CONTRIBUTION TO EXPERIENTIAL TRAVEL
An individual whose efforts have directly influenced the development of the experiential travel movement – a true maverick whose commitment, curiosity and daring sets new standards for the industry at large.
RUSSEL FRIEDMAN – Wilderness Safaris
The late Russel Friedman – one of Wilderness Safaris’ co-founders, a true pioneer of experiential travel and sustainable ecotourism, a champion for vulture conservation and a true safari industry stalwart – deserves this recognition for the instrumental role he played in the growth of both Wilderness and the industry as a whole. Russel also drove Africa’s premier mountain-biking event, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, to great heights, raising millions for non-profit Children in the Wilderness.
- MIKEY CARR-HARTLEY
- MEI ZHANG
- RAUL GARCIA
- DON SHELDON
Mike Reimer, Co-founder, Churchill Wild
Mike Reimer, co-founder of Churchill Wild, is a true entrepreneur and adventurer. The first to offer walking safaris through polar bear inhabited regions of northern Manitoba, he’s always one step ahead, planning new experiences for guests. From safe, on-the-ground polar bear encounters to an innovative way for people to snorkel with wild beluga whales to a remote Tundra Camp set up in the Barren Lands for an Arctic glamping experience, Mike’s insatiable curiosity for what’s possible keeps guests intrigued and engaged.
- Charles McDiarmid, Wickaninnish Inn
- Mei Zhang, Wild China
Roque Sevilla, Chairman of the Board, Metropolitan Touring – ETICA
A lifetime spent setting and raising the bar for Ecuador’s environment, along with his well-respected business acumen, made it possible for Roque Sevilla to realize his dream of expanding the impact of his visionary purchase of 1,400 hectares (ha) of primary forest in the almost destroyed Choco region by successfully lobbying for the creation of a 17,200 ha protected area that has transformed the map of Ecuador. Visitors to the reserve’s stunning Mashpi Lodge leave inspired to forge change at home.
- Keith Vincent, CEO, Wilderness Safaris
- Louisa ‘Choppy’ Patterson, Founder, Over The Top Ltd
- Mei Zhang, Founder & CEO, WildChina
- Paul Strchan, Founder, Pandaw Expeditions Ltd
José Koechlin, Founder & CEO of Inkaterra
After co-producing Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, José Koechlin established Inkaterra in 1975. Pioneering ecotourism in Peru, the brand works a holistic approach enhancing scientific research, conservation and sustainability. José has sponsored flora and fauna inventories, defining areas of influence: the Amazon rainforest, Machu Picchu cloud forest, the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Cabo Blanco coastline. Eco-friendly activities include the World Birding Rally; the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway; the world’s largest native orchid collection (372 species); and the Andean Bear Rescue Project. Having trained 4000 locals and annually catering for 100,000 travellers, Inkaterra confirms its commitment to culture and biodiversity.
- Mike McHugo, Owner of Mountain Voyage & Kasbah Du Toubkal
- Mike and Jeanne Reimer, Business Development & Logistics/President & Head Chef at Churchill Wild
- Olaf Malver, Chief Exploratory Officer at Natural Habitat Adventures
- Tom Bodkin, Director & Co-Founder of Secret Compass
George Butterfield – Butterfield & Robinson
In 1980, George Butterfield introduced (or more accurately, reintroduced, after a few valiant attempts and innovative spins) the concept of immersive deluxe biking trips for adults, virtually creating from scratch the category of travel that’s now known as ‘luxury active’. But doing so was many years in the making…
In 1966, law student George Butterfield teamed up with his brother-in-law Sidney Robinson and wife Martha to create and lead a 59-day bike trip from Naples to London with 43 students. They rode around Bavaria, hiked the Swiss Alps, explored the quays of Paris and visited the galleria and palazzi in Florence, savouring the local specialities as they went. George thought he had struck on something special. So in 1974, B&R joined with Lufthansa to offer an adult version of the trips in the Bavarian Alps. Not one person booked.
In 1979 another great travel idea emerged: Shipwreck Travel. For $600 each, travellers would be taken to a deserted Caribbean island with just a bathing suit, a plastic sheet and a bucket – simulating real survival in a beautiful place. Despite planning 15 departures in the first year, he ran one trip. Everyone hated it.
But George remained undaunted. A true entrepreneur, he knew that success in business depends upon three things: innovation, surrounding yourself with talented people and good timing (along with persistence, of course). In 1980 he relaunched his bike trip concept with far more success… We would say the rest is history, but we’d hate to be so cliché.
LUKE BAILES – FOUNDER OF SINGITA
One of Africa’s safari pioneers, Luke Bailes opened the first Singita Game Reserve lodge in 1993 and has since helped to redefine the traditional safari experience by introducing high-end tourism to the continent, in the form of luxury mobile camps. Dedicated to environmentally conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation and the empowerment of local communities, Luke has made a real difference to the lives of local people and continues to push boundaries for better tourism. He has won several awards for Singita, including Best Hotel in the World by US Travel + Leisure.
“Bailes is streets ahead anyone else in his field… He gets my vote for doing so much over such a long period of time.” – Colin Bell