IN CONVERSATION

Learning from extreme experiences

Kuoni has a long tradition as a pioneering company that has helped shape the culture of travel. Because it wants to maintain this tradition now and into the future, Kuoni works continuously to discover new forms of travel, to understand what people are yearning for in the modern age and to learn from the experiences of travellers who have moved on from the traditional forms of holidaymaking. Unsurprisingly, then, Kuoni was very keen to engage as fully as possible with the people taking part in the Ganges expedition.

After five weeks of extreme, extraordinary and exhilarating impressions, the adventurers gathered together one last time in Kolkata, their final destination, to report on their experience. The talk was of a new understanding of luxury, of sustainability and of the special features of expeditions like this that bring us closer to unspoilt truth than other forms of travel, and that facilitate unique experiences in harmony with nature and with ourselves. The meeting offered a remarkable platform for discussing some visions of the future of travel that were directly connected to the experience of the expedition, but also for talking about the practical limitations and difficulties that can arise along the way.

Kuoni set up the Getaway Council in 2008 to host regular exchanges of ideas between futurologists, opinion leaders

from business and academia, as well as outstanding figures from the worlds of fashion, lifestyle, art and culture. The aim is to understand the new desires and needs of the modern age and explore the latest cultural and social trends; in other words to capture the zeitgeist and use the insights that are gained along the way to develop new ways of thinking about the world. By contrast, the meeting in Kolkata was much more focused on the practical aspects of travel. It provided Kuoni with another important source of inspiration, helping it to think today about the travel of tomorrow; and to learn at first hand about the possibilities for a sustainable tourism that prioritises authentic, respectful encounters with foreign cultures, people and landscapes – facilitating experiences that travellers will increasingly perceive as the essence of beauty.

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