CELEBRATING UNSUNG HEROES OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY

Looking at great people doing extraordinary things for the environment and the community across the globe


During these challenging times we are shining a light on individuals who have shown grit and determination in pioneering sustainable tourism.  Whether it be turning the conservation model on its head, implementing genuine initiatives in community welfare or a passion for protecting this fragile eco-system from all four corners of the globe. When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, we hope that you will choose to explore these diverse and treasured destinations, engage with local communities and observe a rich seam of wildlife under the watchful eye of these inspiring people.
**LOCAL HEROES**

UK & EUROPE

PAULA CARNELL, THE NEWT IN SOMERSET’S RESIDENT BEEKEEPER
– Global Bee consultant supporting healthy colonies, the environment and ultimately our wellbeing

The Newt in Somerset, a vast working country estate that opened in Summer 2019, celebrates all things Somerset and country living, bringing back the age old traditions and crafts of the county through various seasonal events and workshops. Designed for guests to share questions and skills, as well as inspire creativity, The Newt’s resident beekeeper and global bee consultant, Paula Carnell, is leading the way in throwing a spotlight on the fascinating life of bees and honey production that benefits both bee colonies and humans.

Passionate about creating the best home for bees so that they can thrive and live in harmony with humans and their environment, Paula is traditionally trained in bee care with the BBKA and author of ‘A to Bees’; she follows a treatment free approach by not choosing to use chemical medications in her hives or feed the bees sugar. Paula believes firmly in rearing strong, healthy colonies that are adapted to their local environment – seeking to prove that local is always best. This all comes as part of a personal quest that Paula undertook, from being struck down in 2008 by the debilitating Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, during which time she was bed and wheelchair bound, to achieving a full recovery in 2016 through treating herself, becoming a medical herbalist and bee consultant at The Newt, where she works alongside her husband who is Cyder & Cellar Master there (and who gave her the gift of a bee hive).

There are many similarities between human health and that of bees, from diet and pollution to poor immunity. She conducts a Bee Safari every Monday and Honey, Herb and Health workshops on select Thursdays each month, taking guests on a tour of The Newt’s colonies of rare, native and wild bees – from the hives hidden in the woodland to their intriguing behaviours. Paula and the team produce their own honey; during the ‘Honey, Herb and Health’ workshops, guests will enjoy a nutritious honey tasting of these Dandelion and Lyme Blossom honeys made on site along with those made all around the world, learning all about their medicinal properties and the connection between bees, the herbs that they forage and the honey that they produce.

Stay at The Newt in Somerset Hotel & Spa, lovingly restored by Karen Roos, owner of award-winning Babylonstoren in South Africa’s Franschhoek valley. Its 23 beautifully designed rooms set across a Grade II listed building formerly known as Hadspen House, and its Stable Yard. Throughout the hotel and gardens, local craft is celebrated and the past is brought to life or reimagined by offsetting heritage elements with contemporary design, styling and architecture.

HOW: Rates start from £275 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. Rates include a personalised larder as well as access to gardens, estate and spa facilities. https://thenewtinsomerset.com

WONKY CAN BE WONDERFUL
TRISTAN WELCH, CHEF DIRECTOR AT PARKER’S TAVERN, CAMBRIDGE
– Launches ‘Rubbish Cooks’ – sustainable supper clubs highlighting food waste

The new charitable pop-up, Rubbish Cooks is the brainchild of Tristan Welch, Chef Director at Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge and is designed to inspire and educate regarding food waste in the industry. This is a major concern of many restaurants and food production companies across the country and Tristan is working to roll out his monthly supper club initiative far and wide. The concept first launched at his Cambridge restaurant, Parker’s Tavern in late 2019 and invites diners to enjoy a ‘free’ three-course menu created with ingredients that are usually considered ‘waste’.  Rubbish Cooks events take place on the last Monday of every month and Tristan focuses on wasted, unwanted and wonky vegetables, fruits, seeds and pulses as well as the classically disregarded parts of fish and meat. The innovative but delicious menus are only designed on the morning of the event, after a box of unwanted cuts of fish and meat is delivered from their food suppliers.

