World Tourism Day with Dale Colbran: Tourism and the Digital Transformation

Please tell us a bit about who you are, what Caribou Trading Crossing Post does, and what you do on a daily basis in your role.

I am a management consultant and operate site management at Caribou Crossing Trading Post in Carcross, Yukon, Canada.

Caribou Crossing Trading Post is a business which operates an 800 seat dining room, RCMP Museum, Natural Wildlife Museum, café and ice cream shop, petting farm, Dog Mushing Camp (with 150 high performance athletic sled dogs from Iditarod and Yukon) and Quest Sled dog races. The business caters to excursion guests from Skagway Alaska Cruise Boats and we serve meals and rides for up to 1000 guests per day in 3 hours. This is Yukon Tourism and we are the largest tourist operation in Northern Canada.

It’s World Tourism Day on September 27; what do you think are the benefits of having a day dedicated to celebrating tourism?

I believe the hospitality and tourism sector needs more exposure to the benefits of the industry as a career. The industry also has an obligation to compete with other industries with regards to workplace practise to recruit and retain today’s associates which provide rewarding experiences to hospitality guests.

A celebration of the millions of people employed in this industry worldwide is an awakening to the public at large as the size and strength of the economic engine created by tourism worldwide and in specific geographic areas.

How are Caribou Trading Crossing Post currently transforming your customers’ tour experience with technology? And what would you like to do in the future?

The evolution of technology is slow in the north and digitalisation is not quite at the speed required without very large infrastructure and capital projects.

We have used industry standards to improve our business model with a 5 year directional plan for the logistics of our tourism. We are researching how our guests perceive the experiences we offer and how we can better serve them and change perceptions of our experience through re-investment and training and hiring practises which emphasize serving spirits.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) sees digital advances and innovation as a path towards a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector. Why do you think this is?

Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda.

Finally, what advice would you give to those aspiring to work in the tourism industry - such as our tourism and hospitality students?

The future of the industry will require leaders to inspire the total workforce that the tourism and hospitality is a long term career choice.

The leaders of industry should strive to make hospitality environments a ‘best practise’ workplace to attract and retain the best people.

The inspiration for industry is adopt genuine serving spirits is the calling for our industry.

If you have been inspired or motivated by the words of Dale Colbran then you should check out the tourism and hospitality courses on offer at TSoM.

Happy World Tourism Day!