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Ecuador’s visionary travel entrepreneur, Roque Sevilla, scoops the award for ‘Contribution to Experiential Travel’ at this year’s PURE Life Experiences

Roque Sevilla
Straight from PURE Life Experiences in Marrakesh comes the announcement that Metropolitan Touring’s chairman, Roque Sevilla, has won the coveted award for ‘Contribution to Experiential Travel’ as voted by PURE’s exclusive community of the industry’s most accomplished travel specialists, suppliers and media. Competing against stiff competition, this accolade celebrates a true pioneer whose commitment, curiosity and daring vision sets new standards within the experiential travel industry, directly influencing its growth and development.

Launched in 2009, PURE is a platform for an emerging movement of mavericks re-imagining the role of high-end, experiential travel to positively impact conservation efforts and transform lives. It has grown to become the ultimate marketplace for the experiential travel industry, where pioneering minds gather once a year for a week of ideas, inspiration and innovation.   

“It is a privilege in itself to be a part of the PURE community,” says Sevilla, “but to be recognised to this extent for our contribution to sustainable tourism in Ecuador and to the wider global travel industry is truly humbling.  It is testament to my long-standing team of colleagues and trusted local partners who have supported my vision and I am of course enormously grateful to our precious trade and media partners around the world for their votes.”  

A lifetime of leadership for environmental causes such as Ecuador’s chapter of WWF and the Charles Darwin Foundation served as a base for Sevilla’s establishment as a top leader in experiential travel.  With these experiences under his belt, Sevilla went on to purchase Metropolitan Touring, a company which pioneered expeditions to the Galápagos Islands back in the 1960s, and vastly expand its product offerings in the archipelago with three further expedition vessels and the refurbishment of the Finch Bay Galápagos Hotel, the Galápagos’ leading green hotel. Sevilla proceeded to spearhead a significant expansion in mainland Ecuador, negotiating the purchase and sensitive restoration of an iconic historic mansion house in the historic heart of Quito, Casa Gangotena, which launched in 2011 as the city’s most elegant hotel, now listed as one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 hotels in the world.  

Arguably Sevilla’s boldest project is Mashpi Lodge, which was unveiled in 2012 in the heart of a 1,300-hectare reserve that protects a small slice of the Chocó biodiversity “hotspot”. Born out of his desire to conserve the biodiversity of the Andean forests which had suffered so much deforestation, Mashpi Lodge was selected as a founding member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and offers a host of experiences for inquisitive nature lovers looking to explore the biodiverse world of the cloud forest whilst minimising their environmental impact. Throughout his career, Sevilla has sown the seeds for respectful relations with local communities, protection for the environment and the use of experiential travel as a means to build connections and awareness of the importance of Ecuador’s natural and cultural heritage.

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