Having lived in 10 countries and traveled to 80 more, adventure-seeker Luca Franco’s true passion has always been travel.
In 2011, Luca founded Luxury Frontiers, a leading international expert in the design and development of upmarket adventure eco-lodges, resorts, and camps. Prior to forming the company, Luca was the owner of LLPI, an international advisory and management firm servicing developers and investors in luxury mixed-use hotels.
Q: Why did you choose your present industry at this time?
I absolutely love feeling and appreciating the true essence of a travel destination by physically engaging with it. A few years ago, I began identifying the greater public’s growing demand for experiential travel. People were (and still are) increasingly seeking travel which heightens their environmental awareness, immerses them into the local culture and communities, and crafts perspective-altering and life-changing journeys. I realized that experiential travel was not going to be a trend which would come and go, but that it was actually a reflection of a shift in consumer behavior. From there, I sought to form a business model which benefitted players in the travel industry while making a difference in the world around us.
It is our hope that our light-on-earth, eco-conscious designs help to shift the world’s travel trends increasingly towards environmentally and socially responsible tourism.
~ Luca Franco
As a result, Luxury Frontiers is proud to design experiential lodging concepts using alternative building materials and methodologies. It is our hope that our light-on-earth, eco-conscious designs help to shift the world’s travel trends increasingly towards environmentally and socially responsible tourism. Additionally, Luxury Frontiers’ unique architecture allows hotel owners and developers to boost the public profiles of their properties and efficiently increase returns. In fact, tented suites consistently achieve a 20-40% rate premium over traditional brick-and-mortar rooms at the same property.
Q: What is the best moment you can remember in your career?
The most memorable and remarkable moment of my career thus far is when I was working on a tree house resort project in the Amazon for a highly respected global brand, one which I admire for its commitment to wellness and sustainability. We were working together in Leticia, Colombia, and we drew our inspiration from the two local tribes for everything we did: from conceptualization of the project, to building materials, construction methodologies, and the architecture. The incredibly strong sense of place in the Amazon and the locals’ values, traditions, sense of community, and inherent respect for Mother Nature motivated the entire project. Our team was driven to successfully translate all of these facets to each future guest who would experience this resort, and as you might imagine, this was a very fulfilling endeavor.
Q: Who is your role model or hero?
I look up to Luke Bailes, the founder of the world-class African safari company, Singita. What he has created at Singita is simply extraordinary. The details throughout the lodging product and guest experience are impeccable. In true wilderness, Singita offers its guests high-touch service, expert guiding, a sublime culinary and wine experience, and arguably the most luxurious journey available to travelers today. Equally impressive, I admire Luke and his company’s dedication and real commitment to land preservation, wildlife conservation, and the uplift of local communities. I was lucky enough to experience some of the Singita lodges in South Africa, and it was apparent to me that each staff member was proud to be a part of the Singita mission.
Q: With the busy schedule of an executive and with all the travel you must do for Luxury Frontiers, how do you take time to travel for pleasure?
I am a marathon runner, and I try to make time in my life for running. I especially love to participate in extreme marathons for both fitness reasons and as a way to see amazing corners of the world. I have been fortunate enough to run in over 25 marathons to date, from the Volcano Marathon in Atacama, Chile to the Polar Circle Marathon in Greenland.