Eastern & Oriental Express Becomes 'Tiger Express' In Bangkok To Singapore Trip For Tigers

The six-day, five-night ‘Tiger Express’ – a special trip organised aboard Belmond’s luxury train, the Eastern & Oriental Express – will pass through the tiger’s traditional habitat as it travels from Bangkok to Singapore and help to raise awareness about endangered big cats.

The six-day, five-night ‘Tiger Express’ – a special trip organised aboard Belmond’s luxury train, the Eastern & Oriental Express – will pass through the tiger’s traditional habitat as it travels from Bangkok to Singapore and help to raise awareness about endangered big cats.

LVMH + Sustainability

Reporting on the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels last December, we rather tongue-in-cheek wondered if Bernard Arnault will now save the elephants. Conservation and sustainability priorities are increasingly a high priority for younger customers. Within this context, it seems that saving elephants and other big game is a perfect initiative for the LVMH group, as they expand their luxury hotel business. Bernard Arnault himself has noted the luxury consumers move towards experiences and not more possessions.

On September 7 of this year, hotel and leisure company Belmond and its Eastern & Oriental Express will embark on a luxurious six-day, five-night train trip from Bangkok to Singapore. Called the ‘Tiger Express’, the excursion has teamed up with the global tiger conservation charity initiative, ‘Save Wild Tigers, to “raise awareness about the plight of the world’s last remaining wild tigers, writes Friday’s The South China Morning Post.

Three nights during the six-day train journey will be spent on board Belmond’s luxurious ‘Tiger Express’.

Three nights during the six-day train journey will be spent on board Belmond’s luxurious ‘Tiger Express’.

The endangered big cats could be extinct within a decade, writes ‘Tiger Express’

The landing page of Save Wild Tigers features the trip. 20% of the ticket price will be donated to Save Wild Tigers, and guests will enjoy the company of each other, artists, and unnamed ambassadors from Save Wild Tigers.

Only 3,800 tigers remain in the wild worldwide, with as few as 400 in Thailand and Malaysia, Belmond says. If numbers continue to decline at their current rate, wild tigers will be extinct within the decade.

“With potentially as few as 10 years left to save this iconic species from extinction, the clock really is ticking,” says Simon Clinton, founder of Save Wild Tigers. This is not the first collaboration between Belmond and Save Wild Tigers. They first teamed up in 2014 to launch the ‘Tiger Express’.

Prices start from £3,724 (US$4,865) per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin, which includes all meals, one night’s accommodation each at Siam Bangkok and Raffles Singapore, and three nights on board the train, plus the two excursions and transfers to and from the train. Read more information about the trip and bookings at Belmond.com.


Bernared Arnault’s Wealth Is Growing At An Astonishing Rate

Bernard Arnault recently became the richest person in Europe – overtaking Warren Buffett to become the third-richest person in the world, after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, published on March 6, 2019. Bloomberg estimates Arnault’s wealth at $83.1 billion, making him the richest person in the fashion industry.

In January 2019, Bernard Arnault made US$4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9 per cent.

Arnault is getting richer at an astonishing rate, writes The South China Morning Post in a March review of the Frenchman’s finances. In January 2019, Bernard Arnault made US$4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9 per cent. Between the end of January and February 27, he added another US$3.9 billion to his fortune.

Arnault has built LVMH into a triumphant capitalist success story, while described by the press as “ruthless,” “able to exploit,” “famously litigious,” and “a wolf in cashmere clothing.” 

To address these headlines, Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s son from his first marriage, assumed additional new LVMH responsibilities in June, 2018 as head of the group's image and communication strategy. According to Bloomberg, Arnault “stressed the importance of the role, saying his son will be in charge of managing the ‘growing attention’ in the company from the media and public, and pointing to social media as an area of particular focus.”

LVMH's awareness of the "growing attention from the media, observers, public authorities, as well as the general public,” and specifically, the "increased exposure" – coupled with a different vision of corporate responsibilities among Arnault’s five children — suggests that the group recognizes the need to craft its reputation more carefully than it has in the past

Within this context, it seems that saving tigers, elephants and other big game is a perfect initiative for the LVMH group, as they expand their luxury hotel business. Bernard Arnault himself has noted that luxury consumers are moving towards experiences and not more possessions. .

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Mixing Nelson Mandela's Spirit With Navajo + Peruvian Practices, Londolozi South Africa Opens Healing House Spa

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Londolozi is one of South Africa’s original private game reserves, considered to be a pillar of global ecotourism. The word Londolozi comes from the Zulu word meaning ‘Protector Of All Living Things’. The Londolozi Game Reserve lived up to its name, in the reflections of Dave Varty’s 2013 blog post ‘Remembering Madiba’.

