A Conversation with Julie Cheetham
Julie Cheetham, managing director and founding member of sustainability software platform Weeva, discusses how businesses in the tourism industry can become more sustainable. From understanding the importance of resourcing to learning tips on how to manage time efficiently, this podcast delves into the practical application of sustainability in the tourism industry. Listeners will also gain insights on government regulations, consumer behaviour, and how to implement sustainable practices.
Weeva was created in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help the troubled tourism industry. Julie believes that sustainability needs to become a conversation among the mainstream, not just the super luxury lodges.
Weeva uses a balanced scorecard approach to sustainability which includes four main areas: commerce, conservation, community, and culture. These areas are further broken down into 18 measurable areas of impact, such as waste, energy, water, biodiversity, embodied carbon, customer satisfaction, supply chain analytics, and Weevanomics. Julie also emphasises the importance of resourcing for businesses in becoming more sustainable, as they often don’t have the money or time to dedicate to it.
Julie has adopted sustainable practices in her personal life, such as not buying clothing for six months of the year and eating less meat. She also suggests time blocking as an effective way to manage time. She recommends that those in the tourism industry act with utmost integrity and avoid exploitative or extractive practices.
The pandemic has taught Julie that she is more resilient than she thought and that it is important to make quick decisions. She also believes that governments are becoming more involved in the tourism industry, requiring reporting on energy usage, carbon footprint, and waste. Consumers are also now willing to pay more for environmentally and ethically sustainable products.
Julie is passionate about sharing the practical application of sustainability with others and emphasises that sustainability practitioners, lodge managers, head of housekeeping, and maintenance managers have a unique perspective on the topic. She encourages everyone to ‘enjoy the ride’ and embrace the life-affirming industry.
Finally, she highlights Weeva.earth, where hoteliers and property owners can start a 21-day trial of the Weeva platform. Once onboarded, they can create a profile and track their impact across 360 degrees of their business.
Tune in to get a unique perspective on how to navigate the industry with sustainability in mind!
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2. The Advantages and Challenges of Full-Time Travel37:28Heather Markel, a full-time travel coach, joins the Kusa Cast to discuss her journey to becoming a digital nomad. She shares her experiences of leaving her corporate job and embracing a life of travel. Heather provides insights into the mindset, money, and mastery needed for a successful nomadic lifestyle. She also emphasizes the importance of community and finding support among fellow travellers. Heather offers advice on generating income while travelling and highlights the personal growth and cultural understanding that can be gained through this lifestyle.Heather is the founder of the Facebook group Full Time Travelers and Nomads and can be reached on email@example.com.
1. Engaging with the Travellers and Content Creators for @wheretonextyall26:19Jordan Carlyle and Christen Puckett, travellers from the USA, share their journey of quitting their stable jobs and buying a one-way ticket to travel the world. They discuss how they started their trip by creating a shared Notes app to list the places they wanted to visit. They also talk about their unexpected success on TikTok, where they now have over 25,000 followers. The travellers emphasise the importance of storytelling and engaging with their followers. They also discuss the challenges of constant travel and the need for rest days. Despite the challenges, they find joy in experiencing different cultures and meeting new people along the way.They offer advice to young travellers, encouraging them to trust their gut and be open to learning as they go. They also share their plans for future destinations, including Australia and back to Africa.As influencers in the travel industry, Jordan and Christen have the power to shape the perceptions and decisions of their followers. Their ability to tell compelling stories and make their audience feel like they are part of the journey has resonated with many. By sharing their experiences and offering practical advice, they have inspired others to pursue their own travel dreams.To follow the journey, use the handle @wheretonextyall on TikTok and Instagram.
31. A Conversation with Mark Young39:48Mark Young, co-founder of the Perfections Group, discusses his journey in the travel industry, from backpacking to starting a representation company. He shares his experience of being made redundant before COVID and how he adapted by taking on different jobs. Mark also talks about the resilience and camaraderie in the tourism industry, the changing habits of UK travellers, and the future of the Perfections Group. He emphasises the importance of collaboration and open-mindedness in the industry. Overall, Mark's story highlights the strength and determination of those in the travel industry to thrive in the face of challenges.Mark's journey in the travel industry began with his love for travel and backpacking. After working various jobs, he decided to pursue a career in travel and started at a well known travel company. However, he soon realised that product management was his true passion. Mark worked his way up and eventually co-founded the Perfections Group with Ryan Ashton. The company initially focused on representing African lodges but has now expanded to include Latin America and other destinations.Mark's resilience was put to the test when he was made redundant a year before the pandemic hit. However, he used this time to explore different opportunities. These experiences taught him the importance of perseverance and helped him develop a stronger mindset.Mark and I discuss the importance of collaboration and supporting one another, even among competitors. We both believe that there is enough business to go around and that working together can benefit everyone. Mark shares his experience of referring clients to other representatives and receiving referrals in return. This collaborative approach not only strengthens relationships but also opens doors to new opportunities.The pandemic has brought about significant changes in the travel industry. Mark notes that there is currently no clear pattern in travel trends, as people are eager to explore various destinations. Flight availability and cost also play a role in travellers' choices. However, Mark believes that it will take time to fully understand the new normal, as many people are still catching up on missed trips and family visits.The Perfections Group has diversified its portfolio to include representation for destinations beyond Africa. Mark and his team are open to working with any product that aligns with their expertise and values. They aim to be a one-stop-shop for travel companies, offering services such as revenue management, social media management, and booking offices. The focus remains on building strong relationships and providing personalised support to their clients.
