During the Better Together: Finding Your Place in The Sustainability Impact Chain session at PURE Life Experiences – the trade show that returned to Marrakech for its first physical reappearance since before the pandemic – attendees heard that collaboration was also key.
“Travel designers play a central role – we are in such a powerful potential position because we can send customers to places that will really make a difference,” said Henry Comyn, CEO and co-founder of Joro Experiences. and co-founder. of the Conscious Travel Foundation (photo top right). “It’s really a significant change. Of course, customers have the final say, but it’s about having the conversation with them and on the supply side, connecting the right projects to create a journey based on conservation to show them the positive impact they can have.
Chaired by Holly Tuppen, Communications Manager for The Long Run (photo above left), the session highlighted one such project, in which three remote Brazilian lodges have teamed up to offer a conservation-focused itinerary where guests can observe maned wolves, white-whiskered spider monkeys and jaguars.
Brazil’s Big Three – Ultimate Wildlife Experience tour kicked off this month and was created with conservation tourism organization The Long Run, Brazilian non-profit Oncafari Association and UK marketing and Senderos public relations.
It starts at Pousada Trijuncao in the Cerrado savannah, where guests hunt maned wolves with the Oncafari team, visit a regeneration farm, and try bike safari and kayaking. Guests then head to Cristalino Lodge in the southern Amazon rainforest, accessible only by boat. They will travel up a private stretch of the Cristalino River, trying to spot endemic white whisker spider monkeys. The final destination is Caiman’s Casa Caiman, which offers the chance to track jaguars in the wild with Oncafari, participate in a horseback trek, and observe blue hyacinth macaw conservation work.
“If others envision success, they’ll change and want to too,” Comyn said. “We need to educate customers with storytelling and lead from the heart in sending customers to supported projects like this.”
The spirit of collaboration must be encouraged more generally, urged Roberto Klabin, founder of one of the creators of Brazil’s Big Three participants, Caiman Ecological Refuge. His project in the Brazilian Pantanal, a vast natural area larger than England, was the first of its kind to focus on regeneration, conservation and ecotourism and is combined with his family’s original working ranch.
After starting the project in 1987 and creating a large ecological corridor, he noted how the impact of a global rise in temperatures had been evident for his part of the world, with wildfires on an unprecedented scale. and predicted temperature increases of 4-6%.
“Climate change will continue to affect everything: the future we expect is much worse than you can imagine,” he said. “We lost 60% of our forest in 2019, but we are learning to work together locally to be always ready when the fire starts again, such as digging boreholes, installing water tanks, creating early warning systems and fund firefighters.
“Private enterprise can be a game-changer, and it’s so important to encourage partners to share your programs – we focus on projects that are essential to our survival.”
In addition to his work at Oncafari for his Jaguar Habituation Project, which successfully regenerated two orphaned jaguars, Caiman is known for conservation efforts such as providing a base for the Hyacinth Macaw Institute, allowing monitoring macaw nests for data. and help recover the population of the species throughout the Pantanal and remove it from the endangered species list.
Comyn added that he appreciates how overwhelming it can feel for a small business to know where to start in the world of sustainability, but said one of the reasons the Conscious Travel Foundation was established in 2020 was to help small travel companies focus on what they could do.
“We offer a handrail to help people take this road, offering tools to get you there,” he said. “We all get there much faster if we work together. The pressure has often been put on hotels to do all the work, but travel designers can have a big impact: get involved, set the intention to do better, get involved with causes.
“Changing the way you run your business is hard work and sustainability isn’t easy, but our vision is that all businesses should have a positive impact.”
As well as having a positive impact on the environment and responsible tourism, he added that there are other tangible benefits to operating this way: “You will see repeat business and develop a team that won’t let you down. not, because they believe in what you are doing.”
Also speaking at the panel, Lisa Grainger, freelance journalist and associate and travel editor of Luxx timetables (in the photo, second from the right), said she was starting to appreciate the role she could play even more.
“I’ve always had an interest in conservation, but being a luxury travel journalist meant I also questioned some of the other things I wrote about – and then came to appreciate more of the impact I could have by writing about projects like Brazil’s Big Three,” she told delegates. “My role is to tell their stories, get people there, and inspire them to care. and come back. The next generation is even greener and more responsible, and we need to recognize their changing attitude.