The travel influencer brings his ideas, audience and sustainable initiatives to the Italian watch major, as their global ambassador
He has a dream job — travelling the globe with his Miss Universe girlfriend Pia Wurtzbach, and keeping his one million followers on Instagram (@jeremyjauncey) engaged with photos and videos. But it’s not all perma-tans and exotic destinations for Scotsman Jeremy Jauncey. As founder-CEO of Beautiful Destinations, the award-winning strategy and creative agency for travel businesses, the 36-year-old is one of the most influential voices in his industry today. And now, Panerai’s new global ambassador.
The luxury watchmaker has long been associated with adventure, and the ocean. A partner of the Italian Navy, their watches have accompanied frogmen on underwater missions during World War II. More recently, their ties to the water were reflected in the five-watch series made from Swiss explorer Mike Horn’s boat Pangaea’s steel shaft, and their partnership with UNESCO to foster ocean literacy. So it is apt that they chose World Oceans Day (June 8) to announce their partnership with Jauncey. The entrepreneur, investor, and business advisor — who joins an illustrious line of ambassadors, from French free diving champion Guillaume Néry to American professional climber Jimmy Chin — will be collaborating with Panerai for the next year on projects that address a shared passion for adventure and environmentally-sustainable practices.
Onboarding a travel influencer is a well thought out move. But if you are raising eyebrows over terms such as regenerative travel from an influencer — after all, he’s checked in at UAE, Maldives, Greece, Morocco, Scotland, and more in the last few months — Jauncey says his work is about improving the whole ecosystem. “The way I make a difference to sustainable travel is by showcasing simplicity. On all my expeditions, I make it a point to find local places to stay that are environment friendly and develop the wildlife/environment that they inhabit,” says New York-based Jauncey, whose Beautiful Destinations community — with a staggering 30 million followers on social media — was recognised by business magazine Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovatives.
His collaborations with a diverse portfolio of partners, including World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and GoldStandard.org, continue to position travel as a force for good for both travellers and the destinations they visit. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Your early travel influences.
Being born to a Colombian mother and Scottish father, I was raised in the United Kingdom. I was into professional sports, playing rugby for the national team. My first exposure to the Far East was at the age of 18 when I travelled with the Scottish rugby team to New Zealand. The layover was in Singapore, and it was enough for me to fall in love with the place. Different people, culture and food fascinate me. I have not stopped travelling since then.
What does the travel industry need to do to get back on track?
The first two priorities for countries and their governments are vaccination drives, and being open about policies that are communicated well. The travel industry needs to create personalised experiences for their customers while being environment friendly and having safety practices in place.
Importance of sustainable travel.
Travel is the ATM of the world, as money goes straight into the economy from the time you book your holiday. But of the globe’s overall carbon footprint, 5%-8% come from the travel industry. So, we have to work towards reducing the same by working on three key pillars. First: mode of transportation. Avoid all short haul flights wherever possible; trains are the most efficient, and electric cars are a good option too. Second: use of goods and services. I remember as a kid we used to enjoy blueberries in winter in the UK, only to find out later they came all the way from Argentina. So, use products that are locally produced. And reduce your consumption of bottled water and other beverages. Third: offset and measure. You can get a summary of your climate impact through WWF’s footprint calculators. Choose your destinations, hospitality partners and tour operators accordingly. I believe that while destinations are putting efforts into sustainable travel, it is the adventurers who make the difference.
Has the lockdown helped increase your social media following?
Digital has exploded during the lockdown. Beautiful Destinations as a platform has seen more engagement in the past one year than when compared with over five to seven years prior to that.