Sanctuary Retreats could expand into South America as its owner looks to open more luxury lodges and add additional river cruise options.

Abercrombie & Kent-owned Sanctuary Retreats currently operates 13 safari lodges in Africa, plus river vessels in Egypt, China and Myanmar.

Speaking at Aspire’s Leaders of Luxury conference, co-chairman Geoffrey Kent said expanding the Sanctuary Retreats portfolio was one of his top priorities, and one of the reasons he had brought new president and chief executive Michael Wale into the business. Wale who was previously at the helm of Kerzner International, started in his new role on October 1.

Kent said he was eyeing opportunities to take the Sanctuary brand into South America.

He said: “We will expand, in South America especially – I think that would be a natural fit for us, and Michael comes with all the knowledge and talent to do just that for us.”

Kent said the expansion of the Sanctuary brand would occur alongside the opening of new Abercrombie & Kent DMC offices. Currently the brand operates 55 offices around the globe.

“If you can expand with DMC and a Sanctuary product like a ship or a lodge, and roll it out then it’s very easy – it means you can move into places where people want to go. It means our guests get the same standard wherever they go – so that’s why we have to own our own DMCs.

“We should open one in Israel and one in Ethiopia – and we were doing this before the pandemic happened.”