Bruce Poon Tip

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The Gap team started their late afternoon session strong with a catchy 4 minute video called Social Media Revolution, which posed the question…”Is Social Media a fad?  Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?”

Gappers on Social Media

The “Gapper” guest speakers, Kerri Minns-Social Media Specialist, Star Statulevicius-Sales Supervisor, and Ben Stasiuk-African Operations Manager, gave an excellent presentation on how Gap Adventures is using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to create a virtual lifestyle around adventure travel.

Gap Adventures uses Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and the Travel Oasis blog to engage and interact with travellers each day, providing a conversation and connection to continue inspiration for travel.

The up-to-the-minute events in social media land were made ever so clear earlier in the week when CEO Bruce Poon Tip’s tweet from the Burlington, VT, airport runway about United Airlines’ poor service and over bookings generated an article in The Consumerist.com literally overnight.

iPod, I'm your father.

Follow Gap Adventures “Captain” Bruce Poon Tip on Twitter: @brucepoontip

Follow Social Media Specialist, Kerri Minns on Twitter: @awanderluster

It’s been great having the Gap Adventures team here as the private sector case study.

The course format with lots of dialog and personal interaction has been absolutely wonderful, and Dr. Spenceley’s video conference this morning was great.   A perfect example of sustainable technology.

– Joe, student & globe trotter extraordinnaire

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Day 2 welcomed Gap Adventures of Toronto, Canada.  Gap Adventures is the world’s largest independent adventure travel company in the world and the students were privileged to received three Gap Adventures sessions throughout the week!

CEO, or ” Captain” as he is known by his team, Bruce Poon Tip, enlightened, educated and led the class for nearly 4 hours of interesting lecture and conversations on Gap’s unique business models, leadership and cutting edge company culture.  The students also got a preview of the next item on the morning’s agenda, Planeterra, Gap’s foundation dedicated to giving back to the communities that its clients visit.

Bruce began his session discussing the beginnings of the company in 1990 (started on credit cards when the bank wouldn’t give him a loan,) which began after he couldn’t find a tour operator that provided the unique and authentic experiences he craved that the all-inclusive and tour bus companies were providing as the industry norm at the time. Starting with tours in Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica, Bruce was able to grow the business from one small group of Canadians he brought down to Ecuador that year, to a company that take passengers on over 1000 different trips today. Delfin, the first person who helped Bruce by allowing him and others to visit his home in the rainforests of Ecuador that year, still works with Gap Adventures today. With the business that the company has brought into the area, Delfin’s family and community now have a school and community support, something they would not have had without Bruce’s vision of sustainable tourism coming into the area.

Besides ensuring great tours are being lead around the world, Bruce spends a lot of time building the internal company culture at Gap Adventures. Working behind the scenes has become a unique place to work, with Gappers (as they’re called) getting together often to celebrate success and spend time together. Bruce recently gave up his CEO title to pass it on to the people who interact with travellers first, the tour leaders and sales staff. They are now recognized as ‘Chief Experience Officers’, and other Gappers are free to choose their titles.

There is an internal ‘Culture Club’ department dedicated to fostering and continuing fun and connectedness around the world with events and engaging videos and projects. Six core values: We Love Changing People’s Lives, Do The Right Thing, Embrace the Bizarre, Lead with Service and Create Happiness and Community guides everything that is organized by the company and are well-loved by Gappers. Especially Embrace the Bizarre! And to keep a staff of over 800 engaged around the world, Bruce uses and encourages Gappers to use Twitter to stay connected. Some days Gappers in Lima tweet and chat with Gappers in London and sometimes Gappers in Nairobi reach out to Gappers in Bangkok.

I pulled a lot from Bruce’s talk and especially leadership.  I struggle with leadership and I appreciate the entrepreneurial leadership style; it gets me really jazzed and motivated, I think Gap’s going to explode! -Maggie, student & UVM Continuing Education Coordinator

Bruce was full of excellent knowledge, personal case studies and endless energy.  The Captain kept everyone focused and the students (and instructors included) left the session totally inspired!

Engaging conversations!

Bruce Poon Tip on Gap's Cutting Edge Business Model

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The week started off running with Megan Epler Wood’s orientation lectures and a great kick-off presentation by Peter Shumlin, VT Gubernatorial Candidate and Senate Pro-tem leader.

The discussion for the night’s events centered around how sustainable tourism can better benefit local economies. He was joined at the podium by internationally renowned corporate CEO, Bruce Poon Tip of Gap Adventures in Toronto, Canada. Together they officially launched the new short course, Global Sustainable Ecotourism currently being conducted from July12-16 at UVM as part of the Continuing Education Program.

David Kestenbaum of the UVM Extension Tourism Data Center facilitated and Meghan Sheradin Executive Director of Vermont Fresh Network  co-hosted.
Shumlin discussed his work with his family firm, Putney Student Travel, and the positive economic impacts he has seen from sustainable tourism, both in Vermont and around the world. Bruce Poon Tip, who launched his innovative firm 20 years ago this year, discussed how through incorporating sustainability into all corporate operations has helped to make Gap Adventures the largest independent adventure travel firm in the world. Meghan Sheradin, Executive Director of Vermont Fresh Network provided data on how the tourism and hospitality industry is a primary driver for Vermont’s local food economy.

Kick-off for first annual UVM Summer Program for Global Sustainable Tourism

Peter Shumlin, VT Gubernatorial Candidate delivers the opening remarks.

Participants enjoy the opening day reception.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 9, 2010

Peter Shumlin Speaks at Event at UVM on Tourism, Agriculture and Local Economies

Burlington, Vermont Gubernatorial candidate and Senate Pro-tem leader  Peter Shumlin will join a discussion at UVM at 5PM in the Billings Building, Marsh Lounge on how sustainable tourism can better benefit local economies.  He will be joined at the podium by internationally renowned corporate CEO, Bruce Poon Tip of Gap Adventures in Toronto, Canada.  Together they will officially launch the new short course, Global Sustainable Ecotourism to be held July 12-16 at UVM as part of the Continuing Education Program.  The session is open to the public.

David Kestenbaum of the UVM Extension Tourism Data Center will facilitate and Meghan Sheradin Executive Director of Vermont Fresh Network will co-host.

Shumlin will discuss his work with his family firm, Putney Student Travel, and the positive economic impacts he has seen from sustainable tourism, both in Vermont and around the world.

Bruce Poon Tip, who launched his innovative firm 20 years ago this year, will discuss how incorporating sustainability into all corporate operations has helped to make Gap Adventures the largest independent adventure travel firm in the world.

Meghan Sheradin, Executive Director of Vermont Fresh Network will provide data on how the tourism and hospitality industry is a primary driver for Vermont’s local food economy

David Kestenbaum will then facilitate questions from the audience.  This will be an hour session and light refreshments will be provided.

This event is being coordinated by Megan Epler Wood, of EplerWood International, a firm based in Burlington, Vermont specializing in the sustainable development of tourism worldwide.  Epler Wood is the lead instructor for the UVM course on Global Sustainable Ecotourism and has 20 years of experience leveraging the positive benefits of sustainable tourism for local economies worldwide.

For more information contact:

EplerWood International, 802-865-3351

369 S. Union St., Burlington, VT  05401

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