Dishes are then crafted using ingredients that are typically overlooked, including the likes of Crushed wonky vegetable hatchet, dented tin bean ragout; Bone and vegetable peelings broth with tortellini and confit vegetable stalks and to finish, Stale bread and treacle pudding with Cambridge gin distilled cucumber. At each Rubbish Cooks event, Parker’s Tavern serves a three-course meal, for a limited number of guests, for ‘free’. Guests only pay £20 per head which covers service as well as a charitable donation to Jimmy’s Night Shelter, a local Cambridge-based charity close to Tristan’s heart. Sustainability and waste management was been key for Tristan and his team when designing Parker’s Tavern restaurant, which opened in August 2018. Various measures have been put in place in order to minimise wastage and protect the environment as much as possible. Tristan believes: “Restaurants are a notoriously wasteful business and tend to focus too much on premium ingredients and cuts at the expense of perfectly good food that might not look perfect. This is why we’ve worked closely with our suppliers who are helping us find new ways to eliminate waste from their supply chains.”  Parker’s Tavern is a destination restaurant in Cambridge overlooking the iconic Parker’s Piece.

It was designed by designer of the moment, Martin Brudnizki to mirror the communal dining halls synonymous with Cambridge Colleges and is an English tavern serving locally sourced, seasonal food, with every dish designed to be a whimsical re-imagining of a British classic. The restaurant is part of University Arms, which is a landmark hotel located in the historic heart of Cambridge. First opened in 1834 as a coaching inn, the hotel relaunched alongside Parker’s Tavern in August 2018, after a two year, £80m transformation.
HOW:  www.parkerstavern.com

NORDIC ECO WARRIOR – KNUT FLAKK – OWNER – 62° NORD 
– Preserving the beauty of Norway’s North West coast

Knut Flakk is the founder of experiential travel company –  62ºNORD , which offers highly personalised, world-class adventures on the North West coast of Norway.  Together with his wife, Line, they have taken their love and passion for their home region, Sunnmøre, to a whole new level, tailor making all aspects of an itinerary with a team of local guides and experts, to reveal the awe-inspiring beauty of the region.

Knut and his family were inspired to create 62ºNORD to retain interest in the area and offer jobs to the locals when their former business, which involved the production of Devold wool products, was internationalised and moved abroad. The Flakk’s redesigned the industrial space where the wool factory was housed – Devoldfabrikken – and have transformed it into a hub for culture and inspiration with boutique shops, artist workshops and cafes. Through setting up 62ºNORD, which comprises three hotels – Hotel Brosundet, Storfjord Hotel, Hotel Union Oye – plus the Owner’s Cabin and a collection of boats, helicopters, restaurants and cars, it opened up the job market to locals and has brought tourists to the relatively untouched part of Norway.

In addition, Knut, is also Chairman and owner of Flakk Gruppen, a privately held group with business activities in a number of different industries which aims to build profitable businesses which can contribute to positive development for the individual and society, as well as for the environment we live in. In response to the Norwegian governments pledge that by 2026 all transport on the fjords have to be zero-emissions, Knut, together with local companies has devised a plan to create a hydrogen hub that will produce green hydrogen to run the boats by 2023. The Norwegian government has awarded the initiative a grant of 37.6 million NOK.  This contribution could reduce the CO2 emissions in the Geirangerfjord by 2,370 tons per year. In addition, hydrogen will also be delivered to other vessels, trucks, buses and other vehicles in the region.

HOW: More information is available to read HERE and the commitment by Flakk’s company is available to read HERE. For more information on 62ºNORD, visit https://www.62.no/en/hotels/

**FAR FLUNG WARRIORS **

AFRICA

LUKES BAILES, CEO & FOUNDER OF SINGITA – AFRICA’S ORIGINAL CONSERVATION TRAILBLAZER
– Introducing a new era of anti-poaching tactics to combat wildlife poaching
– Significantly contributing to the conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, spearheading extensive reforestation initiatives and empowering local Rwandan communities with the launch of Singita Kwitonda Lodge

The CEO and Founder of Singita, Luke Bailes, is leading the way with wildlife conservation. In 26 years, Singita has developed into one of the leading conservation companies in Africa, with over a million acres of land under its care and 15 award-winning lodges and camps across three countries.

Critical to this achievement is the development of Singita Kwitonda in Rwanda. Working in close partnership with the Rwandan Development Board and local communities, Singita has taken a measured, long-term approach to conservation on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park, in line with the company’s established 100-year vision to build sustainable revenue streams to fund the preservation of African wilderness for future generations. The presence of Singita Kwitonda Lodge on the park border creates a natural space between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary there. Reforestation of land heavily impacted by farming is vital, and as a result, the lodge’s on-site nursery, Akarabo has to date provided approximately 250,000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for an extensive reforestation initiative. Ultimately, Singita hopes to be able to support the Rwandan government in finding ways to increase gorilla habitat, while remaining sensitive in assisting neighbouring communities to thrive economically and socially.

