Pioneers of luxury travel, A&K has joined forces with LOVE BRAND & Co. to celebrate their 60th anniversary in sartorial style. To mark this special occasion, our founder, Oliver Tomalin, has designed an exclusive collection of six prints to honour six glorious decades of travel. The patterns play across our Staniel swimming trunks and our mens Abaco linen shirts, there are six prints that represent different iconic themes that hold special meaning to A&K Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO Geoffrey Kent.
Geoffrey Kent discussed his wildlife travels, life changing moments in nature, and his relationship to sustainability with LOVE BRAND & Co. founder and CEO, Oliver Tomalin. When asked about his most memorable encounters in wildlife, Mr. Kent said,"Sir David Attenborough summed it up the best when he said, following an encounter with a mountain gorilla in 1979, that 'there is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal - they are so like us." In 1985, Mr. Kent convinced General Museveni (the future president of Uganda), to set aside the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as a National Park on the condition that he was able to build a luxury camp for clients. "I am very proud to have played a part in helping to protect these magnificent creatures." A&K now have a Gorilla Forest Camp experience where clients can experience meeting a gorilla in their natural habitat.
Starting an extraordinary luxury travel company comes with the advantage of being able to travel the world. Mr. Kent was asked what his idea of a perfect family holiday would be, and he goes on to explain what his father meant when he said, "somewhere we can't drink water." Traditionally Mr. Kent's family had always gone on holiday for "...adventure - whether it be seeing turtles on the beach in Malindi, Kenya, or the Brazilian rainforest, making it an adventure is the key to keeping everyone engaged." He goes on to discuss how a silver lining to the pandemic gave him the ability to discover new hobbies, which aids in new and different kinds of adventures, "[we] took advantage of instant access to experts via online classes and webinars. Now families are ready to take to the road and experience that same rich education, but in real life and do the things they've always wanted to do." Mr. Kent had an exclusive opportunity to visit a living museum in Egypt before it's grand opening (set to open later in 2022), of restored 3,500 year old Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes, "[it is] one of the biggest open-air archaeological sites in the world opened in Luxor... showcasing more than 30,000 objects which have never been exhibited before."
Mr. Kent has ensured that despite A&K's constant development, they never compromise their sustainability acts, "Thankfully the concept of responsible tourism is catching on and a conversation our industry is having. Sustainability, carbon neutrality, animal welfare, and cultural sensitivity are increasingly important to our customers." A&K's belief in caring for the earth comes easier to them as their customers are also invested in these actions too, "They are asking us to book hotels with eco-friendly practices, to support the communities they're visiting and to find carbon neutral ways of making the journey."
Philanthropy is at the core of A&K's work, "we are dedicated to positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the places where our guests travel. When the pandemic began, we set up the AKP Emergency Relief Fund to help the most vulnerable as they fight to protect their families and livelihoods. We have worked with non-governmental organisations to deliver more than $2 million in medical supplies and emergency relief to people who rely on wildlife and heritage tourism."
After running A&K for 60 years now, Mr. Kent has a few pieces of advice that he has learned firsthand, "I always say, you've got to have something that nobody can do. If you can Google it, someone can do that before you. You've got to make it difficult. As we emerge from the pandemic there is ample opportunity to rebuild, better. I'd encourage anyone to take a leap of faith."
Thank you to Mr. Kent and the entire A&K team for this incredible opportunity to partner with you for your Diamond Jubilee celebrations. All image credits: Sanctuary Retreats.