operation in the teeth of this crisis in which company budgets are under such pressure (because, as we all know, the fastest way to produce a profit is to cut costs): “At a time when agents are reviewing costs on every level suppliers to the travel trade need to be innovative and offer something extra to help agents increase their profit in difficult times. Now is the time for businesses with shared commercial interests to work together to develop plans which will help to boost sales. This week we launched a commitment to our travel agency partners to assist them with marketing advice and support. And on a selective basis we’ll even offer a financial package to help with marketing.” Although glad that this sort of approach is finding greater favour nowadays, it is somewhat galling that it hadn’t ‘caught on’ in the industry far earlier as there have been no end of good examples and templates. For donkeys’ years we have been stuck on a roundabout (or ‘in a rut’, as you prefer) of cut-throat, dog-eat-dog competition where the thought of co-operation or ‘co-opetition’ is anathema. We are belatedly realising in this crisis that there are other avenues open to us, largely because we are discovering how wasteful all-out competition can be and that we have little alternative but to cooperate at some level because the budgets are no longer there at the level of the individual business. Good to see this cooperative approach stimulated, in this example, by the private sector, because, in fact, (and perhaps somewhat surprisingly), the public sector has, for some considerable time, been leading the way in developing Tourism partnerships and cooperative ventures and offering opportunity for the private sector tourism industry to get involved.  Take the Dorset and New Forest Tourism Partnership, for example: a visionary partnership initiated by all the local authorities of the region with the intermediary assistance of Bournemouth University and other NGO partners providing considerable ‘seedcorn’ monies up front over a period of years now, then securing EU matched funding to generate a considerable range of opportunities for the Tourism...

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