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Cookson Adventures: The chase of the thrills

By Henry Cookson

Founded in 2009, Cookson Adventures has pioneered the concept of world firsts in luxury adventure travel. Henry Cookson, the company’s founder, reveals how his team delivers incredible travel experiences for his clients in family business.

Why are wealthy business family members keen to invest in experiences, rather than assets, with Cookson Adventures?

Spending a week basking in the sun on board a superyacht is no longer enough. Rather, travellers—particularly successful individuals—want to come away from their experiences feeling enriched; feeling like they have broadened their horizons and experienced something new. Curiosity is central to all of our adventures.

It’s what unites all our guests. That’s why the concept of ‘world firsts’ is so important to us—it’s the unique nature of doing something that has never been done before that appeals to our clients’ curious side.

How can business families benefit from experiencing a unique travelling experience together?

We approach each adventure with a blank canvas and pride ourselves on engineering every trip to be something that our guests will remember for the rest of their lives. No two trips are ever the same, nor two days of any trip. Our approach means we end up crafting an adventure that’s truly personal to the family.

Recently, a trip that I am incredibly proud of combined a luxury experience in Antarctica with ground-breaking scientific research. We arranged for a client to undertake a cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoying stunning scenery, incredible wildlife and memorable activities that included sailing into the caldera of a volcano, diving beneath the waves in a submersible, and hiking on the ice.

As part of the expedition, the family funded important scientific research into the discovery of a new species of killer whale. A project 15 years in the making, the donation allowed for a dedicated research vessel to be chartered off the southern tip of South America, and skin samples taken from this killer whale previously ‘unknown to science’.

The team of scientists met up with the client at the end of the expedition to go through the findings and the secrets of Type D killer whales.

How does your Cookson Adventures team cater for the differing perceptions of luxury travel your clients of differing ages and cultures may have?

That’s the biggest challenge, but one that gives us the greatest scope to be creative.

However large or small the request, we look to our network of experts from around the world to help us design an adventure unique to the client.

The beauty of luxury is that it is, in itself, only a perception. People see the world differently. And although different members of a trip may wish to undertake different activities, we will aim to unite the group through appreciation of the wider experience.

For example, younger clients on a superyacht safari might wish to take to the waters on jet skis, whilst the older members of the party trek on nearby icebergs.

Where in the world are families choosing to experience with Cookson Adventures at the moment and what are your recommendations for experiences for 2020?

Our experiences are so different that I don’t think I could recommend one in particular. A client may wish to participate in important conservation work, so we team them up with world-renowned scientists to help with breakthrough discoveries. Or they may wish to undertake a high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled experience that puts them out of their comfort zone. Whatever the request, we have an excellent team of researchers that works incredibly hard to get to know each client and their individual requirements and passions, so that they can refine all the details of a trip and build something unique and extraordinary.

However, what I will say is that the new way to explore is by submersible. Exploring the world in a private submersible is as close as possible to travelling to another planet. Today’s technologies allow guests of all ages to spend unique moments under the ocean’s surface and have a real opportunity to discover what no human has ever seen before.

How does Cookson Adventures host unforgettable travel experiences for families while preserving the planet for future generations?

Our endeavours in the world of conservation and sustainability come from my own love of nature and time spent, after school, travelling in Kenya and working as a guide on a riding safari. Something stirred in me whilst riding around the plains of Africa, interacting with the wildlife, including some of the world’s most endangered species, and learning from Maasai elders about their tribal ancestry.

I am now fortunate to be in a position where I can try and affect change in the world via major conservation projects that our clients are keen to contribute toward. Previously, we’ve organised for our client to support a project that re-homed 250 juvenile tortoises in the Galapagos Islands—a location they had been absent from in over 200 years. We also regularly promote shark-tagging with scientists as part of diving trips, so that we can continue to learn more about the health of our oceans and monitor the movements of endangered shark populations. Conservation will always run as a thread through our adventures.

For further information, visit: cooksonadventures.com

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