Francesco Galli Zugaro
Location: Iquitos, Peru and Singapore
In one line, what makes you a PUREist?
Discovering the world is in my blood and always will be.
Tell us your story – how did you get where you are today?
I had been working in The Galapagos for a number of years with the dream of creating unforgettable trips for guests looking for authentic experiences in unexplored destinations. The Peruvian Amazon felt like the perfect place to start and so I commissioned a custom-designed vessel – the Aqua Amazon – to provide guests with the utmost comfort, in the most remote and spectacular setting. This was the first cruiser of this level to set sail on this stretch of the Amazon and following a great response from our guests, we started a new build two years later – the Aria Amazon. Both cruisers were designed by architect Jordi Puig and gave guests an unprecedented level of luxury on the river. Hand-crafted Amazon River itineraries allow travellers to reach the source of the Amazon and the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve, encountering all kinds of Amazon wildlife from pink dolphins and piranha, to capuchin monkeys and toucans with the help of expert naturalist guides. Time back on the boat is spent enjoying the comfort of the suites, particularly the floor-to-ceiling windows, and delicious Peruvian cuisine from our Executive Chef, Pedro-Miguel Schiaffino.
Can you share with us your single most life-enriching experience?
Aged 25 at The Camel Fair in Pushkar – out of this world. Standing in the middle of the Rajasthani desert, having just majored in Business, I felt as though I had stepped back in time, into another world. It was here that I knew I wanted to be involved in an industry that creates experiences for adventurous minds.
What does the term ‘experiential travel’ mean to you?
For me, it means stepping out of your comfort zone and going on an adventure that will change the way you see the world, its people and cultures.
“I signed up (to PURE) as soon as I felt the passion and excitement in the founders. I like to be a market maker and not a market follower.”
Describe your ideal client: how do they approach travel?
Our clients have been everywhere, seen everything and want to experience the next big thing. They want to maintain their lifestyle but go on an adventure from 9 to 5. They want to rough it but know they have an air-conditioned floating base camp. Soft adventure is our key word these days.
What made you decide to join PURE Life Experiences and how has doing so benefitted your business?
I signed up as soon as I felt the passion and excitement in in the founders. I like to be a market maker and not a market follower. I knew that they were onto something great and I wanted Aqua Expeditions to be a part of it.
What role do you think PURE has to play in the high-end experiential travel industry?
Simple. It plays the role of judge and jury in our industry. It vets the truly authentic suppliers and matches them with the right demographic of buyer. It keeps us top of mind and relevant. It’s the show one cannot afford to miss. With all the “noise” out there, this is the one that we need to listen to.
What other brands and companies in high-end experiential travel do you admire the most?
If there were one thing you could change about the travel industry, what would it be?
Finally, who is your experiential hero?
“Discovering the world is in my blood and always will be.”