An Outsider in Tourism
I have never been to a tourism school or worked in tourism. Perhaps for that reason I questioned everything so easily.
Someone said: "there is nothing worse than an expert to prevent progress in a certain area."
Makes sense, right? We look at reality from our paradigm - of our specialty - and this is good for some things, to efficiently execute what we know already, but for others not so much, e.g. to innovate - given that can limit other viewing angles.
The specialist is usually too addicted to his conditioning (prejudices and beliefs) and this makes it difficult to look beyond what he believes in.
In the Living Tours project, I believed in Portugal, in the people, in the scenic and architectural beauty, in history, culture and gastronomy, a true patriot with the purpose of wanting to show the world the best we have, we are and know how to do!
At the time, I had three business areas I could carry out, with the economic viability projects designed and “made possible on paper”:
- An online B2B and B2C wine distribution platform;
- A door to door distribution of newspapers and magazines, very American and Japanese style;
- A business of guided tours to show the Portuguese cultural historical heritage.
The projects with the best economic and financial viability on paper were those outside tourism, given that leisure tourism was non-existent at that time, still with no low-cost companies and a sustained number of visitors.
My decision was made based in my purpose of pride and patriotism, to change what I believed into reality, to create a business of guided visits to the historical cultural heritage, to offer the world the possibility to experience the best we have, we are and know to do in Portugal, later extended to Spain.
The positive side of being an outsider - it was having risked completely in the dark, I did know that without a sustained tourism (insignificant in Porto at the time), I would never be successful or avenged in tourism.
It was the search of the purpose, without stopping, with no fear, in the search for results without ever giving up, with the normal resilience of an entrepreneur, making a dream come true.
The downside of being an outsider - it was taking too many risks I wouldn't take today, it was making a small mistake to make a big one, learning from mistakes continuously and always adapting, until you get the results.
As Charles Darwin said:
“It is not the strongest who survive, but the ones with the greatest adaptability.”