The heads of a hotel group that won five awards in the tourism “Oscars” have arrived on St Helena to investigate its potential.
The Mantis Collection was named World’s Leading Luxury Boutique Hotels Collection in the World Travel Awards 2012.
It also won top prizes in four other categories, including one for a Swedish hotel carved entirely out of ice, and another for its five-star White Desert camp in Antarctica.
The chairman, chief executive and colleagues arrived on the island on 23 January 2013, to see whether the island could fit in with its philosophy of “unearthing the exceptional”.
St Helena Government has been lobbying members of the Mantis Collection – made up of individually-owned companies – for some years. It said the visit was a result of a trade mission to Cape Town, led by Governor Mark Capes.
It added that a Mantis hotel on the island could bring a stream of high-value investment.
The group already has 30 boutique hotels in Europe, India, South America, the USA and Africa, including three upmarket Last Word hotels in Cape Town.
Its 23 “eco-escapes” include cabins in the Galapagos Islands and a tree-top hotel in Sweden.
St Helena’s natural heritage has been favourably compared with that of the ecologically-fragile Galapagos Islands, which may be an attraction for the Mantis visitors.
The group also has a commercial enterprise called Mantis Conservation, reflecting an interest in the environment in the areas where it operates.
The company is launching a new eXtreme brand in 2013, including the new Bear Grylls Survival Academy – another of its five winners in the World Travel Awards.
The new enterprise “aims to fulfill adventurers’ bucket-list dreams and give them the right to say ‘I did it!’” says the Mantis website.
Enterprise St Helena has assembled a portfolio of “opportunities” to show the visitors.
“They will also visit the airport site and participate in a variety of tourism offerings on St Helena, including sport fishing, dolphin watching, diving/snorkelling, the Napoleonic tour, the Boer Tour and a selection of walking tours,” said an SHG press release.
“It is hoped that the weather will remain favourable to enable the group to see St Helena at its beautiful best.”