As the helicopter landed in the front of Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa and outstepped Nelson Mandela, I knew that this would be a defining moment in my life. Madiba had been sent by an old friend, Enos Mabuza, to spend a few quiet days relaxing at Londolozi after weeks of hectic media exposure following his release from prison earlier that year.

A rare photograph of Nelson Mandela arriving at Londolozi in 1991.

A rare photograph of Nelson Mandela arriving at Londolozi in 1991.

During these amazing days at Londolozi, Nelson Mandela saw Africa’s Big Five wildlife — lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo — for the first time in his life. The term ‘Africa’s Big Five’ was originally coined by big-game hunters, and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. Today the term is more frequently used by safari operators offering well-heeled tourists glimpses of animal majesty.

It was at Londolozi that Mandela — or Madiba — as he was called with reverence in South Africa and beyond, came to understand the power of the eco tourism safari industry as a development tool. Eco tourism promised opportunity, careers, social upliftment, jobs and education for those who had been caught in the indefensible disaster of the apartheid trap. 

Londolozi is situated on the Sand River it the heart of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. In 1993, Londolozi became the first game reserve in the world to be accorded Relais & Châteaux status.

This award came nearly 70 years after Londolozi founders Charles Boyd Varty and Frank Unger, came up with a plan to buy an almost inaccessible piece of land on the banks of the Sand River, camp under its 1,000-year-old ebony trees, and run hunting safaris there.  In 1969, Varty’s grandsons Dave and John, and Dave’s wife Shan took stewardship of Londolozi, ditching guns for cameras in an entrepreneurial launch of South Africa’s first photographic safaris.

This Could Just Be The Most Forward-Thinking Wellness Offering in Africa

Writing for CNTraveller, Francesca Syz takes us to Londolozi and the reopening of its most exclusive offering — the three-bedroom Private Granite Suites, positioned perfectly for watching elephants frolic from its new bar, and the 10-bedroom Varty Camp, which sits in the footprint of the family’s original mud rondavels. 

Londolozi has also opened its first spa, the Healing House, and London-based Syz describes it as potentially “the most forward-thinking wellness offering in Africa.” In a story that spans generations Dave and Shan Varty have been replaced by their children Bronwyn and Boyd, who are the newest visionaries behind Londolozi.

Trained by Oprah’s life coach Martha Beck, the duo is heavily impacted by Beck’s belief “that the senses are deadened by desk jobs and smartphones and that you need to learn to listen to your body, the ultimate navigational tool, to tap into your innate wisdom”. Beck struck a deep cord in the modern-day hearts of Bronwyn and Boyd.

Impacted by their studies with Navaho medicine men and Peruvian shamans, sound — long considered to an original healing fix — is at the center of their rituals. These practices render Londolozi’s new spa as a fusion experience of ancient global practices that now harness the energy of the African wilderness. Read on at CNTraveller.

LVMH Acquires Luxury Travel's Belmond Hotels | Will Bernard Arnault Help Save The Elephants

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AOC awoke Saturday morning to news that LVMH has set in motion the acquisition of Belmond Hotels. “Belmond, a fast-growing company based in London, offers its wealthy customers some of the most opulent travel experiences money can buy in settings like the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Orient Express trains connecting major European cities,” wrote The New York Times.

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company based on revenues from brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, offered to pay $25 a share for Belmond, a premium of more than 40 percent on the company’s closing price, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

The deal emphasized the limitless financial resources available to the world’s very rich customers. as well as the ongoing move away from buying ‘things’ and the growing appetite for ‘experiences’. This transition to the value of ‘experiences’ is pronounced among the entire younger generation, regardless of income, and dovetails well with their environmental concerns over accumulating more stuff.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Friday’s Porter Edit had a sponsored post from Belmond Africa, based in South Africa and Botswana. The luxury hotel jumping off point gave us an opportunity to update the hot topic of the well-being of Botswana’s elephants, the largest elephant population in Africa and one that has been relatively stable until disputed reports of almost 90 dead elephants hit headlines in September.

One of the greatest conservation challenges in Africa is the cost of upgrading the continent’s parks and employing the resources to fight animal poaching. As many African leaders are quick to note, Europeans, Americans and other armchair conservationists are are more concerned about elephants and lions than African babies. AOC finds it difficult to dispute the assertion.

In October 2018, researchers put a price on protecting Africa’s wildlife at a minimum of $1.2 billion each year.

Our mind is always big picture at AOC — along with connecting dots — so of course the first question that came to mind after reading about the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels was wondering how Bernard Arnault help help save the world’s elephants and other big game.

Conservationists argue that luxury hotels, capitalizing on the beauty and majesty of Africa’s wildlife, simply must become a source of revenue and creative policy making in keeping wildlife alive. LVMH may not have the in-house skill set to sponsor such an initiative, but Arnault’s teams certainly have the financial budget to acquire it.