By BRUCE Piper
Firstly a word of thanks to the sponsors and attendees at the inaugural Travel Daily Sustainability Summit which took place just as the April edition of travelBulletin arrived from the printers. The huge response from across the industry was quite overwhelming, and we are already planning a bigger and better Summit for April 2020.
Clearly the themes of sustainability hit a chord, with the event featuring a wide variety of topics ranging from the environment through to animal treatment, sustainable business practices, community development and much more. The first industry Sustainability Awards were also a big hit, and provided recognition for some of the companies that are going above and beyond to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy travelling the planet.
One of the presentations which seemed to particularly strike a chord with delegates was one by Ross Piper — yes, he’s my brother — who is the head of one of Australia’s major ethically investing superannuation funds. Ross spoke about the increasing focus of the global financial community on more than just the dollar — providing further evidence of the importance of embedding sustainable practices at all levels of our operations.
Also intriguing was his revelation that corporate culture is one of the indicators used by investors when making decisions about where to deploy capital, and confirmation that at least one Australian publicly listed travel company had been the subject of “robust discussions at board level” over perceptions of an unhealthy internal culture.
MEANWHILE I can’t let this month’s column pass without at least a fleeting reference to the now thankfully over Federal Election. The result, which saw the Liberal-National Coalition retain power with an increased majority, will certainly not please everyone, but there is no doubt that many in the travel industry breathed a sigh of relief. ALP Leader Bill Shorten’s threats to retirement savings and property values clearly weighed heavily on consumer confidence, and led to a significant slowdown in travel spending in the lead-up to the 18 May poll. Fingers crossed this dark cloud lifts quickly.
FINALLY I’ve never had the courage to admit to my wife how much I paid for tickets to attend the musical Hamilton when we visited New York a couple of years ago. It truly was the hottest ticket in town, and without being more specific, our seats up in the gods did cost more than a week’s accommodation.
So you can imagine my delight at the news that Sydney has managed to secure a season of the show which will see George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other US founding fathers take the stage down under. It is a great story set to great music, and I can’t wait to see the local version — hopefully this time without taking out a second mortgage. Highly recommended.