Lindblad Expeditions, a travel company in partnership with National Geographic, is expanding into Canada. Sven Lindblad, founder and president, and Wade Davis, scholar and explorer, spoke to The Globe's Marina Jimenez.
What is your company about?
SL: Our company blends natural history, culture and human history. We have a non-profit and for-profit arm, and our mission is to raise awareness about the environment through first-hand travel experience.
How does being on a ship accomplish this?
SL: We bring 16,000 people a year on our trips and many of them are influential people. I have seen them change their views on conservation through trips to places such as the Galapagos Islands or Greenland. It is essential to expose people, otherwise, who will care about the environment in the abstract?
How is it unique?
SL: We use our ships as platforms to get people together – politicians, scientists, religious leaders. What can creatively be done across these sectors around climate change? These aren't just trips. These are opportunities to change the world. We have floating labs where real science can get done. We have a fleet of Zodiacs. The ships are small but elegant with all the creature comforts and a high ratio of naturalists to passengers.
WD: We in Canada love the idea of the North and yet none of us ever go up there. A former premier of B.C. had never been in one quarter of his province. And yet the issues in the Arctic are front and centre in culture and politics. The Arctic is emerging as the litmus test of the globe in terms of environmental issues.
What is the appeal of Canada to global travellers?
WD: Places such as the Serengeti are getting worn-out and tired. People want authenticity. Canada has done such a poor job selling our assets. Up in the Arctic, the biggest mammal migration in history happens every spring. Only ring seals, polar bears and humans stay in the Arctic for the winter. All the other mammals leave and then return. This migration of 17-million animals along the flow edge is a wonder.
Where will you go in Canada?
SL: We will do a circumnavigation of Newfoundland. We will go to Nunavut and the Canadian Arctic. Next year, we hope to bring an expedition into Haida Gwai off the coast of B.C.
Is there a list of places every Canadian should visit?
WD: Canada's Grand Canyon, the Stikine River, in Kitwanga, B.C. is surely one of them.
This interview has been edited and condensed.