Interview with Jacada’s Founder & Managing Director, Alex Malcolm
Get to know Jacada’s founder and MD, Alex Malcolm…
What inspired you to start Jacada Travel?
I’ve always loved to travel, but the real spark for me came from my time living in Brazil. Spending such a long time living in a country that I loved, I realised that there are so many things that the conventional tourist doesn’t see in the short time that they have. By setting up Jacada, I set out to provide a way for them to have those special, authentic moments without having to actually live in the country.\
Luxury travel is a competitive market: how does Jacada differentiate itself from other companies?
Put simply, it’s the people: a combination of our hand-picked local guides, our knowledgeable travel designers’ attention to detail, and the rigorous support team that back them up. We’re always looking to find ways to connect our clients to the people in the places that they meet, as we find that’s what makes a destination shine more than anything else: the people that live there.
In the end, we want it to feel as easy and comfortable as if a friend were showing you around their hometown, much the same as I did in my then adopted Rio.
The definition of luxury travel has changed in recent years. What do you think luxury travel means today?
Luxury travel has extended far beyond the size of the bathroom or the materials of which the hotel is made. As the intensity of our everyday lives increase, we need a more fundamental change to shake us from the mundane. Our travel needs to be truly amazing, not just a different view from the window; we need to be out there, partaking in the extraordinary. That’s what Jacada seeks to provide.
Eco-travel is increasingly important for the luxury travel industry. How does Jacada consider these issues when creating trips?
Luxury tourism, when done correctly, has the most amazing potential to protect the last wildernesses of the planet. Private conservancies and intimate, small-scale tourism at the highest level provide both a sanctuary for wildlife and a source of income for the people that co-habit these amazing places. That’s why we look for the best examples of well-run private conservancies to bring our clients to.
Do you have an all-time favourite hotel, city or country?
I’ll never forget Rio: enjoying a beer at the side of the Lagoa in the evening, the illuminated Christ the Redeemer seemingly floating in the sky, and an impromptu music performance in the background. It’s a magical place.
Another incredible experience was being able to get close to the black rhino in Kenya. They’re being poached at a really alarming rate, but it’s through tourism that conservation thrives, so I hope we can encourage as many people as possible to travel to Africa for this purpose.
What is one of the most amazing experiences you’ve created for a client?
Some of our clients wanted to go surfing in a really remote area for the afternoon, so we arranged a special helicopter transfer for them to make it happen. We had cocktails and their boards waiting for them on the beach.
Is there anywhere you haven’t yet been that you’re eager to visit?
I’d really love the chance to get up close to the mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park, in Congo.
What do you see for Jacada Travel in the future?
Expanding to every one of the world’s most exciting and exotic destinations, and striving to provide more ‘out of this world’, unique experiences.
Tell us the most important thing you’ve learnt since creating Jacada Travel.
The most important things we need in travel are those things which modern life can limit: time, space, and real connections with other people.