José (Joe) Koechlin von Stein established Inkaterra in 1975, pioneering ecotourism and sustainable development in Peru. Aiming to underscore natural and cultural values, Inkaterra works under a holistic approach. Scientific research is produced as a basis for conservation, education and the wellbeing of local communities.
Major flora and fauna inventories have been sponsored by Mr. Koechlin since 1978, defining natural areas where Inkaterra hotels are located – the Amazon rainforest in Madre de Dios, the Machu Picchu cloud forest, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the city of Cusco and the Cabo Blanco coastline.
Achievements in research and conservation in hotel grounds include the study of 814 bird species registered at Inkaterra areas of influence, equivalent to 93% of Costa Rica’s total bird diversity; the description of 362 ant species (world record sponsored by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson); the Andean Bear Conservation Center at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, in benefit of the only bear species native to South America; and the world’s largest native orchid collection according to the American Orchid Scoeity, with 371 species (including 20 new to science).
To promote travel experiences in Peru, Mr. Koechlin co-produced Werner Herzog’s classic films Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (Best Director, Cannes Film Festival 1982), and Les Blank’s documentary Burden of Dreams (1982). He has promoted various publications on Peru’s biodiversity and culture, such as Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest (Cornell University Press, 2005), described by Cornell University as “the baseline against which all future studies of Amazonian amphibians and reptiles will be compared to”; Flórula de la Reserva Ecológica Inkaterra (Missouri Botanical Garden and Inka Terra Asociación, 2007); Orchids at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (Inkaterra, 2007); Kim MacQuarrie’s The Last Days of the Incas (Inkaterra, 2012); and Lord of Miracles (Inkaterra, 2014).
Acknowledged by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) in its ‘100 World Influential Leaders’ academic list, Mr. Koechlin is also Chairman of Sociedad Hoteles del Perú; Vice Chairman of CANATUR (National Chamber of Tourism) and E-Meritus Board Member of Conservation International (Washington, D.C.). He has been honored with the 2017 LEC Award in the Large Enterprise Category sponsored by EY; the first-ever HOLA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 (Hotel Opportunities Latin America, US Conference); the 2015 PURE Award in the ‘Contribution to Experiential Travel’ category; the 2013 and 2010 SAHIC Awards in the ‘Best Developer’ category (South American Hotel Investment Conference).