Blogs

Guiding in the 21st Century

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

Guiding in the 21st Century

I am in the USA on holidays and last weekend I was in Washington. I decided to make the most out of being in the capital by taking not one, not two, not three but four guided walking tours! Now, I have never taken so many tours in such a short time and I admit that I overdosed on learning (mea culpa). Yet, I was left somewhat “thirsty”, which is why I decided to reflect on what went missing from my 21st century guiding experience:     The guide: My guide was very but very enthusiastic and knowledgeable; thank God for that, especially as we all needed some livening up on the 4 hour tour of Washington’s main monuments and memorials. What I missed though was...

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Value your HERITAGE to develop responsible tourism experiences

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

Value your HERITAGE to develop responsible tourism experiences

In 1992, I migrated to Lithuania, where I lived for 4 years. These were the most formative years of my life. I love the country and Vilnius’ unexpected bohemian and Mediterranean charm, but crucially, I love the way it makes me reconnect to nature in the simplest and truest of ways. Two months ago, Martynas Uzpelkis from KULTUR, commissioned by Vilnius International Business, gave me the opportunity to run seminars on Responsible Tourism (RT). These were targeted at 40 Lithuanian hotel managers, travel agents, tourist information staff, teachers and tour operators. My brief was simple: test the extent to which the participants could apply the theory of RT to product...

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Capacity building: NO / Learning workshops: YES

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

Capacity building: NO / Learning workshops: YES

Last week, the Travel Foundation, together with Saint Lucia Tourist Board and Virgin Holidays ran 2 workshops on the island to help small entrepreneurs gain market access to UK tour operators. Unsurprisingly, these workshops aim to ‘build capacity’ – but I have to agree with M. Sahasrabuddhe (from Oxfam) when he argues that often this iconic phrase “is just a euphemism for cramming 30 people into a room for a few days and trying to kill them with PowerPoint and flipcharts and group work”. So, how do you write a 3hr training session that keeps participants actively engaged in learning and guarantees they remember and act upon what they have learned?...

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Ma France…

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

Ma France…

One week ago, I went back to France to celebrate my birthday. I am often asked what I miss from France; the Brits don’t understand why I elected to live in the UK (and at times nor do I) but I think that the more you miss things, the more you appreciate when you ‘find’ them again. I certainly miss being able to shop at the local market and to buy stinking cheeses and tasty vegetables. In fact I just miss the food I grew up on: game killed by my father and cooked by my mother…. And I am afraid that being French, I am always going to think that what’s in my plate matters most. But having now lived longer abroad than in France, I feel rather amused when I make it...

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Because small entrepreneurs matter!

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

Because small entrepreneurs matter!

Small and medium enterprises are the largest employers in less economically developed countries and are estimated to account for 90% of worldwide tourism products and services supply. More specifically, it is micro enterprises (MEs) that make up the largest share of these locally-owned businesses, and this means that small entrepreneurs have a key role to play in alleviating poverty. However, they rarely have the skills and knowledge necessary to do business with western markets; this is especially the case for small tourism excursion suppliers who find it very hard to sell to UK tour operators. Usually identified as the main trusted intermediaries between tourists and...

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How to sell bicyclettes and other customer service tips

Posted by on Oct 27, 2013 in All Blogs, Blogs | 0 comments

How to sell bicyclettes and other customer service tips

To small entrepreneurs that sell something for a living: product knowledge, kindness and thoughtfulness can make your customers forget about some of your service downfalls (no one is perfect!). Prelude: last year my partner and I decided that I should get a new bicycle for my birthday. As it is an expensive present, I thought it should also extend to Christmas but by Christmas, I decided that I needed to wait until I completed my Masters in May: I needed a carrot. Needless to say that by spring, I had had time to imagine how my perfect bicycle would look like. I started my homework with searching the web, looking for a real Dutch classic: reliable yet stylish, and...

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