As I was gently reclining and enjoying the sand swept surrounds, my thoughts turned to predicting the future for tourism in South Australia.
I was prompted by a chance observation.
A young man of Chinese American origin was talking to me as we were being given our “boogie” boards for sailing down the dunes.
He mentioned he’d been feeling a little unwell, and sneezed.
I didn’t think much of it until, about 30 minutes later, I, too, sneezed.
When I turned around, I noticed some other people now sneezing.
And that’s when I was gripped by a terrible fear; if a novel virus were to emerge, would we be ready?
Books lead to and bookings and lookings
My suggestion is that we will be vulnerable to viruses or even pandemics if we don’t move to a new normal of covering our mouths when we sneeze.
In history, people have tried different methods from suggesting people sneeze into their elbows (which really means sneezing into the acute angle of the arm created when the elbow joint flexion) to the wearing of masks.
But my solution is simpler. If people carry good business textbooks with them at all times, they would simply need to hold the book up to their faces, sneeze into the pages and then squeeze the book shut. By choosing rather dry texts like Marketing by Kotler et al, one will rarely be tempted to re-open a sneezed-into page, thus rendering the virus trapped.
As a by-product of this move, reading will increase and our population will become much more thoughtful and curious.
And curious travellers are good for the economy.
If the South Australian Tourism Commission were to tap into this curiosity, it could run campaigns featuring wonderful, abstract photographs of our state and asking people to #Tell_Us_Where or, better still, #GuessWhereIveBeen?
I also foresee that curious travellers would be keen to see how the locals live and do what they do.
Not only would this lead to bookings in regional establishments, but tourists would wander the streets, approach locals’ homes and peer in through their windows to see what they’re doing.
It would become a common sight to have tourists then trying to recreate the mannerisms of locals during their stays, akin to a live and immersive game of charades.
These “lookings” as we might call them will really bring communities together and SA Tourism could curate social content with the hashtag #GuessWhoIveSeen?
We have a mixed and challenging future ahead but with good people like Brent Hill at the helm, and rich sources of MBA Thinking as found in schools like ours, South Australia has a bright future.