New York, NY, March 20, 2008 – Lindblad Expeditions (www.expeditions.com), the pioneer of responsible tourism, announced today that Sven-Olof Lindblad, the company’s president and founder, is the recipient of a prestigious award granted by the Municipality of Puerto Ayora. This award honors Lindblad’s commitment to the preservation and conservation of the Galapagos archipelago and his commitment to the welfare of the Galapagos community. Nominees for the award, which was presented as part of the celebration surrounding the 35th anniversary of the incorporation of Puerto Ayora, were generated from community representatives and the winner was selected by Puerto Ayora’s Municipal Council, which is presided over by the Mayor. While this award has been in existence for several years, this was the first time that an individual from the travel industry has won the award.
Throughout the history of Lindblad Expeditions (LEX), Sven Lindblad has worked ardently to promote a model of sustainable tourism in Galapagos. The Lindblad Family has been bringing guests to the Galapagos since 1967, when Sven’s father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, took the first group of non-scientists to visit the islands. Building upon the Lindblad legacy of exploration, Sven Lindblad developed his own signature business model of inspiring and educating guests by providing opportunities for them to explore incredible destinations with top-notch experts, state-of-the-art exploration tools, and local conservation projects in which guests could visit and help to support. “I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Lindblad. “We have always approached our presence in the Galapagos as supportive to the community and restorative with regards to conservation. For them to recognize us in this role is very humbling.”
In Galapagos, Lindblad Expeditions is widely known for creating innovative solutions to the myriad of challenges impacting the archipelago’s fragile ecosystem. In 1997, Lindblad established the Galapagos Conservation Fund (GCF),which has raised more than $4 million (as of December 2007) for the support and protection of the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve. LEX’s investment in Galapagos extends beyond the support of traditional conservation initiatives to include diverse programming such as initiatives to foster education and micro-enterprise across the island chain. For example, in 2007, Lindblad Expeditions established a foundation in Ecuador, FUDECA (Fundación de Artesanos Ecuatorianos) with the goal of supporting the development of skilled artisans. In addition, LEX funded Reflections, a local gallery in Galapagos, designed to promote traditional craft production in the region and to generate productivity and economic growth at the local level. Reflections, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, redirects all of its profits back into the community through activities such as workshops and seminars that provide additional training and development for local artisans.
Moving forward, LEX is planning to tackle one of the most pressing problems facing Galapagos – the introduction of invasive species. Recently, the Charles Darwin Foundation reported that 748 species of introduced plants can be found in Galapagos, as compared with 500 species of native plants, and that 55 of these new species have the potential to cause “severe impacts to native biodiversity.” The movement of food and supplies is one of the main avenues through which new species are introduced to Galapagos. To address this problem, Lindblad Expeditions, in cooperation with Aerogal Airlines and Goddard Catering Group, has developed a pilot project to process, sanitize, package, refrigerate and transport food products traveling from mainland Ecuador to Galapagos. Currently, the project is focused on eliminating invasive species from items destined for Lindblad’s two ships, the National Geographic Polaris and the National GeographicIslander. However, Lindblad Expeditions’ ultimate goal, which has already received support and backing from the major stakeholders in Galapagos, is to expand this project beyond Lindblad’s ships to a wider segment of island industry, such as other tourism companies and supermarkets.
The Lindblad model of respectful tourism, a unique hybrid of business success and global stewardship, has been lauded by many organizations inside and outside of Galapagos. In describing LEX’s work in Galapagos, Dr. Graham Watkins, Executive Director of the Charles Darwin Foundation, said “Lindblad Expeditions continues to show the way forward for private sector involvement in the conservation and sustainable development of the Galapagos. LEX has for many years included, as part of their core business, the commitment of time, energy and resources to generate awareness and ensure support for the conservation and restoration of these extraordinary islands. This commitment includes investment in sustainable local small businesses and education as the basis for building a sustainable society in Galapagos. This award reflects the appreciation of the leaders of Puerto Ayora for Sven’s pioneering work and his leadership.”
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About Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company providing voyages in the Galápagos, Antarctica, Baja California, Alaska, the Arctic, and beyond. Sven Lindblad has received international recognition, including the 2007 Global Tourism Business Award, 2007 Seafood Champion Award, U.N. Programme Global 500 Award, and recognition from HRH,Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for his dedication to the conservation and environmental stewardship of the Galápagos archipelago. The company has also been named #1 Small-Ship Cruise Line (Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best ValueAwards 2006); “The Best Ships in the World” and “The Best Itineraries” (Condé Nast Traveler: Truth in Travel Awards 2006).
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