Written by: Luis Fernando Astorga

Contxto – It’s great to see Latin American startups genuinely supporting environmental campaigns. Selina, a Panamanian travel startup, is setting a new example of environmental compromise with its new initiative.

Following its successful US$100 million Series C and launch in the United Kingdom, the company recently premiered Selina Amazon Watch. The initiative aims to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the Amazon rainforest.

On October 5, Selina hosted events in each of its 53 properties across the world. The revenues were reportedly donated to the Amazon Protectors Fund, a program by Amazon Watch. Live music, dancing lessons, as well as sustainability fairs, took place to raise awareness and funds for the Amazon rainforest’s conservation. 

In Panama, Selina’s birthplace, the event consisted of a Caribbean music night under the stars. Celebrations also took place in all three of Selina Mexico’s locations, including Cancun, Mexico City and Oaxaca.

“Sustainability and community are core values at Selina,” said VP of Concept and Programming at Selina, said Greg Bresnitz. “With multiple Selina locations in and around the Amazon rainforest including Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, continuing to show our support for this ecosystem and local community is vital.”

The Amazon Protectors Fund provides small-scale, rapid response to indigenous and grassroots partners. Moreover, it promotes indigenous-led solutions to uphold territorial rights and forest protection in the face of mounting threats, such as the ongoing forest fires devastating the area. 

Innovative hotel chain

Selina is a Latin American startup born in Panama innovating modern-day travel. It created its own category by combing beautifully designed accommodations with other dynamic elements, ranging from white water kayaking to yoga.

Other features include bars, restaurants, tours, wellness workshops, educational classes, co-working spaces, surfing lessons, community outreach projects, art, design, construction, as well as technology. 

The journey began in 2015 when co-founder founders Rafael Museri and Daniel Rudasevski combined forces, applying their collective traveling experience into one business cohesive business model. Together, they launched the first Selina in Pedasí, a sleepy surfing town in Panama. 

The concept has been successful, attracting tourists from around the world and allowing it to rapidly expand. Nearly five years later, it’s a consolidated independent chain continuing to expand.

CEO Museri also stressed, “This is the future of accommodation. Airbnb is improving but we are doing something completely different. We don’t think any brand will touch all three spaces [of work, sleep, play] the way that we will.”

In my opinion, the campaign to raise money for the Amazon forest from the Panamanian startup is original, not to mention serving a positive purpose. It adds to the list of successful startups that have been supporting this cultural and environmental cause.