I was joined by the esteemed Michelle Jamieson, Communications and Change Consultant at Green Door Solutions. Michelle has traveled the world and is currently based in Toronto, Canada. Apparently, Canadians love to talk about the weather, which I did not know. Hockey, I knew…but the weather was new to me.
Although born in Calgary, Michelle is definitely a third-culture kid…OK, not SO much a kid anymore, but you know what I mean. Her father is Canadia and her mother is from India. When Michelle was going into the 8th grade, her father (Walter Jamieson) got a job in Bangkok, Thailand, and moved the family there with him. Michelle attended the International School of Bangkok (ISB) and was excited by the inherently diverse population. As a multi-cultural family, they were always interested in travel, but living in Bangkok “opened the door to these incredible adventures”, Michelle explained. Travel to Southeast Asia, China, and India became much easier and she was quickly bitten by the travel bug.
The experience at ISB was such a departure from her life in Calgary and it opened Michelle’s eyes to an entirely new world. Through traveling, she also became involved in her father’s work, which was community-based tourism and looking for ways to incorporate socially responsible economic development. As Michelle matured and graduated from university, there was a clear confluence of interests between her and her father. It was from this shared experience and interest that Green Door Solutions was born.
Michelle and I had a great discussion about over-tourism, the impact of COVID-19 on traveling in general, and how responsible and thoughtful tourism can forge economic development without destroying the places that people want to go see and experience. We also went through some strategies that locations can employ to create robust tourist economies that are not solely based on the number of arrivals. Clearly, these topics are complex and nuanced and Michelle’s perspective was based on years of experience and research.
I learned a lot and you will too as you listen to this deeply insightful episode.