Task Force for Tourism Innovation
by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert
Tourism runs the risk of missing out on opportunities. We do not exist in a vacuum and none of us has a monopoly on wisdom when it comes to assessing what a modern tourism industry needs in order to thrive.
A task force for tourism innovation could be assembled, and the sooner the better, regardless of local or regional level.
It should investigate and explore newfound and innovative ways in the tourism industry. Whether it’s a private, commercial, association’s or government’s initiative, whoever fits the shoe should put it on.
It would be a great failure if no one is willing to put that shoe on. One could go as far as saying that ducking or waiving it, might be irresponsible.
Tourism Innovation is about adding value by enhancing improvement and transformation. Exploring innovation does not mean just looking for a new product or helping just one particular type of operation within the tourism industry.
It should be leveraged to add value to the creation, development, and implementation of new concepts. It may be about carefully combining activities which enable and encourage original ideas to be generated and grow, support their diffusion, and harvest a new value for the whole industry.
The innovation is not just about what it will do to the tourism industry but also how it impacts the community. Keeping intelligent Socio-Economic thinking and Economy Diversification in mind.
The positive impact of tourism innovation is far-reaching, affecting the very core of economies, and quality of life. Tourism Innovation will help members of the communities to lead more productive and rewarding lives. It will stimulate the economy with an inspired workforce.
The conclusions of such a Task Force can become the foundation of a roadmap for future continuous lasting economic success in all areas of the tourism industry and also at all levels of human activity. What does “all levels of human activity” stand for? The way I see the dynamics of economies, is that there are people who work up a sweat and then there are those who are using a moisturizer to fake a sweat. The focus cannot not be on existing businesses alone, or on making more profits.
The Task Force shall not be obliged to report to any association, company, or government, but rather report directly to the media for further uncensored dissemination of their findings to the whole community. Of course, the report will be shared with stakeholders who endorse, support and sponsor the Task Force’s activities.
The Task Force shall consist of a maximum of nine members, including a chairperson and may become colloquially known as the “Nine Wise Figures”.
The members of the Task Force will not necessarily be affiliated with any association, company or government department. The knowledge and expertise of differing functions or segments in the tourism industry will be represented by six members.
Three members will represent industries that are different from tourism but known for being innovative and they may be specialists in the area of business or product development. Even a reputable travel journalist could be a member; they come around.
Members of the Task Force shall
- be independent thinkers who are outspoken in the way they communicate.
- have the courage to break with traditions, common beliefs, existing structures or processes and even be disruptive.
- not represent the interests of the company or institution that they may be part of, but rather express their own opinion or represent the typical area of their personal expertise.
- not be biased or prejudiced in any way.
To make a straightforward point: what the task force absolutely doesn’t need are actors who like to be on a panel for the sake of looking important or polishing up their ego. The worst to have on a task force are cheerleaders for themselves. Does the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” ring a bell?
The outcome and conclusions shall be totally open-ended and shall not meet any particular beliefs or outlooks. The Task Force shall not work under the pressure of expectations. Their conclusions may hold surprises, yet they must be of a realistic nature. Their summary must express:
- the red thread and general guidance on how to proceed in the future.
- any suggested high priorities.
- options for serious consideration.
- impact of innovation.
All conclusions and results without censoring shall be made available to the media for publication immediately after the Task Force came to their conclusions.
In nature almost every plant grows up from the soil in the direction of the sunlight. Every economy is significantly driven by the dynamics of small businesses and middle-class entrepreneurs. Startups and innovative products are crucial elements of growth.
There may be potential for professionals who are looking for new opportunities. All angles of the industry should be looked at. The goal must be to send out impulses, to suggest tools for improvements and better alignment, fostering the expansion of capacities for invention and driving strategies for the challenges of the future in a changing world.
Where to start? Some people who wish that at some time they may own a Rolls Royce, start by saving money for the shiny brass buttons on the chauffeur’s uniform. There must be a more inventive and groundbreaking idea to start up a Task Force for Tourism Innovation.
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