In Tanzania, Luke has employed key team members dedicated to conservation, including a General Manager of Conservation, and teams of qualified PHD conservationists on the ground who take guests through Singita’s conservation initiatives. Tangible initiatives include a new state-of-the-art canine unit, 180 former poachers turned game scouts, 18 special operations officers, GPS-enabled satellite collars to monitor the elephant population, and the installation of Tesla’s Powerpack energy storage systems – the first of their kind to be paired with an off-grid site in Africa. A conservation highlight in 2018 included the translocation of an eight-year-old eastern black rhino male by The Singita Grumeti Fund, from San Diego Zoo to the Serengeti, in an effort to save this critically endangered species from extinction. With fewer than 750 black rhino remaining, the translocation completes the first phase of the Singita Grumeti Fund’s Black Rhino Expansion Project.
TANYA & MIKEY CARR-HARTLEY OF THE SAFARI COLLECTION
OPENING UP UNCHARTERED EAST AFRICA
– Connecting Kenya’s most significant destinations with world-leading authorities and expert guides
– Including palaeontologist Dr. Louise Leakey & David Coulson, founder of TARA (Trust for African Rock Art)

Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley are the couple behind The Safari Collection – the leading experts in East African tailor-made safaris. As fourth generation Kenyans descended from settler families, each of which carved out their own futures in the Kenyan wilderness, it is this pioneering spirit from which The Safari Collection was born. Tanya and Mikey are the brains behind The Safari Collection’s bespoke itineraries, which put East Africa’s most untouched destinations on the map. One example for serious explorers includes Tanya and Mikey’s exclusive Lake Turkana’s National Park itinerary – ­a destination that is world-famous with leading archaeologists but almost unknown to tourists. Intrepid travellers can now visit the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the fourth largest saline lake in the world under the expert guidance of The Safari Collection’s guides, most notably one of Africa’s leading palaeontologists, Dr Louise Leakey.

In summer 2018, The Safari Collection also added a brand new rock art itinerary to their portfolio. This new safari is led by David Coulson, an internationally renowned petroglyph photographer and author, as well as Chairman and Founder of TARA (Trust for African Rock Art). The privately guided experience takes guests on a tour with David to some of the most interesting rock art sites in Kenya, discovering how civilisations of the past lived, loved, dressed and danced – unique insights brought to light beyond the study of ancient human remains.
INDONESIA

JAMES MCBRIDE, PARTNER & CEO OF NIHI SUMBA, INDONESA
NAILING A WILD SIDE TO LUXURY AND A GAME-CHANGING ECO-TOURISM MODEL
– Guests are encouraged to volunteer with The Sumba Foundation – aiming to lessen the consequences of poverty across the island Nihi Sumba is situated on a remote island in South-Eastern Indonesia—the size of Massachusetts and only a 50-minute flight from Bali, yet entirely removed from civilisation.

Philanthropy is at the core of the hotel’s business model, with a portion of profits channelled into The Sumba Foundation. As part of their stay, guests are encouraged to volunteer with The Sumba Foundation, which aims to lessen the consequences of poverty across the island. The foundation has had an incredible impact since its creation in 2001, reducing malaria infection rates by more than 93 per cent, with 360 students now trained in WHO Malaria Training. Water is also scarce, and The Sumba Foundation has helped build 60 water wells and a network of 250 water stations, providing water to 25,000 people daily.

Visiting the foundation is a complimentary experience offered to all guests of Nihi Sumba Island. As part of the trip, guests can choose to visit a local water project, a health clinic that helps combat malaria or offer to volunteer for a morning at a local school, where they can prepare nutritious school lunches for local school children. Throughout their stay, guests can also feel reassured their stay is supporting the local community, with the resort proudly employing over 90% local Sumbanese people.
HOW: www.nihi.com 

JERRY WINATA, HEAD OF THE BAWAH ANAMBAS FOUNDATION
GOING ABOVE, BELOW AND BEYOND FOR THE ANAMBAS ISLANDS AT BAWAH RESERVE
– An independent charity with long terms goals to protect and preserve the ecology, community and culture of the remote Anambas Island Bawah Reserve proudly supports the establishment of the Bawah Anambas Foundation (BAF). Comprising six islands, three lagoons and a rich marine eco-system located in the Anambas Islands, Bawah Reserve is part of the Coral Triangle, which is reputedly ten times more diverse than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The BAF is headed up by Jerry Winata, working alongside Bawah Reserve co-founders Tim Hartnoll and Matthew Chapman as patrons. The core goal of the foundation is to protect and improve the overall ecosystem of the Anambas, by preserving land, sea and local community, using three core pillars: ABOVE, BELOW and BEYOND.

