While the two terms are sometimes uses interchangeably or synergized, they are in fact, not the same. Tourism, is a subset of culture. Reason? Simply put, culture is a way of living, a daily practice, mannerisms, attitudes, or set of habits that define an individual, a particular social group, or even a country. By contrast, in my view, tourism can be likened to aesthetic culture, that includes highlighting the best that a particular country or location has to offer, such as the beaches, the local cuisine, the climate, the nightlife, the hotels and the variety and calibre of shopping options.
In relation to businesses, a similar scenario also exists. In that regard, I am of the view that harnessing a savoury business culture should never be too far removed from the thoughts of any entrepreneur for several reasons. These include:
1. Business culture is a long-term investment: People initially shop and invest with their eyes. In other words, they must like what they see about you and your business before they decide to move on to step two. Therefore, taking the added responsibility of ensuring that you present the best of your curated culture to encapsulate your personal values and that of your country, will inevitably draw prospective and return shoppers-cum-investors to your business, without overwhelming you financially and physically.
2. Business culture is a feasible concept: Unlike business tourism which ideally, is intended to be an in-person, direct experience, business culture can successfully operate as a hybrid concept. It can be experienced through interactions with nationals of a country both in-person and virtually. However, unlike tourism which usually has a specific aim and targeted audience, culture doesn’t require any particular demographic to be present, in order for it to be enjoyed. As a matter of fact, this culture can be appreciated from the comfort of one’s home, or not too far from it. Especially in a time of COVID-19 when most parts of the world are either experiencing another series of lockdowns, or cautiously re-opening, showcasing business culture virtually for now, is arguably the most responsible, pragmatic option.
3. Business culture is more commonplace than business tourism: Business culture is both familiar and omnipresent. In Trinidad and Tobago for example, such culture can be as simple as observing the nearest doubles vendor or pie-seller in action. By contrast, business tourists are specifically and strategically courted by state parties or business chambers, since these tourists (can) invest significant amounts of cash and infrastructure into a country, or large business entity. Arguably, while business tourism can also exist at the micro-level, it is generally devoid of the technical issues such as bureaucracy, location, accommodation, travelling, advertising and financing that accompany stakeholders in business tourism.
Everyday as an entrepreneur, life subconsciously showcases us and our business culture to a world of curious onlookers. Let’s always showcase the best that we have to offer!
Key words: LinkedIn Caribbean, business culture, business tourism, values, traditions