I was delighted to be invited to present a motivational ‘keynote’ to a 1000 delegates at the TAFI (Travel Agents Federation of India) annual convention at the International Convention Centre in Durban. This takes place from February 24 to 27, 2013. The theme is ‘Navigating the Future’ and the topic given to me, ‘Golden Horizons’.
I immediately linked my message to stays at the beautiful Oyster Box Hotel where the view of sunrise from my window is often magnificent. The horizon appears ‘golden’. Out at sea there are always ships waiting to enter Durban Harbour and the lighthouse outside the Oyster Box is a beacon to them, helping them with their navigation.
My ‘brief’ for this keynote included ‘keep it light’ and this suits my style. The tribute which I wrote in their honour and used as the introduction follows:
‘Tourism’? – I’m not sure what it really means
But now I know it is not what it seems.
‘Free trips galore!’ I always thought with glee
‘That’s the industry where I want to be.’
I’ve never considered the lonely nights
Away from family and home delights.
The sacrifices you make are many and great
I know there is absolutely no debate.
Upmarket Hotels can be sterile and cold
(Most of them fit into the jolly-same mold.)
Through glass you see the pulse of the city
But your feelings are numbed and that is a pity.
You’d love to go out and meet the real nation
But alas you must work so you stay at your station.
How do you touch the soul of this place
When airport-venue-hotel are base?
And when taxis take you from one to the other
You wind down the window and shout: ‘Hi, Brother!’
But no-one listens to your desperate cry
To them you are just another passer-by.
Yet travelling alone is some-times a gift
Group travel takes you on a different drift.
The challenges and issues of travelling fellows
Sound loud in your ears like a pair of bellows.
You scream and shout inside your head
But calmly smile and serve instead.
‘Come to my Kingdom!’ the Big Voices say
And it doesn’t take much - you gladly obey.
So you take up the challenge and come from afar
To learn from each other ‘cause that’s how you are.
You carefully build and plan for the future
Great things ahead you’ll continue to nurture.
You truly are a remarkable bunch
And that is not just a presenter’s hunch
My tribute comes from deep down in my heart
And I hope it will give you a really good start.
The ending summarised the content of the keynote:
With the travel trade industry in turbulent transition
The last few years have been an ongoing mission
Strong partnerships like BRICS have effectively arisen
Now the future looks good on the ‘golden horizon’.
So count the ships as you look out to sea
And ask yourself: ‘How would I captain if it were me’?
Clear in our minds must be the stern talk
‘People follow a captain and not a cork’!