Washington, DC – Jim Sano, one of the foremost experts in adventure travel and sustainable tourism, has joined World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as Vice President of Travel, Tourism and Conservation.
Sano, the long-standing president of the San Francisco-based adventure travel company Geographic Expeditions, will work on the nexus of travel, conservation and philanthropy. He will serve as WWF’s senior advisor on sustainable tourism programs, develop new opportunities for WWF’s most engaged members to experience WWF’s work, and bolster the organization’s philanthropic initiatives.
“This is a natural fit,” said Mr. Sano. “The most magnificent and pristine places on Earth that WWF is working to protect are also premier tourist destinations. Travelers to these locations receive great joy from their experience and are looking for a way to give back.”
Sano joined Geographic Expeditions in 1988, growing it from a company of just eight employees to one with a staff of 50 and multiple accolades, including the distinction of best adventure travel company in the world in 2012.
He previously worked as a National Park Service ranger at Yosemite National Park in California. Additionally, he was the founding president of the Mono Lake Foundation, founding director of the Natural Step and the Yosemite Restoration Trust, and director of the Trust for Public Land and WWF’s National Council. Sano received five National Park Service Special Achievement awards, and also led the first American men and women’s expedition to Mt. Everest in Nepal. He is a frequent speaker at U.S. and international tourism conferences because of his commitment to conservation and his expertise in adventure and sustainable travel.
“Jim is a rock star in the active-adventure travel field. He knows how to build adventures that show people the heart and soul of the places we cherish, and engage them in making a difference. We're grateful he's chosen to bring his talents and experiences to WWF to advance our mission, and I can't wait to work with him,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF.
WWF is working to increase the number of ecotourism programs within local communities around the world. Currently, WWF works in the Galápagos on sustainable tourism to both support conservation and improve people’s livelihoods. In Namibia, WWF helps to manage conservancies to foster a growing ecotourism program as well. In Nepal, WWF supports community-based tourism initiatives by training local people in establishing a sustainable tourism infrastructure. Furthermore, WWF offers a variety of member tours in which a portion of the trip cost goes to support WWF’s global conservation efforts.