Sven-Olof Lindblad is President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions. Lindblad was born in Switzerland and traveled extensively with his father, renowned adventure-travel pioneer Lars-Eric Lindblad, who led some of the first non-scientific groups of travelers to Galapagos (1967) and Antarctica (1966). For six years, Sven lived in East Africa photographing elephants and wildlife in Kenya and assisting filmmakers on a documentary on the destruction of African rain forests. Lindblad’s early exposure to nature and wildlife taught him the importance of maintaining natural resources and understanding the cultural background of remote regions of the world.
In 1979, Lindblad launched Special Expeditions (now Lindblad Expeditions), a unique travel company aimed at offering marine-focused expeditions aboard small ships for adventurous travelers. Lindblad Expeditions’ itineraries are staffed with expedition leaders, historians, naturalists, cultural authorities, marine biologists and undersea specialists who help to bring expeditions to life for the active and curious traveler. In 2004, Lindblad formed a multifaceted strategic alliance with National Geographic that combines the strengths of two pioneers in exploration and travel, with the goal of further inspiring the world through expedition travel.
Lindblad’s personal experience led to the company’s long-standing commitment to environmentally responsible travel, which has resulted in numerous travel and environmental awards, including the 2007 Global Tourism Business Award from the World Travel and Tourism Council and the 2007 Seafood Champion Award. The company has also received the Condé Nast Traveler 2002 Ecotourism Award and received honors for their environmental achievements by ASTA/Smithsonian magazine and the National Audubon Society. The United Nations Environment Programme recognized Lindblad’s accomplishments, naming him to their Global 500 Roll of Honor. Latin Trade magazine named him Environmentalist of the Year for 2001. Lindblad Expeditions is on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List 1997-2002, 2005, 2006 and has been rated among the top ten cruise lines in the world on the magazine’s prestigious Readers’ Choice Awards 1996-2005. Travel + Leisure magazine named the company one of the World’s Best Outfitters and Tour Operators in 2000-2006, ranking Lindblad number one for “World’s Best Values” among cruise lines in 2006.
Lindblad’s vision of his guests visiting a unique location, learning about it, and leaving it intact the way nature created it, has positioned Lindblad Expeditions at the forefront of environmentally sensitive expedition travel. His mission is simple: to provide travelers the opportunity to discover for themselves the natural, cultural and historic regions of the world and to provide thoughtful approaches that make such travels enriching, responsible, safe, fun and memorable.
Lindblad is a member of the General Assembly of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. In May 2006, he received international recognition for his innovative and successful model of tourism in a ceremony hosted by HRH, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg at the Grand-Ducal Palace. He also had a newly discovered endemic species of moth in the Galapagos Islands, Undulambia lindbladi, named in honor of his conservation work in the archipelago. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Blue Ocean Institute and National Geographic Conservation Trust. He is a past Board of Directors member of the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature and is a past member of the Bi-National Advisory Board of the San Diego Natural History Museum. He is a founding member of the Galapagos Conservation Fund and founding chairman emeritus of Tourism Cares, associated with the United States Tours Operators Association.
Lindblad is also founding chair of Adventure Collection, a family of the world’s most trusted and experienced active travel companies. His photography has appeared in Smithsonian and National Geographic magazines. In addition, he has produced exquisite photography books on Alaska, Baja California and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park published by Rizzoli.