30. A Conversation with Priscilla Plummer and Guests31:32In this episode of Kusa Cast, Graeme Watson interviews Priscilla Plummer, the founder of Global Sojourns, a responsible travel company that focuses on uplifting communities around wildlife areas. Priscilla shares her journey from working in small and startup businesses in the US to traveling to Africa to better understand the situation that girls and women face in the region. She talks about her passion for travel and culture and how it led her to start Global Sojourns and the Global Sojourns Giving Circle, which focuses on empowering girls and being locally led.Global Sojourns is a responsible travel company that provides clients with a deeper and more meaningful safari experience by setting them up with local guides who understand the culture and the environment. The company's arm for community upliftment, the Global Sojourns Giving Circle, is locally led and focuses on empowering girls. The Giving Circle provides donor education to ensure that good intentions are aligned with effective action.The podcast features the wonderful Gloria and Ndlelende, mentors for youth in Livingstone, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, respectively. They share their experiences of how tourism and community upliftment are interwoven, and how the support of tourists has helped improve the lives of locals. The girls clubs run by Gloria provide psychosocial life skills for girls, hygiene management, and a mini library. The Global Sojourns Giving Circle has been the main source of funding for these clubs, and the demand for the clubs is high.The organisation also mentors young boys and girls in the tourism sector to provide them with skills and guide them on their career path towards conservation. The company's focus is on mentorship and helping youth get on a path of a life of opportunity versus dependency. The clubs have been successful in reducing teenage pregnancy rates, and the company is looking for more support to expand their impact. To support their work, travellers can visit the Global Sojourns website or the Global Sojourns Giving Circle website, details below.Priscilla Plummer's passion for responsible tourism and uplifting communities around wildlife areas is evident in this episode of Kusa Cast. From empowering girls through the Giving Circle to investing in local people and mentorship, Priscilla and her team at Global Sojourns are making a difference in the world.Contact Priscilla on firstname.lastname@example.org and the website is https://www.gsgivingcircle.org/.
29. A Conversation with Melissa Foley23:29In the latest episode of Kusa Cast, Graeme Watson sits down with Melissa Foley, the passionate founder of All About Africa Consulting.Melissa's mission is to promote social and environmental sustainability in the tourism industry throughout Africa, with a particular focus on ethical climbing on Kilimanjaro. As a board member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), based in Moshi and Arusha, she works tirelessly to raise public awareness about the challenges faced by mountain crew members.KPAP, an organization with a 20-year history, has created a monitoring program to ensure that local climbing companies in Tanzania adhere to best practices and provide fair wages, adequate meals, and suitable living conditions for their crew members. Out of approximately 160 properly licensed climbing companies in Tanzania, about 50 have chosen to participate in the KPAP program. This initiative has proven highly beneficial for these local companies, giving them a competitive edge in a saturated market.What's remarkable about KPAP is that it's completely free to join, offering advantages to operations in terms of best practices and marketing. Despite its limited resources, KPAP provides educational classes and raises awareness about ethical climbing practices. In fact, due to increasing encouragement from consumers and agents, there has been a significant 30% rise in new local companies joining the program. The organisation relies on donations to sustain its operations and continue its crucial work.One of the key objectives of Kiliporters.org is to prevent exploitation of porters and eliminate the practice of bribes being paid to guides for selection on climbs. Additionally, the organisation ensures that porters receive proper tips from clients at the end of the climb, further promoting fair treatment within the industry.If you're passionate about promoting social and environmental sustainability within Africa's tourism industry and want to learn more about ethical climbing on Kilimanjaro, this is an episode of Kusa Cast you don't want to miss! Tune in to the podcast now to listen to Graeme Watson's engaging interview with Melissa Foley, and discover the inspiring work of KPAP and log onto www.kiliporters.org. Join the conversation and be part of the movement for positive change!
28. A Conversation with Robyn Whaley33:54In this episode of Kusa Cast, Graeme Watson interviews Robyn Whaley, the director of Off The Track Expeditions, a Zimbabwe-based tour operator specialising in tailor made and adventure travel to Zimbabwe. Robyn shares her experience and insights on how her business started and how it has grown over the years.Robyn begins by discussing her journey in the tourism industry, highlighting her previous roles at Wilderness Safaris. She emphasises the importance of her personal experiences in visiting and exploring the camps, lodges, and safari destinations that Off The Track offers. Robyn's deep knowledge and firsthand encounters allow her to match clients with the perfect properties and activities.Taking ownership of Off The Track in May 2015, Robyn saw the tremendous potential to promote the beauty of Zimbabwe. As a born and bred Zimbabwean, she brings a unique perspective and passion for showcasing her country. Robyn shares her dedication to ensuring the highest level of service and expertise for her clients.The conversation delves into the challenges faced by the business and the tourism industry in general during the Covid pandemic. Robyn highlights how she navigated the uncertainties and adapted to the changing circumstances. Despite the difficulties, Off The Track managed to maintain its commitment to providing exceptional travel experiences.Throughout the interview, Robyn emphasises her personal connection to the destinations she offers. Her firsthand experiences contribute to her expert knowledge and the quality of the tours provided by Off The Track Expeditions.To get in touch with Robyn, email email@example.com.
