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Latin America and Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures, will be celebrating their 15th birthday on 25th July 2019. In recognition of this milestone, co-founders Greg Carter and Chad Carey reflect on the inspiration behind the business and the key lessons they have learnt in 15 years.
Australia’s largest Latin America and Antarctica wholesalers began in 2004 after friends and seasoned travellers, Carter and Carey, had been at a boat race in London discussing travel modes in South America. Frustrated with the inflexibility, low quality and high price of existing tours, they were inspired to start their own South America travel company.
Chimu Adventures was born – introducing fully flexible, guaranteed Latin America itineraries and polar expedition cruises to the Australian travel industry.
July 25th, 2019, marks 15 years of Chimu Adventures. In this time, the business has fulfilled its mission to have full control over the flexibility, quality and value of its Latin America and polar adventures, while also giving back. It has grown into an AU$40m enterprise, employing over 70 staff in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, Germany and on the ground in Latin America. 2020 will see Chimu commence their own Antarctic operations aboard the Ocean Endeavour.
Chimu have also helped raise close to $1m in funds towards purpose related activities in the past 15 years, for example through microfinancing projects and donations. Carter explains where this philanthropic ethos stems from: “Chad and I come from households where giving back was always part of life and this has always inspired us. One thing that has stuck from childhood is the saying: ‘Don’t help because it is convenient, help because you can.’ Working in countries such as Peru, a developing country, you see how important reciprocity from our operations is.”
Existing in the niche markets of South America and the polar regions has highlighted to Carter and Carey how inspiring the travel industry is and how it spreads acceptance, inclusion and understanding. Carey elaborates: “What better way to break down prejudice than to help someone travel to South America, meet the people and realise how life is there. How better to teach people about the environmental impact of climate change than to promote places like Antarctica, educate passengers on what is happening there and bring them home as advocates.”
They are, however, concerned that a lack of innovation within the industry is damaging and that the copy-cat culture of companies simply replicating each other’s ideas will be detrimental. Carter states: “Companies aren’t taking risks and there is a paucity of unique creativity in the industry. We have this amazing licence to do so much so we need to inspire one another to do more but in an innovative way.”
Carter and Carey’s vision for Chimu in the coming years is focused on sustainability (particularly with their new Antarctic voyages); empowering and inspiring their employees through encouraging transparency and autonomy; and using data to continue the creative marketing of their unique products.
Carter and Carey conclude: “As we mature we can proudly look back on the journey that has been and, hand on heart, say that this has not been a profit grabbing venture, rather an all-encompassing voyage, working with the people and the environment around us, offering inspiration to all that we encounter.”
Carter and Carey are available for an interview for those who would like to learn more about 15 years of Chimu Adventures and more information can be found of their 15th birthday page.
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