Getting to know: Paul Gardiner

Paul Gardiner

The Group Marketing Director of the Mantis Collection chats to us about business, tourism and travel.

Who is Paul Gardiner? I’m a devoted father and loving husband. I enjoy good music and tasty food – nothing goes down better than a good rib-eye steak on the bone – as well as keeping fit (I have to offset those steaks somehow!) and a good whisky on ice as the day closes. Nature and wildlife are passions of mine. I’m devastated by what’s happening to our rhinos and doing all I can to support organisations fighting this intense battle.

The Mantis Collection is family-run. What are the pros and cons of working with your family? The pros are that we make super-fast decisions because there’s no red tape and we just get on with it. We all share an entrepreneurial flair and a real hunger to succeed. The con is that working long, hard hours can undoubtedly take its toll on your family life, so it’s important to maintain a healthy balance.

What makes Mantis Collection properties different? The individual properties have a very hands-on approach – in fact, we like our general managers to almost take ownership of their respective properties. Mantis comprises mostly eco-escapes (lodges and retreats). Our hotels are located in faraway places that are often difficult to access. We’re the only hotel group in the world with a presence on all seven continents, including a lodge in Antarctica.

Paul Gardiner visiting the Church Hotel in Sweden.

Paul Gardiner visiting the Church Hotel in Sweden.

What’s the most exciting aspect of the tourism industry? The emergence of new markets for Africa in China, India and several other emerging countries. Tourists from there flock to our country to experience our wildlife, learn about the legacy of Madiba, summit Table Mountain, drink our award-winning wines and more.

What’s your favourite destination? Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

What are your top three travel tips? Back everything up on your computer before you head off, get lost on purpose and break out of your comfort zone.

Old fort in Bandhavgarh National Park, a tiger reserve

The Old Fort in Bandhavgarh National Park – one of Paul Gardiner’s many trips around the world.

This article first appeared in the October 2015 issue of Sawubona magazine. Get your free online copy of Sawubona magazine

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