The rise of ecotourism in Asia might be one of the more under-reported major stories of the year. Ecotourism is generally understood as smaller scale tourism that places a premium on environmental conservation. The transfer of wealth to Asia and the many spectacular Asian destinations for the Western budget-conscious traveler translates into an industry with incredible growth potential. The special appeal of ecotourism is that it combines altruism and adventure in one package. It also helps that many of the emerging Asian economies can lay down sustainable practices at the foundation level of their young industry.
Ecotourism is elastic enough so it can be scaled up for the luxury market. For instance, when Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Malaysia, he stayed at the Royal Mulu Resort in Sarawak, Borneo, an ecotourism venture that draws on the management talents of an Australian ex pat, Robert Geneid. Under Geneid, the Mulu was recently added to the Marriott Hotel Group. So, in other words, the major players are perking up and taking notice. Robert Geneid’s success will likely be replicated again in Malaysia, a country with new economic clout, natural beauty, and budding tourism. Read the rest of this entry →