The ABOVE pillar focuses on the preservation of forests, while the BELOW pillar focuses on conserving marine life and the ‘BEYOND’ pillar focusses on educating local communities on ways to combat the negative impacts of fishing and waste management, aiming to change the mindset of generations to come, ensuring the conservation of the economy and overall ecosystem. Jerry Winata spent a number of months living in several local villages and found that 80% of the Anambas region relies on the ocean and fishing is their key source of income. Fish stock has reduced as a result, so the BAF aims to provide alternative, more sustainable options and skills for the local population. This includes the development of organic farms within their villages, providing increased income for the community. Bawah Reserve also employs as many locals from the surrounding Anambas as possible to work at the resort itself, training them for a future in hospitality.

Additional community projects include solid waste management (plastic), as well as, English lessons and education for local school children. Previously, Jerry has lead development projects with the World Bank and United Nations. He has also consulted for major corporations in Indonesia to improve their substantiality strategy and now brings his expertise to BAF as Head of Foundation.Accessible only by private seaplane from Singapore, Bawah Reserve is an off-the-beaten track group of six tropical islands in the Riau Archipelago, Indonesia, located between Malaysia and Borneo. The stunning eco-conscious reserve comprises of 36 villas and suites and combines high-end design with sustainability and a “back-to-nature” concept.

HOW: Rates at Bawah Reserve start from $1,980 USD (approx. £1,650) per night on a full board basis including daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar, a host of land and water-based activities. For more information visit www.bawahreserve.com

THE INDIAN OCEAN

SAVING OUR SEAS
MEGAN O’BEIRNE – SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER AT SIX SENSES LAAMU, MALDIVES
– The resort is surrounded by an array of sea creatures, plants and coral that Six Senses are working to preserve for future generations through an innovative ‘non-interference’ approach Megan O’Beirne is the Sustainability Manager at Six Senses Laamu. For the past 3.5 years, Megan has led the 14-strong sustainability team at Six Senses Laamu. This includes working with the resort’s Permaculturalist on resort food production and recycling; collaborating with the Education & Community Outreach Manager on educational programs and community events on the local islands, and working closely with the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) team of marine biologists on the conservation of Laamu’s coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. Six Senses Laamu is a real pioneer in the field of sea sustainability.

Located just 5˚ north of the equator, the island is encircled by clear turquoise waters that are home to an array of sea creatures, plants and coral. It is this scenery and wildlife that Six Senses would like to preserve for future generations through sustainable operations and tourism. The island’s flora, fauna and reef have survived for millions of years without human assistance, and Six Senses Laamu adopts a ‘non-interference’ approach. Notable sea conservation practices and programmes Megan has led on during her time at Six Senses Laamu include:

Eku Eky Programme – Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the atoll working with 11 local islands in Laamu representing voices of 13,000+ residents, working together for sustainable development
The partnership with Maldives Underwater Initiative – a team of 10 marine biologists, including researchers from 3 international NGOs: Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, Olive Ridley Project
Laamafaru Festival – Six Senses Laamu’s annual marine festival. The fourth annual festival in 2019 had the theme ‘Our Ocean – Safe and Protected’. The community event has grown from the first ever atoll-wide turtle festival with 600 attendees in 2016 to over 1,500 from across all 11 islands in Laamu Atoll. 2020 will be its 4th year

Hello Hallu education programme– raising the next generation of conservationists to understand and be activists in their island for their own natural resources Permaculture at the resort – organic garden, mushroom hut, chicken farm, coconut oil and coconut palm sugar, composting, recycled glass, candles, soap, etc.

HOW: Rates at Six Senses Laamu start from $889 (currently approx. £755) based on two people sharing a Lagoon Water Villa on a B&B basis. www.sixsenses.com