Interview Preview Bruce Poon Tip Global Adventure Travel Entrepreneur With A Conscience



Interview Preview Bruce Poon Tip Global Adventure Travel Entrepreneur
With A Conscience

Yesterday I had a​ chance to​ meet Bruce Poon Tip,​ owner and CEO of​ G.A.P Adventures,​ one of​ Canada's most successful travel entrepreneurs. you​ may wonder,​ what is​ he like? Bruce is​ the​ owner of​ Canada's largest adventure travel company,​ an​ attractive man of​ about 37 years of​ age,​ dressed in​ casual attire and not afraid to​ speak off the​ cuff. Certainly a​ charismatic personality who was able to​ captivate last night's capacity crowd at​ the​ G.A.P. concept store in​ Toronto's Annex neighbourhood.

In 1990 Bruce went on​ an​ organized backpacking trip to​ Thailand where he had a​ chance to​ explore the​ people and the​ country on​ $10.00 a​ day. This experience gave him the​ idea to​ create G.A.P Adventures,​ today Canada's largest adventure travel company that now sells thousands of​ different trips and annually sends 40,​000 passengers on​ their own small-group adventures. G.A.P has about 300 employees today,​ headquartered in​ Toronto,​ with operational offices in​ various countries of​ Latin America. It's most recent endeavors are the​ G.A.P concept stores which have recently been opened in​ high-traffic areas in​ Toronto and Vancouver,​ places where travellers can research their adventure trip,​ get more information about their desired destination and book their once-in-a-lifetime experience supported by good advice with no sales pressure.

For his entrepreneurial savvy Bruce has won numerous awards,​ besides receiving an​ award as​ one of​ Canada's Top 40 Under 40,​ Bruce has been also been honored as​ one of​ Canada's top 5 entrepreneurs by Canadian Business as​ well as​ Canada's 100 leaders of​ tomorrow. Profit Magazine named him in​ their 20th anniversary issue cover story as​ one of​ Canada's Top 10 Entrepreneurs of​ the​ last 20 years. Bruce also received the​ Global Traders Leadership award from the​ government for his ground breaking ideas in​ exporting services.

Recently Bruce was asked by the​ World Bank and UNESCO to​ represent a​ team to​ visit the​ Peoples Republic of​ China to​ lecture on​ Sustainable Development. in​ January of​ 2002 Bruce was the​ only Canadian operator invited to​ speak at​ the​ United Nations Launch of​ the​ Year of​ Eco Tourism in​ New York. Bruce defied the​ odds once again last year by winning Canada's prestigious Entrepreneur of​ the​ Year,​ as​ well as​ the​ National Citation for Entrepreneurship.

G.A.P's additional awards include having two trips chosen among the​ TOP 25 Adventures in​ the​ World by National Geographic Adventure magazine,​ the​ Ethics in​ Action Award,​ the​ Global Traders Award and the​ Clean Air Commute Award for five straight years.

Although a​ consummate business man,​ Bruce Poon Tip has a​ conscience and he has founded his entire enterprise on​ the​ concept of​ sustainability and established travel practices that show consideration of​ natural surroundings and local cultures. By limiting the​ travel group size to​ 12 people,​ by taking local transportation and staying in​ small,​ locally owned hotels and guesthouses,​ G.A.P travelers are able to​ minimize their footprint in​ foreign communities and get maximum exposure to​ local culture.

Planeterra is​ a​ non-profit organization founded by G.A.P to​ give back. Today Planeterra raises funds for a​ number of​ community projects,​ international charities and an​ endowment fund to​ ensure long-term support of​ community development and conservation projects for years to​ come. Some of​ the​ community projects that G.A.P sponsors through donations include a​ community school in​ Ecuador,​ a​ foundation in​ Honduras to​ help women start their own businesses,​ an​ NGO in​ Costa Rica for environmental and wildlife conservation projects,​ a​ local battery recycling project in​ Chile,​ a​ drop-in center for street children in​ Cuczo,​ Peru,​ and many more. G.A.P Adventures itself also initiated a​ Women's Weaving Project in​ Peru that taught local women ancient weaving techniques as​ well as​ natural fabric dye processes. Today all G.A.P travel groups visiting the​ Sacred Valley in​ Peru have a​ chance to​ see and purchase high quality textiles produced by these weavers,​ all sold at​ fair trade prices.

As another example of​ the​ innovativeness of​ his company,​ Bruce shared with us the​ story of​ how he went out to​ purchase the​ "Explorer",​ the​ world's first purpose-built expedition cruise ship. in​ March of​ 2004 Bruce went on​ an​ expedition cruise through the​ Antarctic and fell in​ love with the​ experience. He figured he need to​ buy his own expedition cruise ship and started looking for suitable vessels. in​ April of​ 2004 he found the​ "Explorer",​ a​ historic expedition ship with a​ capacity of​ 112 passengers and a​ crew of​ 60 people. the​ ship had been docked in​ Genoa,​ Italy,​ for many months due to​ the​ financial problems of​ its owners. Just another 2 months later,​ but after many complications,​ G.A.P took possession of​ the​ ship. Only another 4 months later,​ after extensive restorations,​ the​ Explorer went on​ its inaugural journey and today offers expedition cruises to​ such unique places as​ Antarctica,​ the​ Amazon,​ Spitzbergen,​ and Greenland. (Incidentally,​ G.A.P. has agreed to​ sponsor our first Travel Story Contest and the​ grand prize winner of​ our contest will win an​ exciting adventure cruise on​ the​ Amazon in​ the​ Explorer - all thanks to​ G.A.P. Adventures.)

G.A.P's innovative business ideas don't end here. G.A.P also has a​ travel TV Show: Great Adventure People TV shows viewers the​ world – G.A.P Adventures style. the​ camera accompanies small groups of​ G.A.P Adventure travelers and follows them on​ unique G.A.P. adventure trips– cycling through the​ fascinating country of​ Vietnam,​ exploring exotic Morocco,​ and hiking,​ biking and rafting through captivating Spain and Italy. New episodes can be seen in​ Canada on​ CTV and will soon also be available in​ Great Britain on​ the​ UK Travel Channel.

G.A.P is​ a​ unique company,​ with a​ unique philosophy and a​ unique way of​ operating. I am looking forward to​ interviewing Bruce personally and to​ finding out how he is​ able to​ combine a​ successful high-growth adventure travel business with his dedication to​ social causes and sustainable travel. Stay tuned for some interesting insights into a​ brilliant entrepreneurial mind....

Interview Preview Bruce Poon Tip Global Adventure Travel Entrepreneur
With A Conscience





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