WTTC Global Summit 2012 Profile: Geoffrey Kent, chief executive officer Abercrombie & Kent
A pioneer of the modern luxury safari, Geoffrey Kent has taken his company - and his clients - from undiscovered areas of the African continent to the furthermost reaches of the globe.
Under his visionary direction, Abercrombie & Kent has grown to offer small group escorted journeys and tailor made private travel options to more than 100 countries on all seven continents.
The company built its award-winning reputation by being the first to bring unexpected comforts and amenities to remote destinations.
Geoffrey Kent began life much as he lives it today - amid excitement and adventure in an exotic location.
He was born while his parents, Colonel John and Valerie Kent, were on safari in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Growing up on the family farm in the Aberdale Highlands of Kenya, his eventful childhood was spent in the splendour and drama of untamed Africa.
He attended the then-new Duke of York School in Nairobi, which would ultimately produce many of Kenya’s business and science leaders.
After attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Kent saw service in such far-flung countries as Bahrain, Kuwait and Malta.
Abercrombie & Kent
Back in Kenya, the irrepressibly energetic Kent joined his parents in founding Abercrombie & Kent as a luxury safari operation.
By 1967, his parents retired and he moved full bore into turning A&K into the internationally renowned luxury travel powerhouse that it is today.
In the 1970s, Kent, who by then had long been the managing director of the company, entered into partnership with Jorie Ford Butler of Oak Brook, Illinois, to expand Abercrombie & Kent. To this day, they continue to travel the world in search of the kinds of adventures that will surprise and thrill their clients.
Under their passionate and visionary guidance - Geoffrey Kent serves as chairman and chief executive, Jorie Butler Kent as vice chairman - Abercrombie & Kent represents the uncompromising best at every turn in the road.
A&K plans explorations to such regions of the world as Africa, Antarctica, Australia and the South Pacific, China and the Orient, India, Europe, Egypt and the Middle East, South and Central America and the western United States and Canada.
The company owns many of the products it uses to create its unforgettable holidays and has introduced many experiences now considered the best in travel.
This luxury portfolio includes Sanctuary Lodges & Camps in Africa, four Sanctuary Sun Boats on the Nile, the Sanctuary MS ‘Yangzi Explorer’ five-star boutique cruise ship in China, the world-famous Royal Scotsman train and the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express trains and river cruisers in Europe and Asia.
This “new millennium” approach to travel promotes cultural understanding and insures privileged access for guests on both small group and independent programs.
Away from Abercrombie & Kent
In between these expeditions and forays, Kent became a world-renowned polo player; he was captain of the A&K team in the United States for more than 20 years and twice won the US Open, the US Gold Cup and the World Cup.
He served as captain and patron of the Windsor Park polo team, on which he played with HRH the Prince of Wales.
He is president of the Prince of Wales Foundation in the United States.
Kent also currently chairs the World Travel & Tourism Council, a position he will relinquish after the 2012 Global Summit.
He also is a governor of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Sector of the World Economic Forum.
In recognition of Abercrombie & Kent’s fiftieth Anniversary in 2012, Kent was inducted into the British Travel & Hospitality Industry Hall of Fame.