Lindblad Expeditions: Responsible Travel

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With over four decades of experience and a large fleet, Lindblad Expeditions is seeing record demand in 2023.

Offering a global deployment that includes over 171 unique departures, the company remains committed to offering responsible travel and sustainable operations, said Trey Byus, Linblad’s Chief Expedition Officer.

“At Lindblad Expeditions, we believe that sustainability is a component of everything that we do under responsible travel,” he said, speaking at a conference in Florida in March.

Inspiring Companies

Since first joining the market, the company gets inspiration for its green initiatives from everywhere, he added.

“As a company, we want to make sure that we are inspiring other companies as well to think about it in that kind of way.”

Lindblad’s sustainability strategy varies depending on the destination its ships are sailing, especially in the polar regions, he explained.

“From an itinerary planning point of view, the Antarctica is largely wildlife, environment and landscape. The Arctic, meanwhile, also offers landscape and wildlife, but has communities as well, which is key to how you operate out there.”

Positive Impact

Even in Antarctica, however, the relationship with communities may be relevant, he added. In South Georgia, for instance, the cruise passengers joined an international effort to save local wildlife that was endangered by invasive species of rats and mice.

“We brought travelers to that island, we inspired them as we do, and they decided that they wanted help save the island. They donated a lot of money to help eradicate these species,” Byus said.

According to Byus, the situation is a “shining example” of the positive effect that the travel industry can make.

“We as an industry could have a huge impact on that. We carry people with these kinds of means singularly and certainly collectively and we can do more of that. There are other places in the world where we could have that positive effect,” he added.

Community Relationship

The way the cruise line relates with the communities is also a relevant factor for sustainability, Byus said.

“Ideally, you need to come into a community as part of it. The way to do that is to bring the community onboard by hiring local guides, inviting speakers or musicians,” he explained, noting that “anybody from the local communities” is going to enhance the guest experience.

As a result, the locals will look at the cruise operations as a positive impact, he added.

“You certainly don’t want them to look at you as something that is extractive. We are not being extractive. It’s a minimum baseline.”

The communities shouldn’t see the ships and cruise lines as just employment too, Byus said.

“We want to look at the ships and our guests coming ashore and think that we are going to make things better.”

The right relationship with locals also makes the guest experience more positive, according to Byus.

“People get really inspired to be a part of something that is a two-way street and not just coming in for a short period of time and then leaving with nothing left behind,” he explained.

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