SA Expeditions was founded by American expats Nick Stanziano and David Rottblatt in Lima in 2010.
Since that time, the company has been offering custom-tailored trips throughout Peru and South America. SA Expeditions is also committed to conducting its business in a responsible manner. The company believes that tourism can be a powerful, positive force towards conservation of ecology and culture by placing economic value on these critical resources. We recently interviewed SA Expeditions co-founder, Nick Stanziano to learn more about his company’s philosophy and practices surrounding sustainable tourism.
Your Perfect Peru: Generally speaking, how does SA Expeditions participate in sustainable tourism?
Stanziano: I believe an organization needs to define exactly what “sustainable tourism” means to them. For our purposes, the basic definition, “The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level” gets pretty close. In a planet with finite resources, the concept of continual linear growth is not a sustainable concept. Our society, and company’s like ours within it, need to redefine progress as not being linear but as an optimization of something regenerative and cyclical.
Your Perfect Peru: Okay, now that you’ve defined sustainable tourism for your company, how do you put those beliefs to work?
Stanziano: It begins with the people. For any organization’s attempt to practice “sustainability”, they need to begin with their team. Organizations first need to ensure that they are engaging with their collaborators in a compassionate way that fosters dedication, flexibility, and belonging to a mission that is larger than any one person.
We’re a global organization with team members across multiple countries and languages. One of our most significant capital investments as a company is travel for our Destination Experts/Trip Designers. We also engage our local guides in Peru on a equal level to those designing trips in far flung places, ensuring that both the trip designers and guides are one team, with strong personal and professional connections.
Your Perfect Peru: Why is sustainable tourism important to you?
Stanziano: SA Expeditions has the honor to generate economic value through the culture and biodiversity of Peru. With many on our team being Peruvians themselves, we also understand the benefits and challenges in which tourism creates. The benefits; economic development, dignified jobs, and promotion of the country, naming a few. The challenges; over-tourism, disruption of local culture and unequal power dynamics between traveler and local, naming a few.
Operating in a way that mitigates the challenges and emphasizes the benefits, directly correlates with sustainable financial indicators of our company, and not so coincidentally to the social indicators of Peru–not even mentioning the immense value to our travelers experiences. If the cultural and ecological resources of Peru are not managed as something that needs to regenerate and are cyclical, it will have detrimental effects on us as a company and Peru as a whole. We’re in it together.
Watch for more of our interview with Nick Stanziano in future editions of Your Perfect Peru.