Anna Pollock, Founder of Conscious.Travel, has 45 years’ experience in tourism as an independent consultant, strategist, international speaker and change agent. Clients include the Canadian Tourism Commission, PATA, European Travel Commission, the Australian Tourism Export Council, Tourism Tasmania, Innovation Norway, and departments of industry, conservation and tourism in New Zealand. Recipient of The Visionary of the Year Award from the Canadian tourism industry, Anna has undertaken seminal work in many aspects of tourism notably in education, sustainability and technology. During the 1990s Anna established herself as a thought leader on the strategic implications of the Internet; created the first internet-based tourism strategy for Scotland and co-developed one of the first multi-purpose destination management systems.
Her strength is her ability to see the whole “big picture” and help others make sense of their rapidly and dramatically changing world. She now sees herself more as a change agent who is not afraid to ask difficult questions in order stimulate fresh thinking.
Her passion now is to help hosts and destinations flourish through a period of turbulent change and uncertainty, in which many traditional business models are being disrupted, and deal with the so-called wicked issue of overtourism, climate change, growing wealth disparity and political polarization. Anna has spent the past few years investing an alternative approach to tourism based on regenerative development principles now gaining active consideration within business, agriculture, health, community development, and finance. The purpose is not only generate higher net benefits from tourism but to build capacity within host communities to shape and manage their own visitor economy.
Recently Anna Pollock has shared her vision on tourism with professionals in the tourist industry in Flanders via multiple workshops, offering them a framework to put their vision on the future of tourism into practice. For the Travel to Tomorrow summit Anna has made an important contribution in the selection of the main topics and speakers.
Discover more about Anna Pollock’s work via Linkedin.
Why ‘Travel to Tomorrow’ is important to Anna Pollock
Why did you accept the invitation to join us at the Travel to Tomorrow summit, why do you think tourism is an important domain to be engaged with?
“I have spent most of my working life trying to better understand how this huge and rapidly expanding phenomenon called mass tourism can adjust to future conditions that will differ completely from those that enabled tourism to become as ubiquitous and economically potent as it is today. Visit Flanders is one of a few pioneering destinations willing to face global challenges with a curious mind and open heart. As tourism is ultimately about inviting strangers to share our homes, we have right and responsibility to ensure the encounter between guest and host benefits both parties. Travel to Tomorrow is not another campaign or PR exercise but a true Journey of Exploration with the potential for all residents to contribute and shape the way they welcome and serve travellers.”
What concerns do you have about the future of tourism and why is it important to collaborate in the Travel to Tomorrow conference?
“Scientists tell us the challenges we face as humanity are “wicked” – difficult to near impossible to solve without a change in the way we think. One way is to tap into the collective intelligence that emerges when we attract diverse perspectives, learn to listen actively to one another, and are willing to let go of assumptions that no longer help us make sense of our world or make our lives work. The Travel to Tomorrow summit provides an opportunity to “live in the question” not to repeat old, out-dated answers and to meet each other in a creative moment in time for some conversations that matter. That’s an indulgence, a gift we, ever so busy, humans rarely give each other – it would be a shame to miss out!”