In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

Bill Geist and Mike Gamble are two of my favourite people to talk to about the future of tourism. They both care deeply about this industry and they both go above and beyond to contribute — not only their professional time but also their personal time — to improving how we see, structure and manage the opportunities tourism presents to improve quality of life for visitors and residents alike.

Bill, as you probably know, is CEO of Zeitgeist Consulting and DMOProz and the host of the DMOU podcast. "Zeitgeist," loosely translated, refers to the spirit or sentiment of an age, and if one thing is certain, Bill's legacy and continuing work captures the best of the spirit and sentiment of tourism development of the past three decades.

Mike Gamble is co-founder of SearchWide Global, a full-service executive search firm with unparalleled expertise in the tourism sector. He’s served on the foundation boards of Destinations International, PCMA and MPI, and he is a founding member of Tourism Diversity Matters, with its mandate to educate, advocate for, engage and empower the tourism and events industries.

Both Mike and Bill are empathic leaders with deep experience in so many aspects of what we call the tourism industry. And let me be clear, they are doers, not just pontificators. 

Last year they jointly penned a white paper for Destinations International on the pressing need for greater board diversity. Today they join us to talk about the events of the last 18 months and their massive impact, locally, globally and on the social justice front.

They offer three key pieces of advice on diversity, equity and inclusion: 

  • Don’t put this off — get to work right now on reshaping your boards, your staff and the community complement of your stakeholder network;
  • DEI should be at the centre of your strategy — a unifying force throughout your organization and your destination, not just another pillar;
  • If boards don’t represent the diversity of our destinations, it is going to be difficult for any CEO to champion that mandate.

One thing is clear: It is up to all of us, individually and collectively, to move this forward. 

Thank you Bill and Mike for making it personal! 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash