A Conversation with Marion Renk-Rosenthal
Explore the world of tourism with leaders from all corners of the globe. Join Graeme Watson and his guest, German-born traveller Marion Renk-Rosenthal, as they discuss the current climate of the travel industry, Marion's plans for future trips and how the travel industry is shifting towards more in-depth local experiences.
Learn about the staff shortage in the hospitality industry, how people are starting to consider their carbon footprint and local economy when travelling, and get insider tips on the longest stretch of Route 66. If you're looking for the latest travel information, this is the podcast for you.
Marion has been living in the United States since 1986, and recently joined Graeme Watson on Kusa Cast. Marion shared her insights and experiences in the travel industry, from her work with the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board to writing travel books and leading groups of German vegetable growers.
Marion discussed the current climate of the travel industry, noting that many cities rejected the state’s orders to lock down and that many restaurants were allowed to move outside. She also noted the worker shortage in the restaurant industry and the shift towards remote working in California. Marion shared that businesses have downsized their office space, particularly for the younger generation, and that people are starting to consider their carbon footprint and local economy when travelling.
Marion detailed her own plans for future trips, sharing her excitement about visiting Africa for exclusive and uncrowded trips. To stay up to date on her travels, she recommends following her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and checking out her blog for the latest travel information.
When asked about Route 66, Marion noted that Oklahoma has the longest continuous stretch of the legendary road still in existence, and that there would be a centennial celebration in 2026. As for travel trends, Marion said they are shifting towards more in-depth local experiences, such as food-based, architecture-based, and cultural experiences.
More information on Marion and how to follow her can be found on https://www.renk-rosenthal.com/.
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5. Using Adventure to Raise Awareness for Elephant Conservation and Female Rangers28:57Holly Budge is an adventurer and the founder of How Many Elephants, a nonprofit organisation that raises awareness about the African elephant crisis. Through her travels and expeditions, Holly realised the power of adventure to raise funds and bring attention to environmental and social issues. She created How Many Elephants as a travelling exhibition that visualises the poaching data, showcasing elephants on a wall to represent the annual poaching rate in Africa. Holly also created a necklace made of vegetable ivory, which represents the daily poaching rate of 96 elephants. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the impacts of the elephant ivory trade in a non-gruesome and non-political way.In addition to her work with How Many Elephants, Holly is passionate about supporting female rangers in conservation. She has spent time on the front lines with all-female and mixed ranger teams across Africa and was inspired by their dedication and impact. This led her to create World Female Ranger Week, an annual event that highlights the challenges and achievements of female rangers. Holly is also planning to organise trips for small groups to meet and patrol with the female rangers, providing a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience while raising funds for their work.As a way to raise funds, Holly offers her services to speak at events. Holly can be reached at email@example.com, and please take a look at the websites for the charitable causes for How Many Elephants and World Female Ranger Week.
4. Access Africa: Bridging Travel Gaps with Claire Minchin28:32Claire Minchin, co-founder of Vumbua Africa, joins Graeme Watson on Kusa Cast to discuss accessible travel in Africa. The podcast also feature input from Keith Johnston, co-founder of Vumbua Africa.Claire shares her personal experiences as a social worker and as a traveler with a daughter who required a wheelchair. She highlights the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities or limited mobility when it comes to planning and enjoying a holiday. Claire and Keith have developed Vumbua Africa to address these challenges and provide inclusive travel experiences in Africa. They work closely with their clients to understand their specific needs and match them with suitable accommodations, itineraries, and transportation options. Claire emphasises the importance of clear communication and avoiding the term "accessible" in favour of describing the specific features and services available. She also discusses the adaptations made to safari vehicles and the need for continuous improvement in making travel more accessible for all.Vumbua Africa is leading the way in making travel accessible for all individuals. Through their focus on inclusivity and their partnerships with accessible accommodations and transportation providers, they are ensuring that everyone can experience the wonders of Africa. While progress has been slow, there is a growing recognition of the need for accessibility in the travel industry. With continued efforts and a commitment to inclusivity, the future of accessible travel looks promising. Let us work together to create a world where everyone can explore and enjoy the beauty of our planet.To get in touch with Claire, log onto www.vumbuaafrica.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Turning Plastic Pollution into Purposeful Design21:25In this episode of Kusa Cast, host Graeme Watson had the privilege of interviewing Alexis Cronin, the co-founder of Dunia Designs. Dunia Designs is a remarkable company driven by a powerful mission inspired by the global plastic crisis.The company was born out of a shared concern between Alexis and Evanna Cronin, who were deeply troubled by the sight of their community's streets and rivers being increasingly polluted by plastic waste. Dunia Designs uses recycled plastic and creates furniture and building materials.They aimed to clean up not just their own community but also contribute to global environmental efforts. Their team grew to include Elaine and Julia, forming a well-balanced dream team dedicated to taking Dunia Designs to new heights.Since its inception in 2016, Dunia Designs has recycled an impressive 900 tonnes of plastic waste. By purchasing furniture from Dunia Designs, customers actively participate in cleaning up the planet and supporting local initiatives while embracing sustainable shopping practices. At the heart of Dunia Designs is an unwavering commitment to providing consumers with honest and truly impactful products. Each beautiful piece is crafted from recycled waste plastic, effectively contributing to the planet's cleanup efforts and the preservation of trees.For more information on Dunia Designs, click here. You can also email the team on email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.