Social Entrepreneurs will find themselves operating in an economy and culture transitioning between two very different paradigms – the currently dominant model (the Old Story) which is based on the importance of economic growth and money as the primary sign of success and an emerging model that defines success in richer, qualitative terms associated with development and well-being as experienced by individuals, enterprises, communities and the planet as a whole.
Tourism has already played a significant role in diffusing the Old Story – there is virtually no corner of the planet, regardless of how remote, that doesn’t see tourism as offering an economic opportunity for someone. But having been based on a production and consumption model whose use of resources (land, water, wildlife and cultures) and production of waste (landfill, sewage, greenhouse gases) is now outstripping the biosphere’s capacity to process and recycle safely, it’s time to re-think – how are we going to sustain visitor economies that benefit all stakeholders (not just a few shareholders) and cope with mammoth increases in human demand?
Anna Pollock, Founder of Conscious Travel, was invited to create a context document that could help identify, promote and support social entrepreneurship within a rapidly changing tourism and hospitality sector. The Conscious Travel Approach articulates an emerging form of community-driven, responsible tourism designed to deliver much higher net positive impact in host communities by shifting from the current orientation towards volume growth to broader stakeholder flourishing.
The document is a thought piece designed to stimulate fresh thinking, discussion and collaboration among faculty. It integrates much of the re-thinking taking place outside tourism that has helped foster the growth of social entrepreneurship elsewhere.
It is not a “How to do Social Enterprise in the tourism and hospitality classroom”. Feedback and discussion are necessary if we are to develop curricula and materials that will promote and support the diffusion of social enterprises within tourism and hospitality. Readers are actively encouraged to communicate with the author via firstname.lastname@example.org so that a collective effort might be nurtured.
The next step will be to include successful case studies, identify gaps and opportunities, lessons learned and critical success factors.
Please click on the image below to accesss a pdf download of 'Social Entrepreneurship in Tourism - The Conscious Travel Approach'
Social Enterprise Resources
There is a wealth of open access resources available to social entrepreneurs. Take a look at some of the links below to help develop skills for running a social enterprise, from idea generation to project management, from funding options to financial management.