Inkaterra founder and owner José Koechlin visited the UK last week to mark the start of the Inkaterra 40th Anniversary. Mr Koechlin shared his favourite moments, the making of Inkaterra and some teasers of what Inkaterra has in the pipeline. To ensure you don’t miss out, we’ve shared some of the highlights from Mr Koechlin’s remarkable life and a few snippets of his words of wisdom.
José Koechlin has been a pioneer of eco and sustainable tourism, dedicating his life to conservation in Peru since 1975. Throughout these 40 years, Mr Koechlin has chaired numerous tourism and conservation boards including Chairman of the Sociedad Hoteles del Perú, and E-Meritus Board Member of Conservation International (Washington D.C.), adding huge value to their respective sectors in Peru.
Mr Koechlin sponsored major inventories of flora and fauna in the Amazon basin, resulting in Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson’s inventory finding more ant species at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica than anywhere else in the world. He is responsible for the creation of the world’s largest collection of native species of orchids (372) in their natural habitat (according to the American Orchid Society) at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. As well as orchids, there are 18 unique species of hummingbird at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is also home to the Andean Bear Rescue Centre, one of Mr Koechlin’s concepts that recovers bears that have been negatively affected by human impact and reintroduces them into their natural habitat.
Mr Koechlin was the founder of ‘The Purification Inca Trail’ to Machu Picchu and also the original Hiram Bingham Trail – having trekked through thick forestation to find the hidden trail.
Inkaterra have been awarded numerous recognitions, notably Relais & Châteaux 2013 Environment Trophy, the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Conservation (WTTC). This year Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was named as one of National Geographic Traveller’s Unique Lodges of the World.
On his visit, Mr Koechlin partook in an interview about his life and works. When asked about the reasoning behind the concept of Inkaterra and his works in sustainability he answered:
‘At the age of 10, I went on a mission at school, who took us on trips to far away places with no electricity and no modernity. It is there that I realised my purpose was to do worthwhile things. Learn what nature has provided so that you may use that wealth to create wealth…’