What inspired you to get into the luxury travel industry?
For me, it was a natural progression as the remoteness of our destinations requires luxury to complement their pricepoint and uniqueness. Although you are staying in luxurious accommodation surrounded by breathtaking scenery, it is our activities that make Blue Safari Seychelles luxurious as many of these are exclusive to us and cannot be encountered anywhere else in the world.
What is the single most defining thing about ‘Blue Safari Seychelles’?
Blue Safari Seychelles strives in having unique experiences. Each of our guests can expect to go to a pristine Eden, be led by experienced and friendly conservationists, and marine biologists and have environmental encounters that are completely distinctive to this region of the world. The most incredible aspect of Blue Safari Seychelles is that whilst each guest is having a trip of a lifetime, they are also doing their bit to protect this slice of paradise by contributing to conservation.
What are you most proud about at ‘Blue Safari Seychelles’?
The smiles on our guest’s faces when they get to experience our glorious islands and atolls. I am incredibly proud of the work Blue Safari Seychelles has achieved in environmental conservation and the preservation of both the marine and terrestrial environment.
What does ‘Blue Safari Seychelles’ have in store for 2022 and beyond?
Every year we strive for improvements in the way we run and upgrade the business, enhance our green footprint and develop our conservation practices. We can improve our self-sustainability through increased garden yields and implementing more research projects dedicated to protecting the environment.
| The most incredible aspect of Blue Safari Seychelles is that whilst each guest is having a trip of a lifetime, they are also doing their bit to protect this slice of paradise by contributing to conservation.|
What makes Alphonse Island special? What can guests expect when staying there?
The beauty of Alphonse Island is that it is part of three atolls. The Alphonse Group comprises of Alphonse, St. François, and Bijoutier. Alphonse Island has an exclusive hotel whilst nearby St François and Bijoutier are uninhabited and remain exceptionally pristine.
How do you think the luxury travel industry is evolving following the Covid-19 Pandemic? How have guests’ demands/needs changed? What do you love most about the luxury travel industry?
The demand for experiential outdoor travel has massively increased. The ability to arrive on a pristine COVID-19 free island, breathe fresh air, and not wear a mask, is a truly desired travel experience.
Luxury travel allows destinations to create the right price point to make remote destinations viable. It costs significant amounts of money to operate sustainably and to protect the glorious environment. Mass travel would destroy these destinations.
What is the most important thing luxury travellers can do to help the environment and reduce their impact when travelling?
Choose responsible destinations that operate with bonafide conservation, not smoke-screen conservation. Having water villas drilled into the sandflats that hover over the water, is not responsible. No matter how much you attempt to counteract this behaviour, it has disastrous effects on the marine environment. Firstly, this action destroys turtle grass flats as well as coral reefs. With Blue Safari Seychelles, each of our buildings are situated back into the foliage to ensure nesting turtles are not impacted. Our lights are either blocked or are “turtle-friendly” to prevent hatching turtles from walking inland in response to the light and instead walk towards the moon and out to sea.
Apart from your own properties, what are your favourite hotels/resorts to stay at, and why?
Singita. They have an incredible conservation ethos and their accommodation in each destination is environmentally responsible yet wonderfully luxurious.
What is your personal litmus test for whether a resort is worthy of the 'luxury' tag?
Making a resort luxurious is easy as it completely revolves around budget, the attitude of the staff makes a resort luxurious. It’s actually the uniqueness of activities and the dedication of the staff, their personalities, and the ability to find the balance between doing enough but not too much so it becomes intrusive, for each guest that makes a resort luxurious. I have participated in numerous activities that have been eventless but the way the staff lead the activity made it extremely enjoyable.
Fly Fishing on Alphonse Island
Where is your all-time favourite fishing spot? The luxury part is …
It use to be Cosmoledo Atoll but you just can’t beat Alphonse Island. When fishing on Alphonse, you get the best of both worlds when you visit with your family. The marine life is magnificently diverse and there are a plethora of activities for the entire family.
Fly Fishing has taken you all over the world, what is the one travel experience you will never forget?
I was invited to fish for Golden Mahseer in Bhutan. Since the species is endangered, it is forbidden to fish for the Golden Mahseer unless you are granted permission to do so by the Royal Family. We were fortunate to be invited and I found Bhutan to be a truly remarkable place with the most amazing and friendly people. It was definitely an unforgettable travel experience.
What is first on your 'where to next' wish list?
I have plans to go fishing in the Alta River in Norway this year. I have always dreamt of fishing in this part of the world because the river has the biggest Atlantic salmon in the world. Due to fishing restrictions and quotas, you can only fish in the Alta river if you have been invited into the syndicate, which is normally a “dead man’s shoes” scenario.
What three things do you never travel without?
My camera, music and my manbag.
Who would you most like to sit next to on a long-haul flight? Why?
Yvon Chouinard, the Founder of Patagonia. I had the pleasure of fishing with him and his wealth of knowledge and passion for conservation is fascinating.
What is the most important thing (travel-wise) that money CAN buy?
What is the most important thing (travel-wise) that money CAN’T buy?
Time! When you go on an adventure, you can carefully choose the best season or time of year to visit but, unfortunately, global warming has had a massive impact. Climate change has exacerbated the unpredictability of weather and when you travel now, it is a case of hoping for the best. As well as weather, climate change has affected the movement and migration of animals and fish making nature sightings more sporadic.
Luxury Travel Links: www.roseinnes.com , www.alphonse-island.com , www.bluesafari.com , www.alphonsefishingco.com