Remember sitting in math class in high school and college and wondering when you would ever use this stuff? Well, some of us may still be wondering. By now, you are all likely being inundated with emails about flights restarting, hotels reopening and foreign borders opening. In a series of what seems to be false starts, who knew math would come in so handy. When I left the finance world I often wondered if leading indicators, industrial supply management charts and rate of change graphs would telegraph into the travel industry.

It turns out they do. Now the challenge is talking economics without having the class fall asleep in the first five minutes at the mention of M1 and M2 lines. I had that pleasure doing presentations for ACTA in Canada as part of their Ready to Travel series.

Since early April, I have been honored to deliver a series of economic recovery webinars to our agency partners in the US and Canada, helping block out all the noise and look at a few indicators that tell us where the market and the economy are heading, what awaits us on the horizon, and what opportunities exist to strengthen the foundation of their businesses. This also includes comparing certain movements in 2008 versus today and seeing key differences that are encouraging about the eventual recovery. These conversations are also a reminder that the recovery is a matter of when, not if, regardless of what any talking heads on television say.

I worked in finance as the dot com bubble burst and during the 9/11 terror attacks. Even if this period has no previous playbook, the economic movements and day trading behavior still follows a pattern that is proven over decades, even with the recently announced 39% contraction in the US GDP in the second quarter.

Click this link to watch these presentations, however to help you understand why economics are important to me, you should watch this video scene from “Office Space”.  This was my previous work experience including the dreaded TPS reports.

Dear Agency Partner,

As you all know Kenya is opening August 1, Tanzania and Egypt have opened up, with more to follow. A brighter day awaits, which is why keeping our perspective is so important.  I recently read a note from an advisor partner in Canada, one I know and admire, and she talked about being exhausted, scared and frustrated. Many of us feel that way at different times. I wrote this blog for her and for everyone who feels like she does. It is our perspective that reminds us of our power and energizes us to face today, the next day, and the day after. The simplest of victories mean everything, and in this case, even something as simple as walking.

In our last adventure with Abraham and Cartagena Unida, we met Maria Angel, a young girl in one of the communities that received supplies.  Maria was born without tendons in her legs and cannot walk.

As you watch the video with this blog, you can share her excitement when Abraham’s team arrives with food and other items, including a princess-style dress that is given to her.  She is indeed a princess.  Abraham asked her and asked what she wants to be when she grows up? Her answer was simple – “I want to walk.”

In our own way, we as an industry are going to have to learn how to walk again. If that scares you, then call me. Together we can learn to do what we need to do. It’s ok to be human and to be a realist like Maria has to be. We cannot forget that we represent so much more than an industry. We represent the single largest resistance to poverty, poaching, trafficking, and a source of hope for Maria and others like her. We will learn to walk again, and we can stumble and feel vulnerable. It’s okay.

Never doubt the power of what we can accomplish together. I am pleased to report that Maria will have her surgery on her legs next month thanks to Abraham and Cartagena Unida.  Meet Maria in this video.

You are too young to know what to do. I know you want to help, but you are still too young.

Do we honestly believe our children are too young to help fix the world’s problems? The team at Big Five doesn’t think so. We demonstrated that on Friday with our first Live with Five Jr event, which was simulcast on Facebook, Zoom and Twitch.

We put a group of children looking for a challenge to fill that summer camp void in charge of a force of police and military. Working with our Kids Kouncil™, Abe in Cartagena was able to give participants a first-hand look at the situation on the ground and gave them the opportunity to make an immediate difference!  The kids made key decisions in real time in a Minecraft-like game setting. And, indeed, they did, becoming the generals leading this mission to deliver food and groceries to needy families. They succeeded in helping the nonprofit Cartagena Unida deliver 1,500 grocery packets to communities in need around the city in just two hours.

A key decision the kids made went beyond delivering food. It led the team on ground to deliver a crib to the home of a nine-week old baby who needed one. It didn’t stop there. Later, more cribs were delivered to homes in those communities. These are the same kids that led us to find ways to help these impoverished farmers as well as introducing the idea of the reusable life straw in Colombia. Now why didn’t we think of that? Because they are smarter than we are!

Check out the video! Big Five is the first travel company to broadcast a live event on the gaming platform Twitch. Don’t worry, we still talked about poop and video games. Now go clean your room (and watch the video).

Live with Five Jr. Season 1 Chapter 1 – level complete. Chapter 2 coming soon.

Big Five Tours & Expeditions has long been recognized for premier sustainable travel to more than 45 destinations in Africa and the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and the Orient, and the South Pacific. The World Travel & Tourism Council certified Big Five under its #SAFETRAVELS certification program for not only employing safety and hygiene protocols at its corporate headquarters but also for encouraging partner suppliers to follow the guidelines.

The WTTC is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. WTTC promotes sustainable growth for the Travel & Tourism sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Council Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading private sector Travel & Tourism businesses.

Together with Oxford Economics, WTTC produces annual research that shows Travel & Tourism to be one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting 330 million jobs and generating 10.3% of global GDP in 2019. Comprehensive reports quantify, compare and forecast the economic impact of Travel & Tourism on 185 economies around the world. In addition to individual country fact sheets, and fuller country reports, WTTC produces a world report highlighting global trends and 25 further reports that focus on regions, sub-regions and economic and geographic groups. Click on here for a cool video.

Wars have been fought over them, and treaties made and broken deciding them. Throughout history, the world’s borders have been as fluid as the rivers and lakes and lands that divide them. The American and Canadian border is no exception. It meanders over thousands of miles through forests, lakes, rivers, wide open fields and mountains. In fact, this border is the longest undefended border in the world.

Over the years, it has been drawn and redraw. The border between the nations actually predates the nations themselves. After the Seven Years War, France renounced its possessions in North America in 1763.

The American Revolution began in 1775 between Great Britain and the United States and came to an end with the Treaty of Paris of 1783. In the second article of the treaty, the nations agreed on all boundaries of the United States.

The Jay Treaty of 1794 created the International Boundary Commission, which would be charged with surveying and mapping the boundary between the two countries. The treaty was later superseded by the Treaty of Ghent, 1815, ending the War of 1812, which returned to pre-war boundaries. The agreed-upon boundary included the line from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut River, and proceeded down along the middle of the river to the 45th parallel of north latitude.

Armed conflict between bands of American colonists and British soldiers began in April 1775, Americans were fighting for their rights as subjects of the British crown. By the following summer, with the Revolutionary War raging, the movement for independence from Britain had grown, and delegates of the Continental Congress were faced with a vote. In mid-June 1776, a five-man committee including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin was tasked with drafting a formal statement of the colonies’ aims. The congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, largely penned by Jefferson, in Philadelphia on July 4th.

Some 91 years later, on July 1, 1867, with passage of the British North America Act, the Dominion of Canada was officially established as a self-governing entity within the British Empire. Two years later, Canada acquired the huge possessions of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and within a decade the provinces of Manitoba and Prince Edward Island had joined the Canadian federation. Canada’s legislative dependence on the United Kingdom was ended in 1982 with the enactment of the Canada Act, subsequently providing Canada with full legal sovereignty independent of the United Kingdom.

We celebrate the independence and friendship of these good neighbors. Happy Independence Day.

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