Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Adventure Champions are the vanguards of the adventure travel industry, having been members of ATTA and leaders in the community for a minimum of 15 years. They are true believers in the power of adventure travel and have made an impact on the direction of ATTA and on the industry as a whole. To honor their commitment to their ethos and lasting contribution to the adventure travel industry, we are spotlighting Adventure Champions through a series of interviews.
Inbound Tour Operator
ATTA Member since 2007
Introducing Jorge Perez, Founder of Tierra del Volcan
Tell us about Tierra del Volcan: Tierra del Volcan, established in 1999, is a sustainable, award-winning inbound tour operator for Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands, specializing in the Cotopaxi area, offering legendary moments, World-class adventures, family-focused journeys, and transformational experiences. Owns two award-winning working Hacienda Lodges next to Cotopaxi Volcano, Hacienda El Porvenir, and Hacienda El Tambo, and third near Imbabura Volcano, Hacienda El Cerotal. Each hacienda operates conservation programs and active and cultural itineraries – including horseback riding, mountain biking, trekking, hiking, climbing, glamping, cooking classes, cultural encounters, wellness, and more. Tierra del Volcan has been recommended by The New York Times, Outside, Travel + Leisure, VICE, Men’s Journal, Travel Weekly, Affar.
Why have you stayed an ATTA member for 15+ years?
I went to my first ATWS in 2007 in Whistler, and to tell you the truth, I decided to go, basically, because it was an opportunity to ride my bike in a place considered the mountain biking Mecca! But when I got to my first summit, I found a group of like-minded and passionate people willing to think out of the box, break the status quo and do a completely different travel not only allows you to do business but also learn, inspire, and connect. I found that at ATWS everyone is that treated everyone the same; they’re not dividing it between buyers and suppliers but instead connecting each other as a tribe. I could apply my experience with ATTA to the wisdom of Quien a buen arbol se arrima, buena sombre le cobija, (Who comes close to a good tree, good shade shelters him/her); I feel that if I stay next to them, we could change the world to be a better and more sustainable place! and I know we are still pushing that goal together.
Over the years, the ATTA and its team have shown to be not only to be good partners but amazing friends, willing to go the extra mile more than once. After 15 years, they have become family.
How has your destination changed over the last 15 years?
Our history begins a century ago with a compromise to the preservation of the sacred highlands or paramos where Hacienda El Porvenir (the first hotel by Tierra del Volcan) rests. Tierra del Volcan’s project was born to promote conservation and sustainability through tourism more than two decades ago (1999). Tierra del Volcan has reinvented itself constantly to use sustainable tourism and adventure and transformational travel towards the conservation of the environment and the culture, aligned with the UN goals of the millennium, the wellbeing of the local communities, the promotion of sustainable development in all its dimensions, and the life-changing experiences for our visitors.
Our goal is to share and preserve this unique and beautiful place for the future. We are a forward-thinking enterprise committed to the preservation of the environment through creativity, using our deep knowledge of the area we are and have been rooted in. We believe in sustainability to meet both human and environmental needs and find that natural balance to sustain both.
After COVID-19, we transitioned into more holistic models. Developing new transformational travel itineraries and nature-based solutions (NBS) that are place-based, community-focused, and environmentally centered approaches for balanced well-being.
What is the greatest force that drives you to work every day?
The industry I work in, for several reasons. We are blessed to have the opportunity to provide our guests with experiences that can change their lives forever; we can create opportunities for the local people to stay where they live instead of migrating, and to preserve and be proud of their culture, and at the same time help to protect and care for natural and sacred places. It doesn’t get better than this!
What gives you hope about the next generation of adventure travel leaders?
Their youthful perspective. When you are young, you think that changing the world is easy, and believing that something can be done, is the first step to making it happen. There is no doubt that believing is the first and most important step toward success.
I also see a young generation understanding that we are one planet, one human race and that together we stand, divided we fall.
What is your advice for young adventure travel companies?
Focus on what excites you, dream like there where no chance of losing, believe in yourself, and overall persevere. Open your eyes to new opportunities and your ears to your guest. Pay attention to what others do, learn from their success, and learn from your failures.
Identify your competitors, but understand that the other companies in the travel industry are your allies.
What gets you excited about the adventure of travel?
It’s the potential to change the world, especially when you mix it with transformational travel.
Connect with Tierra del Volcan:
Facebook: Tierra del Volcan / Hacienda El Porvenir
YouTube: Tierra del Volcan