CEO Beyond Africa, Mantis Collection
Paul Gardiner is the CEO of Mantis Collection (internationally), a hotel group made up of eco-lodges and hotels located on all seven continents. His career began as a game ranger in South Africa in 1994 on his father’s wildlife reserve called Shamwari. Today his responsibility with his team based out of the UK is to grow the Mantis brand beyond just Africa. They have opportunities in the Middle East, Cuba, China, Montenegro, the Swiss Alps, the South of France and the UK that they’re currently exploring. With the world going crazy for glamping and eco experiences they’re well placed to capitalize on the opportunity considering they already have experience in developing, operating and marketing these products so successfully throughout Africa for over 25 years. In recent years Paul has also struck up a relationship with the television personality and adventurer, Bear Grylls. Mantis Media is the creative arm of Mantis Collection and they’re responsible for taking what Bear does so well on television and bringing it to life for kids, adults, corporates etc. Essentially they’re responsible for all Bear’s location based entertainment. They recently partnered with Merlin Entertainments to develop a $22m Bear Grylls Adventure Park in the UK.
Mantis has recently partnered with Accor Hotels, together they have a 50/50 JV. The JV allows Mantis amazing distribution via their new “big brother” and it gives Accor a stronghold in Sub Saharan Africa where Mantis are particularly strong – so it’s a win win for both. Together the JV has already launched the Conservation Community Fund Africa (CCFA) This grant-giving Foundation is registered in South Africa as a non-profit company and has uniquely brought together three internationally admired wildlife conservation organisations as its Founding members: Wilderness Foundation Africa, Tusk Trust and African Parks. The Mantis Accor partnerships intentions are two fold, the one is to further grow and develop the Mantis brand across Africa, and the second is to take the unique Mantis eco lodge DNA model to other amazing parts of the world.
Although Paul is UK based he spends a third of the year in South Africa – he and his father are the driving force behind a new pioneering initiative which they’re launching at their game reserve in South Africa which will see the creation of the first ever Eco Lodge Innovation Hub. Paul has also launched his very own media platform to help spread the word of the amazing work that people from all walks of life are involved in, within the world of conservation and eco-tourism.