Clarissa Hughes has worked in tourism most of her life. With 29 years’ experience in the industry – she has worked as guide, manager and company owner – her knowledge is varied and wide. Her interest lies at the nexus of human development and environmental conservation.
As an innovator, Clarissa started her own Zambezi white water rafting company, which she built up and sold. She served on the executive committee of the Livingstone Tourism Association and obtained several important concessions for the industry from the Government of the Republic of Zambia. In 1985 she became one of the first women safari guides in Botswana where she spent many happy years taking tourists into the bush. She co-founded the Nhabe Museum in Maun and, in the Okavango Delta, she launched a community initiative for mekoro polers.
Clarissa has a reputation for getting a job done and for doing it properly. She has a particular aptitude for communications and marketing, her ability delivering measurable results. She has honed the craft of content marketing, an important tool in creating brand loyalty. With an eye for strategy and utilising available tools to obtain maximum leverage Clarissa’s work history demonstrates how she achieves desired goals creatively and efficiently.
Clarissa also consults for ecotourism ventures, advising on business and marketing strategies. She is able to anticipate trends before they manifest and has a proven track record in risk assessment.
She is collaborating with the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization to raise awareness for the conservation messages inherent in indigenous cultures. As she puts it: “Just stop and think for a minute how empty the name “Richard, the Lionheart” would be if we didn’t know what a lion was? What would the U.S. stand for if there were no more bald eagles? How would Hindus worship Lord Ganesh without knowing the attributes of real elephants? And what respect would be afforded to African leaders if people didn’t know what the leopard represented? In other words, who would we be, without these principals of the natural world? The whole teeming panorama of life offers us a mirror in which we may see ourselves.”
Clarissa spends as much time in the wilderness as she can. She likes to walk, feeling that there is no better way to experience nature. “I find nature hugely spiritual. It’s a place where you come face to face with creation and where, to put it in the language of science, you realise that you are but one species in an intricate web of biodiversity. It is very humbling,” she says.
Clarissa Hughes lives in Cape Town.