Emma and I recently attended the first Wildlife, Safari & Conservation Summit in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Nearly 9 hours later, we left completely bowled over by the passion, commitment and inspiration of some of the speakers and the topics that were discussed. The primary focus was on how to Converge (debate, learn and explore with other like-minded tour operators), Connect (meet new people and learn more from others) and Change (take away new ideas and use these).
It was great to be in a room with so many like-minded people and to share your thoughts, ideas and knowledge. It made us realise that Archipelago Choice was on the right track as we already create our holidays by being mindful about the environment, and have carefully selected the suppliers and hotels we work with. But as with everything there is always room for improvement and the summit has left us inspired to look at ways we can further enhance your holiday experience while we genuinely make positive changes to our world and its wildlife.
Here are some of the people we listened to and were able to chat to as well at the end of the day:
I must admit I had never heard of Patrick Ayree before, but this BBC TV presenter, filmmaker and biologist, won’t be erased from my memory anymore after his enthusiastic presentation. He told us about the Power of Storytelling. What it comes down to, is that everyone who has travelled with us can become an Archipelago Choice ambassador, by sharing their photos and videos with their family and friends. He mentioned how important personal experiences are and how you must be more like a sponge, soak up everything around you and then relay it to others.
Another powerful presence was the world’s only heavy metal marine biologist Tom ‘The Blowfish’ Hird, well-known for his television programme ‘Fishing Impossible’ and, who’s also an Ocean Ambassador for the Marina Conservation Society. He sat on a panel discussing ‘Protecting our Oceans’. All the panellists agreed that although the focus was always on what happened on land, the effect on Oceans was often forgotten. When the unavoidable subject of plastic came up, Tom commented – in his direct way – that the whole issue of plastic straws can be done with if we all just drank directly from a glass or bottle.
As Archipelago Choice organises Whale watching trips in the Azores, Madeira, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Baja California, and Costa Rica we listened with interest to Elizabeth Cuervas who represented the World Cetacean Alliance. She spoke about Whale Heritage Sites (areas that are actively involved in the protection and conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises), and revealed that some of our destinations are in the running to become a Whale Heritage Site.
There were plenty of other inspiring people, talks and discussions during the day and although the Wildlife, Safari & Conservation Summit itself was only open to people working in the travel trade, over the weekend there was also a two-day Wildlife Safari Show which was open to the public. We’ll give you plenty of warning next year, so you can visit the show and see and experience it all yourself.