Heather Blenkiron: A Highly-Experienced Destination Expert

Heather Blenkiron, President, Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours (CNH Tours).

Heather Blenkiron – President at Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours (CNH Tours).

Having worked with so many people, from such diverse backgrounds, over many years, a solution is almost always clear for Heather. She always supports women-owned businesses: whenever she has the opportunity. She shows the women in her life appreciation. This is her daily mantra. “Show appreciation, always”. She is the majority shareholder of the company, which she founded together with her husband, Marc Patry, back in 1999.

Trip Advisor & Destination Expert

Heather Blenkiron and Marc Patry (husband) continues to provide their expert knowledge as the Destination Expert for Galapagos on Trip Advisor (Heather), sitting on the board of the Galapagos Tour Operators Association (Marc), and sitting on the General Assembly of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands Marc.

On the other side, Heather Blenkiron continues to answer future traveler questions about tr a vel to Galapagos as the Destination Expert for the Galapagos Forum on Trip Advisor. Heather also encourages a greener approach to travel. For the company’s part, it is integrating carbon offsets into all of its guest’s trips. Heather believes that to be successful, you have to really love helping people. This doesn’t mean that you have to be an extrovert, but it does mean that you have to be willing to build a relationship on a foundation of a shared goal of planning a perfect trip.

Canadian Embassy Representative

Heather works directly with the guests, the company’s public contributor is co-owner, Marc Patry. In September 2020, Marc Patry of CNH Tours completed a 3-year term on the board of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario where he was elected by his peers in the travel industry to represent small tour companies.

In Heather’s case, she served as the Canadian Warden for Galapagos as well as her team lead for the design of the shared Charles Darwin Research Station/Galapagos National Park visitor site. Her husband, Marc Patry managed the Isabela project. Their long-term relationships with both good friends and stakeholders across the spectrum alike form the foundation for the commitment to both the conservation and sustainable development of this remote oceanic archipelago.

Designed for Active & Inquisitive Travelers

CNH Tours is an unconventional travel company. It has never had a brick-and-mortar office. It has only offered one destination: Galapagos. And the principles of CNH Tours have all lived in its primary destination, Galapagos. The company has learned over time that the depth of its expert knowledge of the place and its people is unusual. Of course, it is derived from its 4 years of living and working with the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station. Heather also recommends bringing those who share their passion along for the ride. It’s been one of her greatest pleasures to share her vocation with someone who shares her vision for small-scale, green tourism.

Forging Great Ties with the Tourism Sector

The most dramatic effects of the pandemic were felt in communities around the world that depend almost wholly on tourism, including the Galapagos where 70% of the economy is directly linked to tourism. CNH Tours has always focused on small-scale tourism, encouraging its guests to choose to reserve their Galapagos experiences through locally owned and operated ships and hotels.

In 2019, Heather and Marc were fortunate to meet Karen Ross, a local expert for Eastern Africa, who has now joined their team. CNH Tours has also identified an Antarctica specialist whom it has invited to join the team. Both have invested decades supporting the pursuit of scientific, conservation, and tourism in their respective destinations.

By enlarging its team to accommodate additional specialists in their own iconic regions, CNH feels that its guests can expect to receive the same formidable expertise and passion in the planning and fulfillment of their lifelong dream to visit these new CNH Tours destinations.

Maintaining Close Relationships with the Community

CNH Tours is supporting the Galapagos cruise community by offering complimentary access to its last-minute Galapagos cruise website, Galapagos Cruise Links, to all ship owners in Galapagos. The company also encourages a greener approach to travel. For its part, the company is integrating carbon offsets into all of the guest’s trips.

Creative ways of giving back to the local community are also important to the company, it encourages its guests to bring books to donate to the local library. CNH tours also run fundraising departures for worthy causes. These are things that have always been part of the company’s ethos and it plans to redouble its efforts on all three of these fronts.

Each year, CNH Tours tries to donate a cruise, or element of it, to a charitable organization. In December 2019, the company donated a discounted Galapagos cruise to a fundraiser for a local community resource center in Ottawa. In the past it has donated the same to the Boston National Public Radio (NPR); the Canadian Library Association; the youth program, Dustin’s Greenhouse; the Montana Museum of Natural History; Pearson College of the Pacific; and Charles Darwin Foundation.

In Galapagos, CNH Tours has contributed to the Puerto Ayora Public Library and continues to encourage its guests to bring books to donate to the library. It contributes to conservation and sustainability projects in Galapagos via the International Galapagos Tour Operator Association Traveler Conservation Fund.

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