Published on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Experience success - and do it your way!

The WTTC is predicting disaster for travel and tourism but Valere Tjolle believes that, for some of you, their disaster could be your success.


The WTTC is predicting disaster for the global tourism industry. The loss of millions of jobs is on the cards. But is it your tourism industry that is threatened? Or is it the big companies that form the WTTC that are about to take the hit?

This organisation is, after all, just the union of the CEOs of the world's biggest 100 travel organisations. So maybe this disaster just applies to them and it is actually your opportunity that you can see on the horizon rather than your disaster.

True, many, many people will be out of a job over the coming months. But some will see this as a release from corporate shackles - whether they directly work for a big organisation or they are a local DMC, tour guide, transfer company, taxi driver or tourist attraction.

I've been in the travel industry for a very long time indeed and I've seen disaster after disaster (read my book You Lucky People to see the full story! ) and one thing I know for sure is that when the going gets tough you get the sack, not the boss. That's why I stopped working for big companies a long time ago. They never protected me when they were threatened. And I got to make a fabulously fulfilled life in the travel industry.

What I also know is that the travel industry is always full of opportunities for EVERYBODY. There are no barriers to entry if you are prepared to work hard and have some passion in your heart, your mind and your body.

These are not lessons learnt from books or guides or training - these are lessons that I have learnt the hard way over more than half a century in the global industry. With the downs and ups that are a perennial part of our game.

So, if you think that over the next horrible year or so that you may be able to see the travel industry providing a sustainable career for you - here are three other points that you may consider:

The first is that when the Coronavirus cloud is lifted (maybe after your job has gone) the vast majority of people will want to travel even more.

Secondly, big-company, boring homogeneous offers never inspired the customers. It was the advertising copy that got them to book dreams that turned into the boring same old, same old.

Thirdly, the industry has already set itself up for massive customer-demanded change. Why do you think that TUI, after 50 years or so, is now not a tour operator? TUI, by far the most sustainably successful travel organisation in the world is now... an 'Experience Provider'. They are just one of the first-moving trailblazers in a totally new tourism economy.

Inclusive tours and cruises are old, dull and totally out of fashion; they are on the way out. The Experience Economy is on the way in. And the great thing about the Experience Economy is that it is not dominated by the top 100 companies that until now have controlled the tourism industry - in other words not the WTTC.

The Experience Economy is totally - and wonderfully - fragmented: at the moment there are some 200,000 micro-organisations run by people following their personal passions and creating some $200 billion of revenue.

If you love travel and all of its opportunities, if you have a passion to do anything independently, if you want a sustainable career rather than a soul-destroying job, if you want to be your own master or mistress and want to dance to your own tune rather than someone else's - the Experience Economy is for YOU! If I can do it so can you.

The travel industry is open to everybody who wants to make their mark …not by preaching and pretending but by practical doing.

Valere Tjolle

Valere is the author of 'You Lucky People' the story of travel - the world's most delightful and devastating industry. Find out more about it HERE



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