Safari companies often tout seeing the Big Five – Cape Buffalo, lion, African elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros. Did you know there is also a “Northern Five” of iconic creatures that are primarily found in the national parks and conservancies north of Nairobi?
I spent most of May at an Ayurveda hospital in India, located on the grounds of a former resort and geared more to Westerners than domestic patients. Since medical tourism is a growing field and I’ve had so many friends in the industry ask me about my experience, I thought I should share a few thoughts about my sojourn at CGH Earth Ayurveda’s Kalari Rasayana.
After venturing twice to Ethiopia in the last two years with Addis Abbas-based Jacaranda Tours, I’ve come to the conclusion that four weeks there just isn’t enough time to explore one of the world’s largest and most diverse nations. With culture, history and landscapes as the focus rather than just wildlife or beaches, Ethiopia stands far apart from other African destinations. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this intriguing country.
Gudmundur Kjartansson, a native Icelander, is the co-owner of Iceland ProCruises and Iceland ProTravel companies. With over 23 years of experience in Iceland tourism and selling trips to Iceland abroad, the cruise line is beginning their third year of operation specifically focused on Iceland as the destination. Read the rest of this entry »
During my career, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the world’s most ardent conservationists, many of them involved in preserving wild places through “conservancies” — an innovative concept that utilizes private or community owned land for the purpose of wildlife conservation.
People often ask me about conservancies (what exactly are they?) and why they should go to one verses a national park or government game reserve. I’m a big fan of conservancies and thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned about them over the years, as well as some of the differences between visiting a conservancy and a national park.
So many agents I visit around the country seem afraid to sell what they perceive as “exotic” destinations to their clients. They always come up with lots of don’ts and can’ts on why their customers aren’t taking (or don’t want to take) more adventurous trips.
I think the main reason more agents don’t branch away from selling traditional vacations and getaways is a fear of selling what they don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a fancy name for that—like fear of clowns (coulrophobia) or fear of chickens (alektorophobia). But it sure is easier to come up with reasons why you “can’t” or your clients “won’t” than actually branching out and learning about new destinations.
Here are my responses to common objections that I often hear in the field:
“My client’s can’t afford to go there”
I’ve made a living selling wildlife and nature trips for the last 27 years – working with travel and safari companies that have programs to visit iconic bucket list species from mountain gorillas to rhinos to jaguars.
Not only are the agents who sell these trips making high commissions, but if the trip is done correctly, they are also helping to save those species. These agents have tapped into a whole group of avid travelers who aren’t counting countries – but are tallying animals they have seen in the wild.
A Growing Area of Tourism
Tourism wasn’t developed to save the planet. But that’s exactly what certain sections of the industry find themselves doing in the 21st century — aiding and abetting the conservation of certain species (and by extension, other flora and fauna that live in their ecosystems) through a collaboration of national parks and governments, private companies, conservationists, and local communities who have a vested interest in the survival of these animals. Read the rest of this entry »