It may only contain two letters, but it’s an event of epic proportions.
G Adventures’ inaugural tourism summit, called “GX,” kicks off in Peru today (Sept. 22), marking the start of a multi-day extravaganza that’s designed to showcase the power of community tourism.
PAX is on location in Peru covering the invite-only event, which has welcomed travel advisors, suppliers, media and travellers from around the world.
Made-in-Canada G Adventures, a community tourism pioneer, is calling the gathering “a travel convention unlike any the world has seen before.”
This weekend, and into next week, participants will break out into groups and set out on dedicated itineraries through this diverse region of South America that's home to a section of the Amazon rainforest and ancient Incan ruins.
As media, PAX will begin its adventure in Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, once capital of the Inca Empire, where we’ll unpack the Sacred Valley, visit G for Good projects, meet locals, and explore nearby archeological sites and temples.
And we’ll travel to nearby towns, such as Aguas Calientes, which sits at the foot of the famous 15th-century Inca citadel Machu Picchu.
G Adventures says holding the summit in Peru was “strategic” as it will help support the country, which it says has struggled with its return to pre-COVID tourism numbers due to recent civil unrest.
Attendees will visit local enterprises developed in partnership with G’s non-profit, Planeterra, which helps communities use tourism as a catalyst to improve people's lives, protect their natural environments, and celebrate their culture.
The summit will culminate on World Tourism Day, on Sept. 27, where all attendees will come together for a day of inspiring keynote talks and lively discussions.
The conversations will tackle important issues, such as how community tourism can have a long and lasting (and positive) impact on communities – especially for women.
Canadian travel advisors will be on the scene, too – this year’s 2023 Change Makers event will also be hosted as part of GX.
"The countdown is on"
David Green, global VP of sales & customer operations and managing director for Canada at G Adventures, arrived in Lima, Peru's capital, on Thursday (Sept. 21) and is beyond excited to get started.
"The countdown is on to G Adventures' most impactful event of all time,” said Green, who will welcome travel advisors as they arrive on Friday.
Agent partners will be joining the summit as official “Change Makers,” Green told PAX.
“We're going to show them firsthand what a positive impact they have on local people and communities whenever they book a traveller with us,” he said.
Green also noted the “incredible line up of speakers” who will be sharing their knowledge and experiences at the first World Community Tourism Summit on World Tourism Day on Sept. 27.
“We're going to have a lot of fun, too!” he said.
Bruce Poon Tip, founder of both G Adventures and Planeterra, echoed that same level of enthusiasm.
“I can’t wait to show our community of communities just how transformative travel can be when it’s done right – not just for local people, but also for our guests as they see what a pivotal role they play in empowering people working in the tourism sector,” Poon Tip said previously.
“GX is an evolution of all the events we have hosted over the years – it's bigger and better than any that have come before it. We have an incredible lineup of inspiring and influential speakers who are all committed to making the world a better place through travel. I am grateful and humbled they are joining us, and are enthusiastic to share their personal journeys and knowledge.
“We’ve been showcasing the beautiful concept of community tourism to our travellers for years, and I can’t wait to welcome our guests to Peru to also show them what it's all about, and to have a lot of fun at the same time.”
Get your gold on
And by fun, he means FUN.
In addition to introducing guests to impactful local experiences, GX will conclude with a dinner and “gold-themed party” in the ancient temple of Qorikancha, in Cusco, to celebrate Planeterra’s 20th anniversary.
“The excitement amongst the agents is incredible!” Green told PAX. “I’m getting lots of questions about the ‘gold’ theme party, which is going to be epic. Just like my gold theme evening attire!"
If you thought that was fabulous, just wait until you see who they’ve booked for the afterparty: The Village People – yes, the iconic disco troupe known for such high-energy hits as Y.M.C.A, Macho Man, Go West and In The Navy – will be the night’s featured act.
Young man, there's no need to feel down…GX starts now!
Stay tuned for PAX’s in-depth on-location coverage of G Adventures’ GX summit in Peru!