Sharing insight and knowledge with others in the travel trade has never been as important as it is right now. Geotourist CEO, Shaon Taluker, recently presented to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), taking the Council’s members through the Geotourist journey so far, from a cave painting in Uluru to disruptive travel technology.
As a brand, Geotourist’s objective is to map the world in audio; that’s digital audio tours that can be listened to in location or via laptop. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, much of Geotourist’s focus was on the GPS-based nature of tours. However, as much of the world is experiencing travel restrictions, the opportunity to facilitate virtual travel and keep our partner destinations and communities in the minds of grounded explorers has become a feature of our planning.
Geotourist has been created and built as a disrupt concept, but it wasn’t clear that this would enable growth during a pandemic. Able to work totally remotely across continents, Shaon set out some of the projects that the Geotourist team has been able to bring to life during the pandemic. As well as creating virtual travel experiences that can be enjoyed during restrictions, the team has also worked with partners in striving to preserve authentic voices that have a story to tell, that might not otherwise be heard.
As well as creating digital visitor experiences, Geotourist is also a platform for stories that create the fabric of the communities that we live in; these stories shine a light at what is happening – sometimes just under the surface – of the world around us.
Shaon focused on two community-focused partner projects in particular:
Emancipation Park Conservancy in Houston, Texas – Emancipation Park was created by Houston’s African-American community leaders as a place to commemorate the anniversary of their emancipation, the “Juneteenth” and an open space for the community to explore and celebrate freedom.
This outdoor setting with rocking chairs evokes a porch that suggests the welcome of a homestead. The southern front porch is a cultural, common gathering space central to the African-American experience; it is a place to learn about folklore, traditions and spiritual foundations.
Invisible Cities, Edinburgh, Scotland -Invisible Cities is a social enterprise based in Edinburgh but expanding across the cities of the world. A social business with a social conscience, Invisible Cities train people who have been affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city.
Social Bite is a chain of sandwich shops with a difference. Social Bite operates a Pay It Forward scheme which means customers can buy a suspended coffee or sandwich that they leave in the shop for a homeless person to come and collect later. Invisible Cities works closely with Social bite to recruit new guides!
Shaon also took the opportunity to share his appreciation with the WTTC for his role as the inaugural member for the WTTC new Associate membership, and noting the interest and recognition of the WTTC in Geotourist’s global work connect people, communities and destinations.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the body which represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. Members consist of the CEOs of the world’s Travel & Tourism companies and industry organisations engaging with the sector. Our priorities are Security & Travel Facilitation, Crisis Preparedness & Management, and Sustainable Growth.