Pioneer of exploration tourism sharpens focus on socio-environmental challenges
Enters 25-year contract to provide eco-tourism services in Patagonia National Park, Chile
Explora is bringing new vigor to its role as a pioneer of exploration tourism in South America, evolving its core values with a deepened commitment to conservation while taking its operations in the Patagonia region of Chile to new heights. Shaped and sharpened by a profound process of reflection over the past few years, Explora’s new focus on exploring remote territories as a journey to conservation elevates the company as a leader in addressing contemporary socio-environmental challenges and mitigating the effects of the climate crises on nature, people, and cultures around the world.
The new conservation focus of Explora represents the company’s vision and commitment to an expanded role in caring for the territories it has long led guests to explore.
Explora’s Expanding Role
“The same innovating drive we began with 30 years ago now challenges us to take a new step forward on conservation,” said Explora CEO Gonzalo Undurraga. “We are experts in exploration, and we know the remote territories that our hotels inhabit, but exploration alone is no longer enough. Explora is committed to playing an active role in ensuring those places remain stable and sustainable, contributing to their conservation and preservation, so they do not deteriorate or become less biodiverse as they receive more visitors.”
Taking a giant step forward in addressing the global challenge of preservation, Explora has entered into an important alliance with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a U.S.-based global environmental organization with an extensive track record of conservation and experience in over 70 countries. In addition, Explora is actively working on initiatives and partnerships with third parties to implement conservation actions of necessary scale and depth.
Explora & The Nature Conservancy
“Explora and The Nature Conservancy are united in their conviction and commitment to conservation,” Undurraga explained. “We will utilize our experience in remote locations to better protect them, complementing TNC’s extensive experience in management and conservation and integrating science and research to safeguard unique ecosystems. We want to include the scientific community, but also neighboring communities and stakeholders based on a model that incorporates clear participation and involvement methodologies.”
Explora’s global alliance with TNC is in keeping with its belief that cooperation between the private sector, the state, NGOs, and the scientific and research community is the way to make progress on major challenges and address conservation in a way that is sustainable over time, with management and financing required.
“Today’s society is more aware and seeks ways to participate in sustainability activities, to contribute with actions that preserve nature,” said TNC Director for Latin America Ian Thompson. “Our cooperation with Explora is aimed at supporting this model based on a fair scientific approach to conservation that involves local communities and has an impact beyond private property,” Thompson added.
Hitting New Heights in Patagonia
In line with the expansion of Explora’s conservation work, the company was recently awarded the contract to manage ecotourism services in Patagonia National Parkin the Aysén region of Chile. Starting in October 2021, Explora will fully manage all concessions and ticketing, as well as invest $3 million to upgrade infrastructure within the 750,000-acre park.
As part of its commitment to the future of Patagonia National Park, the company has assumed ownership of a 10-room lodge in the Chacabuco Valley, a region once transited by ancestral hunters. The lodge will begin welcoming Explora guests in October 2021.
Based upon collaborative work with the non-profit National Forestry Corporation of Chile (CONAF) and Tompkins Conservation, Explora’s mission is to highlight the potential and attract new visitors to the park while offering the protection it requires.
This new proposal connects with the spirit of travelers who have tapped Explora to visit unique destinations for 30 years. Noted Undurraga: “We have seen how true transformational experiences of rational and emotional connection are generated, and how people come to discover and leave committed to caring for and protecting remote places and eventually get involved with conservation projects. We want to address conservation in a way that balances exploration with protection.”
Track Record in Sustainability
The evolution and expansion of Explora’s everyday activities are part of a growth strategy with a clear goal of making the transition to more sustainable practices. In line with this, earlier this year, Explora was certified as a “B Company,” having implemented policies and projects to address climate change, develop and stimulate the workforce, provide benefits to local communities, and achieve management and transparency standards among other things. An example of this is Explora’s certification as a carbon-neutral company, with commitments that include “Historical Carbon Neutrality Target by 2030” to retroactively compensate for historical emissions since its founding in 1991.
“The sustainable vision of our everyday activities is a core element in our evolution, where we will play an active role in implementing projects related to climate change, conservation, and collaborative work with local communities, among other initiatives,” concluded CEO Undurraga. “In the current context, it is imperative that we make quick progress.”