The Impact of Coopetition in Creating Meaningful Travel Experiences, with Greg Takehara

Episode 372

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Greg Takehara has been the CEO of Tourism Cares since 2019. He previously served on its Board, acting as its Chairman before becoming CEO. Prior to Tourism Cares, Greg was the President of Trip Mate, Inc., a travel insurance administrator. He began his thirty-five year career in the travel and tourism industry at The Mark Travel Corporation, where he served as General Counsel.

Greg serves on the Board of the US Travel Association and has served on the Boards of NTA and the IGLTA Foundation, as well as numerous industry committees. He is from Chicago and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Juris Doctor degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares. We discuss the evolution of Tourism Cares’ meaningful travel map and how it helps draw attention to social enterprises and encourages travelers to explore new aspects of a destination. Greg also gives us a great framework for strategically aligning with these goals for our own organizations.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why Tourism Cares focuses on volunteerism, collaboration, and the formation of the Future of Tourism Coalition
  • What the meaningful travel map is, and how it fosters responsible and meaningful travel experiences
  • How Tourism Cares aligns with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of destination stewardship
  • What creative solutions Greg offers to some of the challenges in the travel industry, emphasizing sustainability and diversity
  • How Greg empowers local communities and enriches travel experiences through collaborative efforts with destination marketing organizations

Coopetition in the Tourism Industry

Greg and I dig into the concept of coopetition, where perceived competitors come together to create a collaborative ecosystem that benefits the entire industry. He shares examples of coopetition in the tourism industry, emphasizing Tourism Cares’ focus on volunteerism and collaboration. By highlighting the importance of sharing knowledge and resources, we can connect various stakeholders in the travel industry and increase impact.

The Role of the Meaningful Travel Map

Greg discusses Tourism Cares’ meaningful travel map initiative, which serves as a platform highlighting social enterprises and local community-based ventures. This innovative approach aims to drive attention to lesser-known attractions, promote sustainable tourism, and empower local communities through collaboration with destination marketing organizations. The map has been successfully implemented in Jordan, leading to increased visitor stays and a broader distribution of tourism beyond popular attractions.

Aligning with Sustainable Development Goals

Greg and I touch upon the alignment of Tourism Cares with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They highlight the organization’s integration of the SDGs into their work and emphasize the importance of prioritizing sustainability, diversity, and inclusion in the travel industry. By emphasizing small, collective steps towards making a difference, they underscore the potential for significant impact through the collaborative efforts of the industry.


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