&Beyond CEO Joss Kent believes travel has evolved beyond the ‘take only photos, leave only footprints’ mantra to ‘take memories and leave a legacy’. In light of the announcement of the introduction of the Palau Pledge, perhaps Kent is onto something.
He says that a new breed of ‘aware’ traveller is now looking towards responsible luxury travel and eco accommodation design, and that ‘the wild places of this world need us to do better …’.
“Whatever direction travel takes in 2018, sustainability will be at the absolute core of everything,” Kent asserts, adding that Wellness is also an increasingly important focus for many travellers.
“People are travelling, not to escape their daily lives but, to enrich them and this includes looking after their personal wellbeing.”
“Luxury is about authentic experiences [and] this plays directly to our strengths, as our company model has always been to embrace the soul of each iconic destination through delivering interpretive experiences, meticulously planned by our travel experts and delivered by finely trained guides.”
&Beyond also ensures that sustainability is an entrenched part of the lodge design process. The company believes that less is often more, and emphasises the field experience that its rangers, guides and hosts offer over opulent lodge design.
“We are focusing our energy and time on trying to make sure that we build sustainably but, at the same time, don’t lose the creative edge that differentiates our guests’ experience.
“The game lodge of the future has a light footprint and uses 100% renewable energy,” says Kent. “It uses no plastic, has a zero carbon offset, a sensitive ecological footprint and a sensitive design, with a strong sense of place. It is small and community centred. Conservation and voluntourism activities form part of the daily routine and many more activities are offered, such as walking, cycling, canoeing and riding. This is what we are hoping to work towards in our future plans.”
Companies like &Beyond have also been breaking down the barriers and including guests in the activities that take place behind the scenes, in terms of conservation and community. Insightful tours with &Beyond’s community development partner, Africa Foundation, give travellers a glimpse into the rural communities surrounding &Beyond’s lodges, prompting many to get involved in projects aimed at improving education, healthcare and access to water, as well as the development of local businesses.
“We must conserve, we must protect and we must create economic shared value with the communities that depend on the wildlife areas that we influence for their livelihood.”
Joss Kent’s 2018 destinations to watch
- “Bhutan is a country that offers an incredibly special travel experience and we have big plans for the future there.”
- After a few years of hardship, the future also looks bright for Kenya, where the company will be relaunching the fully refurbished &Beyond Bateleur Camp in the Masai Mara in March 2018
- &Beyond also has great hopes for Chile, where 17 national parks are soon expected to be linked in the ‘Route of Parks’, creating an exceptional wilderness haven in the country
- Keep an eye on the ever growing food scenes of Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago and Mendoza