Shannon Guihan of Bannikin Travel & Tourism Ltd. in this interview shares her tourism and sustainability story: what first got her interested in the topic, her key insights and the main challenges ahead for destinations. She also tells us about her work with the TreadRight Foundation and how to address overtourism – destination overcrowding.
- Why Shannon Guihan decided to focus her career on tourism and sustainability;
- How the TreadRight Foundation supports a more sustainable tourism;
- The growing issue of overtourism, and how destination managers can address it;
- The main destination challenges in connection with sustainability;
- 3 essential ingredients for an authentic travel experience;
- The current state of tourism sustainability in Canada, and the USA;
- How destination managers can use sustainability for reputational and competitive advantage.
Shannon, your professional career has included work for companies, non-profits and, since 2011, consulting with Bannikin. Do you remember what got you interested in tourism in the first place?
I absolutely do. I’m from Newfoundland, Canada, a province on the East Coast. My first job, at 16, was as a sea kayak guide. I guided all throughout my undergraduate degree and became rather involved with tourism on the island, which I quickly understood to be ‘happening’. The cod fisheries on the island were closed in 1992, and the growth of the tourism industry was, in part, a reaction, so it was happening quickly and, from my perspective on the water, without check.
This clear shift from a heavy to a soft industry was not exclusive to Canada, and is the reason why I pursued an MSc in Tourism & the Environment. To understand the checks.
How has your view on tourism and sustainability changed over time? Your key insights?
In short – it has to be market-driven and consumer demand-proven. I think we’re seeing a shift towards the former these days, but I’m afraid I remain disappointed with the latter.