LESSONS FROM A FA­THER FUEL A SON’S SUC­CESS

SVEN-OLOF LIND­BLAD IS DE­TER­MINED TO TAKE EX­PE­DI­TION CRUIS­ING INTO UN­KNOWN TER­RI­TORY, RE­SPON­SI­BLY AND PROF­ITABLY.

The Australian - The Deal - - Extra -

Viet­namWar had been over for years. The US Trea­sury came down hard on him, freez­ing his bank ac­counts and seiz­ing his records. He even­tu­ally went out of busi­ness in 1987.”

By then Lind­blad was al­ready fol­low­ing his own path, hav­ing launched Spe­cial Ex­pe­di­tions (now Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions) in 1979, of­fer­ing jour­neys de­signed to be both en­rich­ing and prof­itable.

It wasn’t sim­ply a ques­tion of learn­ing from his fa­ther’s mis­takes, he says. “We wanted to have an in­flu­ence on is­sues we cared deeply about, such as the en­vi­ron­ment. But we knew that if we were a fail­ing en­ter­prise, no one would take any no­tice.”

Since then, Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions has grown steadily and now op­er­ates a fleet of 10 ships and car­ries about 18,000 pas­sen­gers a year. It has won nu­mer­ous awards for its en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives. Lind­blad even had a newly dis­cov­ered en­demic Gala­pa­gos Is­lands moth named in his hon­our.

Ever the prag­ma­tist, he claims the com­pany’s ef­forts to help pro­tect touris­mas­sets such as clean en­vi­ron­ments and in­tact cul­tures are sim­ply sound busi­ness prac­tice. “If the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands go to hell in a hand-bas­ket, it’s the end of a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.”

Given the ex­pe­ri­ences of his fa­ther, Lind­blad is also un­der­stand­ably ea­ger for ad­ven­ture tourism op­er­a­tors to act re­spon­si­bil­ity so as to avoid the wrath of reg­u­la­tors.

In 2004, Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions formed a strate­gic al­liance with National Ge­o­graphic, and by March next year six of its ships will in­cor­po­rate the iconic brand, in­clud­ing the Orion National Ge­o­graphic. Last year, the com­pany gen­er­ated $US3 mil­lion in rev­enue from the Aus­tralian mar­ket, and with the ad­di­tion of the 100-pas­sen­ger Orion it aims to in­crease that to $US50 mil­lion within three years.

From­next year, the ship – which has car­ried more than 3000 pas­sen­gers since it was launched in 2004 by lo­cal cruise en­tre­pre­neur Sa­rina Brat­ton – will visit more re­mote des­ti­na­tions across Asia, the Pa­cific and Antarc­tica. Ad­di­tional crew are be­ing added, in­clud­ing nat­u­ral­ists, his­to­ri­ans and National Ge­o­graphic pho­tog­ra­phers.

Orion is also be­ing equipped with ocean-go­ing kayaks and an un­der­wa­ter re­motely op­er­ated ve­hi­cle

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