Just as the world has become so much smaller, opening new horizons of intercultural understanding, a tide of nationalist sentiment appears to be rising. Change is frightening for some. But for those of us who’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the world outside our own cultural borders, it’s exciting. People who travel encounter the “other” as people who live somewhere else, yet have the same core values and dreams we do. Superficial differences don’t faze those who’ve been out in the world, experiencing the vast diversity of human social organization. That’s because we’ve discovered something deeper and that something is shared humanity. Incentive travel promotes cultural understanding because it takes your employees inside cultures they might not normally have a chance to experience. And experience is one of the most desired components of incentive travel, in recent years, as it is across the global travel industry. We could tell you about all the facets of incentive travel that contribute to understanding across varying cultures, but we’d rather tell you a personal story that we believe drives the point home.
At Incentive Travel Group, we’ve been planning and executing premium travel incentive experiences for more than 20 years. Over that time, we’ve had many unforgettable experiences and heard many more from our clients. But one stands out above all others. On a recent travel incentive, one of our clients was on a corporate retreat. The destination was the small village of Las Animas de Quimixto, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The village being accessible only by water taxi, the group was both surprised and delighted by the absence of sophisticated infrastructure. Only a few of the group spoke any Spanish, but they found the locals in Las Animas willing to breach the language barrier with openness. That’s how one of member of the group, a curious millennial, learned about the lives of local fishermen and the bioluminescent algae, visible in the water at night. Luis and Patty bridged the linguistic and cultural barriers which separate people, because of their shared interest in the world around them. They found a sweet spot between their cultures which united them in shared experience and common humanity. Because of Luis, Patty also discovered that the local high school needed help developing critical learning supports. She and others local to the area, have been able to start the process of connecting the students there with educational resources that offer them access to 21st Century learning. This one incentive travel encounter broke through the wall between Luis and Patty and created something of lasting resonance and great value. That’s how incentive travel promotes cultural understanding – one person at a time. At Incentive Travel Group, we know we live on a small planet. We’re living expansively on it when we seek to tear down walls, rather than build them. Our time on this planet is short and ITG is spending it building those crucial cultural bridges to understanding and friendship through incentive travel. Contact us to find out more.