Geoffrey Kent

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Geoffrey JW Kent (Born July 14, 1942) is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, an international luxury travel company.

Kent is credited with introducing the first luxury photographic African Safari [1] in 1962.

Early life[edit]

Geoffrey Kent 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 Aberdare Highlands of Kenya, Kent's childhood was spent in the wilds of untamed Africa.

Kent attended the Duke of York School in Nairobi, which produced many of Kenya's business and science leaders.

At 16, Kent undertook solitary exploration of the African continent that would in many ways come to define the course of his life. On a two-month trek, Kent became the first to travel by motorbike 5,000 miles between Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa.[2]

After attending the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, Kent saw service in countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, and Malta. Kent's distinguished armed forces career was cut relatively short as a result of hearing damage from years spent in heavy tanks.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Abercrombie & Kent[edit]

While serving in the British Army, he joined his parents in founding Abercrombie & Kent. Being influenced by his time in the British Military, Kent repositioned the safari experience as a "hunt with a camera, not with a gun"[4] and introduced the first mobile tented safari's with refrigeration that made it possible to have fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and ice in the bush.[5]

By 1967, Kent's parents retired and it was after his parents retirement that he transformed Abercrombie & Kent into a luxury travel service [6] that provided luxury safari camps and lodges.

Kent's Luxury Cocoon[7] style safari attracted numerous celebrities such as James Brolin, Kristin Davis, Bill Gates,[8] John Grisham, Tom Hanks, Dr.Henry Kissinger, Goldie Hawn, Lauren Hutton, Sharon Lawrence, Liam Neeson, Rachel Ray, Diane Sawyer, Jane Seymour, Barbara Walters, Denzel Washington and Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.[9]

Kent pioneered travel by private jet with The Royal Air Tour in 1989, having been the first to feature the Concorde Supersonic Jet with British Airways.[10]

Awards and Council[edit]

Kent is a founding member of the World Travel and Tourism Council[11] the world's largest organisation for travel and tourism. He served as a Chairman on the council for 6 years.

Geoffrey Kent was inducted to the British Travel and Hospitality Industry Hall of Fame[12] on April 17, 2012.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards[13] in 2014.

Television[edit]

To the Ends of the Earth with Geoffrey Kent aired on the USA Network in 1994[14] with Lauren Hutton in Papua New Guinea and James Brolin in Kenya. The series received two nominations for the Award for Cable Excellence Cable ACE Award, considered to be the cable counterpart to the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Philanthropy[edit]

In 1982 Kent and then wife Jorie Butler Kent founded Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting ecosystems and wildlife that also supports local communities. These efforts were recognized by the World Travel and Tourism Council's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, Condė Nast Traveler with their World Savers Award[15] for leadership in social responsibility, and by Travel + Leisure with their Global Vision Award[16] for Leadership in Philanthropic Travel.

Personal life[edit]

Geoffrey Kent married Otavia Jardim, a Brazilian model, in 2010. His second wife, Jorie Butler Kent, with whom he continued to develop Abercrombie & Kent in the U.S after leaving his first wife Andrea Joss remains Vice Chairman of the company.

Kent was a world-renowned Polo player as Captain of the Rolex/Abercrombie & Kent team, winning the U.S. Open twice, the U.S. Gold Cup, the Cartier International and the most esteemed cup in polo, and the World Open Championship. He served as captain and patron of the Windsor Park polo team, on which he played alongside the Prince of Wales.[17]

He has one son, Joss, from a previous marriage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wiese, Icons and Innovations "Robb Report" January 1st, 2006
  2. ^ A Life in Travel - Geoffrey Kent "Be Happy Magazine", n.d.
  3. ^ Geoffrey J.W. Kent Profile "Bloomberg website", updated April 15th, 2014
  4. ^ Abercrombie and Kent: The Last Hunt, "departures.com", 2013
  5. ^ Dragun, N. Safari pioneer Geoffrey Kent's incredible African odessey, "CNN", February 4th, 2013
  6. ^ Olmstead, L.Forbes 6 Best Tour Operators, "Forbes.com", 2013
  7. ^ Clash, M. Go Wild, "Forbes", October 9th, 2000
  8. ^ Gates, B. Here's My Plan to Improve the World, "Wired", November 12th, 2013
  9. ^ Cry the Beloved Country Tour of South Africa"Oprah Winfrey's Book Club", January 1st, 2006
  10. ^ Frank, R. Inside the $80,000 private jet safari "CNBC", June 20th, 2014
  11. ^ World Travel and Tourism Council - Official "Geoffrey Kent Member Profile"
  12. ^ Geoffrey Kent Inducted into British Hospitality Hall of Fame, 50th Anniversary of Abercrombie & Kent,"British Travel and Hospitality" April, 2002
  13. ^ Lifetime Achievement Award Winner "Travel Weekly", 2014
  14. ^ To the Ends of the Earth - Travel Show imdb.com
  15. ^ Buchmeyer, J.P. "Abercrombie & Kent: Funding Healthcare and Education from Ecuador to India" , "Condé Nast", August 12th, 2013
  16. ^ Global Vision Award, Travel + Leisure, "Travel + Leisure", October 2010
  17. ^ Eskenazi, G. "A Prince's Game Hopes to Gather a Common Audience", "The New York Times', November 11th, 1985