A young Jim Sano working as a Park Ranger in Yosemite. Photo on Nathab
Photo on WWF

Jim Sano

Vice President for Travel

World Wildlife Fund


Vice President for Travel


World Wildlife Fund


United States







What makes Jim Sano a Global Shaker?

Jim Sano is the World Wildlife Fund’s Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation. He’s the senior advisor on sustainable tourism programmes, developing new initiatives to engage supporters and advocating for companies that do well to highlight conservation.

In one article, Sano championed Namibia as “the exception on the African continent when it comes to poaching,” as the Government and tour operators have a strong emphasis on conservation. He also praised Wilderness Safaris as a “stellar example” of a corporation committing to what he calls “conservation travel” — encouraging communities to value wildlife.



Yosemite National Park with a deer. Photo on Travel and Leisure


Before WWF, Sano was President of Geographic Expeditions, a San Francisco-based adventure travel company offering educational travel and sustainable travel consulting services. The company received awards and distinctions during his tenure, including “best adventure travel company in the world,” and “one of the 50 best places to work in America.”

Sano has always been a supporter of the great outdoors. He was a ranger and special assistant to the Superintendent at Yosemite National Park in California. Responsibilities included overseeing park naturalist / interpretative programmes, and serving as a member of the search and rescue team.

He was a founding President of the Mono Lake Foundation, and a founding director of the Natural Step and Yosemite Restoration Trust. He even led the first American men and women’s expedition to Mt Everest, and the first guided crossing of South Georgia Island.


Panda Bear

A Panda. Photo on Pinterest


“The most magnificent and pristine places on Earth that WWF is working to protect are also premier tourist destinations,” he says on the WWF website. “Travelers to these locations receive great joy from their experience and are looking for a way to give back.”

Speaking to Outside Online, he expanded on the importance of travel. “There’s no amount of PowerPoints or David Attenborough specials or magazine articles that come even close to having a personal experience with the things we’re protecting.

“People can read about Glacier National Park, but that doesn’t hold a candle to someone actually going there. Travelers contribute [money] at significantly higher levels to our conservation work, on the order of 27 times more compared to those who don’t travel.”

Tags: Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Travel, tourism

Last updated: September 26, 2020