Every cell is innately intelligent but when they come together to form a community – a starfish or a bird – this is not just a bunch of cells gathering together, squeezing into that shape of an organism. The word community becomes very important here because, while every cell is intelligent, when they join a community, they’re agreeing on some common destination, behaviour of function. Commonality is what holds the community together. Even though there might be a diverse bunch of diverse individuals in the community, the community represents some common thinking or purpose. Bruce Lipton.
- If we’re to challenge a collective worldview, we need to do that as a community
- By learning in community we can truly see an issue from different points
- It is in community that we learn to collaborate, cooperate and share
- By working as an aligned community we can take better care of our guests
The most striking feature of global tourism is that there is no boss, no concentration of power, and even the few “captains of industry” that do exist wield very little influence over the entire system. Tourism, like the Internet on which it now relies, is a complex, adapting network – a human ecosystem comprising literally millions of independent self-organising agents. It has grown to its present size, and taken on its present characteristics, because, over time and often unconsciously, those agents have shared a common purpose and set of rules as to how to co-exist.
When a guest takes a trip, he or she is supported by a virtual multitude of hosts who, in most cases, have never met and sometimes work in direct competition with one another. The guest may experience her trip as a whole when in reality it is more like mosaic or kaleidoscope of individual moving pieces any one of which can cause that whole to be viewed with delight or disappointment.
In other words, the term destination community is often a misnomer. Rugged independence is a prized characteristic of tourism entrepreneurs who see their peers as competitors. This is no longer helpful when the real competition is global and when customer satisfaction depends on the positive actions of all the suppliers they encounter. The first step on the journey is to start to build the foundations of a community by becoming familiar with each other, getting to know your fellow traveller’s strengths, weaknesses, aspirations and fears and better understand “where they are coming from.” This involves some seriously active listening – it’s hard at first but quickly becomes fascinating.
Through workshops and presentations we attract and gather together a small but diverse group of individuals who share the following characteristics:
- they care passionately about the place they call home and want to share it with guests who are curious to experience its uniqueness;
- they acknowledge that tourism is a force like fire that can do great good and cause great harm depending on how its force is managed;
- they are willing to take personal responsibility to ensure their destination flourishes as a result of their activity; and
- they agree to work together, and embark on a journey of discovery and development, to develop the knowledge and capacity to create and nurture a visitor economy that generates positive net benefit for all its stakeholders.
Thus the first task to take a group of individuals and start the process of creating a true “com-unity” in which the whole, the community, demonstrates greater capacity and intelligence than the sum of its parts.
This is essential because, as any experienced climber will tell you, the descent can be much more hazardous than the ascent. Most journeys start with an upward climb but, because we’re starting from an existing peak, our journey involves a deep descent, a metaphor for letting go, shedding old patterns of thought. It takes courage; can be lonely and you’ll benefit from having some trusted companions around you. The journey from adolescent to adult often involves a rite of passage as you face the fear of assuming responsibility. Our climber will have to hack his way through old forests and cross a few raging streams – maybe even slay a dragon or two – all in the name of waking up.