Meet the visionaries: Luca Franco

Published in: Visionaries

An authentic luxury traveler is often searching for new and authentic accommodations, where they can disconnect from day-to-day life and can find a deep connection with the destinations they visit. The magic often lies in the subtle interplay between stunning landscapes and the elegant structures that grace them. Luxury Frontiers is well known for its designs of sustainable and immersive resorts and lodges in naturally beautiful locations all over the world.

 

1. Luca, as a valued member of our advisory board, you played a crucial role in shaping our brand identity by suggesting the name Authentic Luxury. Where did the inspiration come from?

 

Experiential travel is all about authenticity—each place and stay should be unique, offering something true to the area. To me, luxury is about experiencing the real, which is why I proposed the name 'Authentic Luxury' for what was previously known as the World of Glamping. Additionally, I'm not the biggest fan of the word 'glamping.' It has become a buzzword used by many, and over the last couple of years, 'glamping' has not always stood for luxury experiential travel.

Photo below: Luca Franco, CEO & Founder - of Luxury Frontiers

2. How did you start with the immersive luxury designs of properties? What inspired you to start with these designs and where do you get ideas to create such fascinating projects?

 

Having lived in 10 countries and traveled to 80 more, my true passion has always been travel. I absolutely love immersing myself in the true essence of a destination by physically engaging with it. Around 2008, I began noticing the growing demand among the public for experiential travel. People were, and still are, increasingly seeking journeys that heighten their environmental awareness, immerse them in local culture and communities, and provide perspective-altering, life-changing experiences. Recognizing that experiential travel was not just a passing trend but a reflection of a shift in consumer behavior, I set out to create a business model that benefits players in the travel industry while making a positive impact on the world around us.

Photo below: Madwaleni River Lodge; designed by Luxury Frontiers

3. As a visionary in the hospitality industry, what trends do you foresee shaping the future of experiential travel, and how is Luxury Frontiers positioned to embrace these trends in upcoming projects

 

The trends shaping the future of experiential travel align with the Luxury Frontiers brand ethos. Many of these trends are consistently implemented in Luxury Frontiers-designed projects. Our strategic advisory team educates clients on incorporating these trends into their projects to meet market demands.

Key Trends:

1. Cultural Immersion: Authentic cultural experiences, including language immersion and participation in local events, will remain crucial for travelers.

2. Wellness and Mindful Travel: The wellness trend will persist, focusing on activities promoting physical and mental well-being, such as wellness retreats and mindfulness experiences.

3. Personalization: Increasingly popular, tailored experiences may include more customization options for travelers to create unique itineraries based on their preferences.

4. Off-the-Beaten-Path Exploration: The future of experiential travel involves exploring less crowded, unique destinations with an emphasis on authenticity and exclusivity.

5. Adventure and Outdoor Activities: The adventure travel market, expected to reach $4.6 trillion by 2032, continues to grow. Travelers seek adrenaline rushes through activities like trekking, water sports, and wildlife safaris, with the adventure and safari segments commanding over 40% of the luxury market share.

Photo below: Camp Sarika, AMANGIRI, designed by Luxury Frontiers

4. How does Luxury Frontiers ensure that your architecture designs maintain a luxurious and sophisticated feel for high-end travelers while being environmentally sustainable?

 

At Luxury Frontiers, we define luxury as a curated experience, aligning context with culture and placing the guest at its core. Our design strategies include:

1. Innovative Design: We integrate sustainable materials, energy-efficient technologies, and eco-friendly construction for a harmonious coexistence with the environment.

2. Natural Integration: Our designs seamlessly blend with natural surroundings, minimizing disruption to ecosystems and enhancing the overall guest experience.

3. Energy Efficiency: Prioritizing renewable sources and smart building systems, we reduce ecological footprints and contribute to long-term cost savings.

4. Local Sourcing: Emphasizing regional materials and craftsmanship supports local economies, reduces emissions, and adds a unique cultural flavor to our designs.

5. Bespoke Luxury: Every design element is curated for a personalized luxury experience, combining high-quality materials and exquisite finishes to meet the expectations of discerning travelers.

Photo below: Madwaleni River Lodge; designed by Luxury Frontiers

5. Your designs are recognized as one of the top in the world. With sophisticated Camp Sarika by Amangiri, to Naviva by Four Seasons in Mexico, and many more. Which project was the most challenging for you and why?

 

Honestly, each project presents its own unique challenges. Working in remote locations can pose difficulties in terms of obtaining supplies and bringing contractors to the site. However, this is precisely why we consistently collaborate with local architects and craftsmanship. Another common challenge is the considerable time it takes for our vision to materialize; most projects require three to five years to come to fruition.

 

6. Your camps are often located in remote and ecologically sensitive destinations. Can you elaborate on how Luxury Frontiers incorporates eco-friendly practices in the construction and operation of their hospitality structures?

 

Key aspects of our eco-friendly practices include:

1. Sustainable Materials: Prioritizing locally sourced materials reduces environmental impact and supports regional craftsmanship.

2. Energy Efficiency: Our structures integrate solar power, smart systems, and passive design, minimizing energy consumption and promoting reliance on renewables.

3. Minimal Environmental Disruption: Construction methods prioritize minimal disruption, with careful site planning to avoid ecosystem disturbance.

4. Water Conservation: Implementing efficient plumbing, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater treatment reduces water consumption, supporting local ecosystems.

5. Local Collaboration: Collaborating with local architects and craftsmen ensures cultural authenticity and aligns projects with the local environment.

6. Biodiversity Protection: Designs in ecologically sensitive areas aim to protect biodiversity and respect natural habitats.

7. Waste Reduction: Prioritizing waste reduction through recycling programs, reduced plastics, and minimizing waste generation in both construction and operation.

Photo below: Aman Essentials; Aman Cabana, Amanpuri; designed by Luxury Frontiers

7. Are there any specific regions or types of environments that Luxury Frontiers is particularly excited about exploring for future projects, and what factors contribute to the selection of these locations? Maybe your home country, Italy?

 

We have a lot of exciting upcoming projects and recently completed our first retail-only project for Aman—the Aman Cabana. This immersive pop-up boutique, assembled on Amanpuri, Thailand's shores in December 2023, draws inspiration from the pavilions of Camp Sarika at Amangiri, our initial project for Aman. In 2024, our team is working on six continents worldwide, all excluding Antarctica. Follow our journey on social media to stay updated on Luxury Frontiers' projects across the globe.

 

8. What is one secret or little-known fact about you and Luxury Frontiers?

 

Luxury Frontiers has been a brand in the making for over 10 years, and the saying 'Sometimes it takes 10 years to get to that one year that will change your life' rings true. This year marks an exciting phase of growth on the horizon. Luxury Frontiers 3.0 is coming, and 2024 promises to be a year of substantial expansion for the Luxury Frontiers brand. Stay tuned for what lies ahead!

Photo below: Madwaleni River Lodge; designed by Luxury Frontiers

Find out more about Luxury Frontiers on their website

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