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Peter Syme on Survival. From bomb disposal to saving a tour business during the pandemic

Described by some tour operators as the ‘Yoda’ or ‘Mr. Miyagi‘ of the tour and activities industry, Peter Syme shares some of his life and business lessons in a special Tourpreneur Spotlight.

Peter Syme joins me today to discuss the evolving travel industry and how activity and tour businesses can survive and find success. 

He shares his military experiences and the lessons he’s learned from his military career. We discuss why continued education is vital and personal, and how you can research courses, and who is delivering them to ensure your time and money are spent well. 

Peter Syme shares what business actions to prioritize, including focusing on surviving first and adapting to provide the most effective online and offline experiences. 

He highlights how businesses that focus on the most difficult things and recognize that the customer is in control are the ones that succeed. He also highlights why you need to change your guest journey for the post-COVID world, the importance of understanding the interdependencies between industries, and that partnerships and outsourcing may be needed for business growth.


What’s going to move the needle and help your business? You can kind of think about that in ways that you can increase your revenue and your profitability.

Ruzwana Bashir


This week on Tourpreneur, the Tour Operator Podcast:

  • How Peter joined the military intending to see the world.
  • Why discipline is more reliable than motivation in finding success and achieving goals.
  • Making the jump from the military to the corporate world, and then to travel.
  • The importance of reading, courses, and dedicating time to learning.
  • Why Peter finds learning in a digital environment less effective than a classroom environment.
  • The paradox of choice and how Peter researches courses and what he looks for.
  • Adapting your business, strategy, and financial model as the world becomes more digital.
  • Why you should focus on local business, where to focus your marketing, and understanding the psychology of your customer.
  • Why OTAs are investing in advertising local tours and how this may change the industry.
  • How the success of digital virtual tours will affect their price

Today’s episode of Tourpreneur is kindly sponsored by Ventrata


Who is Peter Syme?

Having traveled to over 130 countries, Managing Director of 1000 Mile Journeys Peter Syme,  is passionate about adventure travel. He is a sought-after digital leadership and transformation conference speaker. Peter also co-hosts the Travel Industry Mavericksshow on Tourpreneur.

Peteris the owner and operator of several niche adventure travel companies, including Splash White Water Rafting, and gives back to the travel industry as a mentor and strategic advisor to startups. Upon leaving school, Peter joined the military, eventually going through officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.


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