This week, we discuss new trends in the tourism industry, particularly the rise of various forms of alternative travel. We then take a closer look at the recently launched Burmese Tourism Plan and we introduce the new EcoBurma Blog Directory.
On the road in style: Flashpacking, glamping … responsible travel?
Over the last few years, new forms of tourism have emerged, helping promote the development of new environmentally friendly principles in travel. This demand for new forms of tourism is also growing in the luxury tourism industry. Indeed, “even the most cynical of luxury travelers are aware of the need to do green. And for many, a personal lack of action only increases their desire for premium travel to be environmentally considerate […]. They most certainly expect big airlines and hotel conglomerates to lead the way”.
Conspicuous consumption has been, for the most part, neglected while green luxury tourism needs to reinvent itself. The challenge lies in being able to balance respect for local traditions while staying at the forefront of modernity and change.
This interesting article presents new ideas in luxury travel that push the envelope when it comes to green tourism: “hotels that have minimal visual and structural impact on their environment; sustainable hotels that become a beautiful, living and breathing extension of nature and outsourcing eco-initiatives to guests”. Many of us can only dream of such destinations. However, we need to be reminded that if tourism is to be sustainable, not only must it be responsible, it must also improve the lives of local people and protect their environment. This ‘green seal’ of luxury tourism must not be used as a pretext for looking more conscious than it actually is.
Parallel to the growing popularity of green luxury travel is the birth of a new generation of travelers, called “flashpackers”. This new breed of travelers are long-standing backpackers, who are now a little older and have reached a certain level of comfort with their finances. With improved resources, these travelers would rather not travel the hard way. Hostels have started catering to this emerging group, by providing more private and luxurious rooms, thus adapting to the changing wants of their clientele.
As “Flashpack at Forty” rightly pointed out, “flashpacking means [that] choices will be made to get the maximum benefit in terms of services and facilities at the most competitive rate”.
Flashpackers also want to take with them all the gadgets that allow them to be connected to the rest of the world while on their journey. Some of these useful tips include: “Packing light lets you splurge on heavy stuff that matters” and “a good computer and cell are more than worth the extra weight”, etc. Nonetheless, this form of travel continues to promote interaction with fellow travelers and the discovery of local culture: “experiences like a cooking class, photography tours or wine tasting […] are common items on a flashpacker’s itinerary”.
Finally, the latest trend in tourism industry is called “glamping”, “a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping”. Thus, “when you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no fire to build”. Glamping wants to respect the environment while providing comfort to travelers. To this extent, glamping requires atypical, unusual and eco-friendly accommodation. Our last article is a good illustration of this. It tells the amazing and undisturbed experience of a globetrotter at Four Seasons tented camp, Golden Triangle. As expected, the entailing costs of this form of travel is a bit exorbitant. With all these alternative forms of travel, it’s good to keep in mind that whatever we decide, it should not be at the expense of the local people.
Tourism Master Plan
For quite some time now, we have been talking of this new tourism plan in Burma. Last week, in coordination with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Norwegian government, the Burmese government has finally unveiled this US ½ Billion tourism master plan.
Its aim is to improve the country’s competitiveness in the tourism sector and the economy as a whole. To paraphrase, “Myanmar’s 1993 Tourism Law will be reviewed and updated to streamline licensing formalities for hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and tour guides […]”.
The tourism plan will also serve as a leading tool for the protection of the environment and various ethnic groups so as that “local people are prepared to handle an influx of visitors, and maintain control over tourism in their communities.” The challenge now will be how the Burmese government will concretely achieve these objectives.
Travel Blog Directory on EcoBurma
Last but not least, all the blogs that we come across every week, capturing amazing stories presented by travelers and locals in Burma, have inspired us to start collecting links for travel blogs about Burma. Please feel free to share your own blog with fellow travelers around the world by filling out a simple form here!
Have a good week everyone.