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Why Travel Matters - Jim Menge, Traveling Man

Last week I met with the CEO of a large sales company discussing, among other things, the positive disruption that travel creates. This CEO described for me a recent incentive trip attended by the top sales people and how transformative it was for the individuals as well as for his business.

I thought about that meeting this week while listening to the SKIFT podcast – “Travel PR Is the Invisible Engine Fueling Your Travel Inspiration.” I won’t recap the podcast here (you’ll want to listen to it), but what struck me was the positive disruption that travel PR firms are having on the industry by inspiring people with the desire to travel. A number of bucket-list sites online list travel as the top activity sought after.

When I started disruptingtravel.com, the idea was to start a conversation about how travel innovation and innovators disrupt the status quo of this industry. But I also wanted the conversation to discuss the ways that travel disrupts our lives. While in this initial travel matters post I could never cover all of the reasons people travel, I wanted to start by highlighting a few of the overlooked benefits that travel matters to businesses.

Travel matters for the economy

 The World Travel & Tourism Council recently published their 2015 Global Benchmarking Report indicating the positive impact that the travel industry has around the world. According to the report, every dollar spent on travel generates 3.2 dollars across the economy. That means that every dollar spent on flights, hotels, car rentals, restaurants and tourist attractions has a major impact on local and global economies.

Travel matters to the economy not only as a revenue generator but also as a job creator. The Benchmarking Report shows that travel directly employs 105 million people worldwide. For every $1 million in sales generated thirty seven jobs are created. Its no wonder that emerging economies focus so much effort on developing their travel and tourism industries.

Travel matters at work

In a work-balance article that he wrote this month for the Harvard Business Review, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage asked the question: “Are the People Who Take Vacations the Ones Who Get Promoted?” The results presented in the article show that those who take vacation increase their chances of getting a raise or a promotion. This seems to disrupt the idea that working through your vacation days will help you get ahead.

In this same article, Achor and Michelle Gielan of the Institute for Applied Positive Research found that “smart” vacations lead to improved productivity, creativity, sales and revenues. There are practical benefits to taking our vacation days as well. Not only will you be happier, you will be perceived as more productive and successful at work.

Travel matters for our growth

Travel disrupts our perspective – giving us an outlook that we might not otherwise have gained by staying in the same place or with the same people. Travel disrupts our routine – forcing us out of our ruts and reminding us that life, and the world around us, has more to offer. This disruption leads to personal growth.

“Routine is the enemy of time – it makes it fly by.”

Jedidiah Jenkins, bike rider from Oregon to Patagonia (story here)

 Travel matters to growth in business as well. During my career I have worked in companies ranging from small luxury brands to large sales and distribution channels; travel and the travel industry have always been a constant. When a company finds a way to harness the power of travel; either as a benefit, incentive or group travel experience, the business benefits from longer tenure, increased sales and greater teamwork.

 Travel matters. While that in of itself is not a disruptive idea, it hints at the potential for massive disruption for companies that understand how to embrace it.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.com.