SCMP, Education Post: TEDxVictoriaHarbour2013: Evolution of Travel

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SCMP, Education Post: TEDxVictoriaHarbour2013: Evolution of Travel by Jin Wong

Held at the historic Sunbeam Theatre in North Point, theTEDxVictoriaHarbour 2013 event brought together people from different countries, age groups and backgrounds to hear an enlightening series of talks by a diverse group of speakers. In this context, TED stands for “technology, entertainment, design”, the original topics for these non-profit conferences which were first organised in 1984. The range of themes has since become much broader, with the aim of sharing world-changing ideas by some of the world’s leading thinkers.

What makes TEDx different is that it is an independently organised event – the “x” denotes that – giving individuals at a local level a similar experience. The intention is to connect with a smaller audience to stimulate discussion, while sustaining the legacy of TED’s big vision of sharing ideas of importance.

The main theme of the TEDxVictoriaHarbour event is to consider what that the beautiful harbour contributes to Hong Kong tourism.

This year’s organisers, Craft House and Celebrating Life, invited speakers to look at different travel-related aspects from their varying perspectives. They included filmmaker Dean Head, “eco-preneur” Bobsy, chef Chris Hora, professional violinist Erica Lee, adventure traveller Andrea Oschetti, architect Tom Schmidt, designer Jim Spear, entrepreneur Tony Verb, journalist Nury Vittachi, photographer Simon Wan, and Instagram expert Tyson Wheatley.

“Travel and tourism have become more accessible, creating a traveller who is more discerning and looking for new experiences,” said Yvette Jong, founder and director of co-organiser Craft House. “TEDxVictoriaHarbour aims to foster greater innovation in tourism and travel to capture and address this need by engaging people from all aspects of society.”

Speakers showcased their experiences, with Tyson Wheatley showing the sell-out crowd his passion for Instagram with photos of his travels posted on the social media network. Jim Spear explained how hiring interns from around the world helps to produce innovative ideas for his hotel business at Mutianyu Great Wall Village in Beijing. And Nury Vittachi entertainingly illustrated how local syntax can change meanings when English is spoken in different parts of the world. For example, even the word “yes” can really mean “no” depending on how and where it is used. Other misuse or misunderstanding of various linguistic terms can cause humour or offence. The common goal for each speaker was to spread the message that education is vital, but the experience of travel and meeting people from other countries is also an invaluable source of learning.

“TEDx is about bringing together people who are willing to share knowledge,” said Bess Hepworth, organiser of TEDxHappyValley, a successful event held in April.

A sold out crowd at TEDxVictoriaHarbour to hear varied perspectives on travel and tourism at the historic Sunbeam Theatre.

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