27. A Conversation with Stanley Edwards28:20In this podcast episode, Graeme Watson speaks with Stanley Edwards, director of Platypus Digital, about how virtual reality (VR) can be used as a marketing tool for tourism businesses. They stress the importance of focusing on content objectives when using VR, rather than just admiring the technology. They discuss the different ways VR can be used, such as 360 images and videos, virtual guided tours, and interactive and immersive experiences. They highlight how VR has changed the way people view and experience travel and real estate, and how it can be an ideal tool for selling destinations and providing users with an interactive tour.During the podcast, Graeme and Stanley discuss how VR technology has evolved to become more accessible and cost-effective. In the past, VR was associated with expensive gear and complex production processes, but now it is easier to shoot and produce, and can be shared and embedded on multiple platforms. This accessibility has opened up opportunities for small businesses in the tourism industry to use VR as a marketing tool and reach a wider audience.Stanley also emphasises the importance of storytelling when using VR for marketing. VR can be used to create immersive experiences that engage viewers and allow them to explore a destination or property at their own pace. This can create a stronger emotional connection with the viewer and increase the chances of them choosing that destination or property for their next trip or purchase.The conversation also touches on the potential for VR to be used in other industries, such as real estate. Virtual walkthroughs of properties can give potential buyers a realistic sense of the space and help them make informed decisions without the need for in-person visits. This can be especially useful for international buyers who may not be able to physically visit the property.Stanley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tune into Kusa Cast to learn more.
26. A Conversation with Katy Lee52:54Today's guest on Kusa Cast is Katy Lee, Senior Business Development at Feefo, a consumer insight business, who through their ratings and reviews technology help businesses collect, verified customer reviews and insights, allowing you to improve your products and customer experiences.Katy discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry in the wake of the pandemic. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Katy shares her insights on the importance of personal responsibility, strong foundations, and inspiring leadership in the industry. She also talks about Feefo's innovative subscription model, which helps businesses collect customer sentiment and improve their reviews.The tourism industry has faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, with travel restrictions and lockdowns impacting businesses around the world. However, there are signs of hope as the industry slowly comes back to life, with events like World Travel Market seeing high attendance.Katy believes that the industry needs leaders to inspire people to travel and explore. She also stresses the importance of having strong foundations in life, which allow individuals to rebuild even when they get knocked down.Katy's experience in the industry spans over 30 years, starting with her absolute love of travel from a young age. She worked at Virgin Holidays and British Airways Holidays, selling the virtues of travel to agents and operators. Now, she helps businesses collect customer sentiment and data to improve customer experience and drive sales.Feefo's subscription model is based on the number of transactions or interactions a business processes a month. Their technology gives you visibility over issues that are impacting your Feefo rating and the ability to prioritise changes to improve your customer experience. Feefo also has a team of account directors and customer service managers to provide guidance and best practices based on industry experienceJoin us as we explore the future of tourism and the role of technology in shaping it.For more information, you can contact Katy on email@example.com.
25. A Conversation with Cathy Entwistle and Nick Fox27:10The tourism industry in South Africa has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with limited help assistance to support struggling businesses. Despite the challenges, there is still a strong desire for travel to South Africa, particularly for wine tourism and safaris.In a recent episode of the Kusa Cast, "A Conversation with Cathy Entwistle and Nick Fox," the challenges facing the tourism industry in South Africa were discussed, along with potential solutions to revive the industry.Cathy Entwistle, owner of Val du Charron Wine and Leisure estate in Wellington, shared her experience of buying a wine farm and expanding to four and five-star accommodation with plans to add more family rooms. Nick Fox, who owns Sibuya Game Reserve highlighted the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges.To revive the tourism industry, the government needs to prioritise tourism and work with banks to provide financing for businesses in the industry. The revival of South African Airways (SAA) is seen as crucial for the tourism industry, as it would help bring more flights into the country and promote the national flag.Starting a tourism or winemaking business in South Africa is challenging and requires significant investment and infrastructure, but it is important for job creation and the growth of the economy. The advice given is to have a dream, believe in oneself, and seek mentorship from experienced individuals in the industry.Despite the challenges, there is still a strong desire for travel to South Africa. t is important for the government and banks to provide support to struggling businesses in the tourism industry to help revive the economy and create jobs. The potential for tourism to drive economic growth and job creation is significant, and it is vital that the government and industry work together to overcome the challenges faced by the industry.Tune in to hear how Cathy and Nick have managed to survive and come out stronger on the other side, and get inspired to pursue your dreams in the tourism and winemaking industry!Learn more about Val du Charron here, and more about Sibuya Game Reserve here.