Tom Power, managing director of specialist tour operator Pura Aventura, speaks to Abra Dunsby about being certified by B Corporation, having a Travel Positive mantra and why the travel industry has a duty to build back better
How old is Pura Aventura and what is its ethos?
We will be 22 this year. Our ethos is simple: we share places that have moved us and work directly with local guides, drivers, hotel owners, et cetera. Travel on a small scale that is highly personal is very important to us.
What are your most popular destinations with UK clients?
Costa Rica, Patagonia, Spain, Portugal, Peru and Ecuador.
Any other USPs?
We offer bespoke trips that are “luxury” in terms of remoteness and exclusivity of experience. Our Travel Positive charter drives us, which recognises travel as a force for good, made up of three elements: passion and local knowledge to create personal holidays, planet-friendly travel that helps protect the beauty of precious environments and our B Corporation certification.
You’re the UK’s first specialist tour operator to be certified by B Corporation. Tell us more about the certification and the steps you took to achieve it.
B Corp is an organisation that measures and audits a company’s social and environmental performance over five metrics: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.
Because of the way we’ve built the company and our purpose, we didn’t have to change much to achieve the certification, but we did have to do things better; for instance placing a greater focus on the environment – customers have to fly to join our trips and we can’t pretend this isn’t our responsibility. So last year we introduced a carbon mitigation plan, where we donate 1% of our revenue to balancing a carbon mile for every kilometre travelled by our guests – that’s 160% carbon compensation. The project supports Communitree in Nicaragua, a community development and reforestation programme, which provides salaries and education to local farmers.
In what other ways does Pura Aventura strive to be responsible?
We report on our Travel Positive metrics to customers, detailing the economic benefit of trips to communities; the number of protected areas visited on a trip, such as national parks and Unesco sites; the percentage of hotels that are owner-hosted, allowing for a deeper connection with people and places; and finally the amount of carbon produced from the trip.