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LATest e-bulletin August '23

Updated: Aug 7, 2023


In this issue: ①Quote of the Month ② Flight Shame and Slow Tourism ③ Myanmar burning ④ Lombok treasure ⑤ Moluccas ⑥ So many Good Reason to Work with LAT ⑦ Let’s go Green ⑧ Nusa Penida ⑨ Rainbows of Malaysia ⑩ Singapore Passport


You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.

William Wilberforce


Flight Shame and Slow Tourism

Flight shame, a movement that urges people to avoid air travel for the sake of the environment, originated in the Nordics and has led to reduced flying in Europe. However, the post-COVID-19 travel surge is challenging this trend. Now, the question arises: can flight shaming be effective in Asia? Let's explore this through a simple journey from Bangkok to Singapore, passing through Malaysia, in Southeast Asia. The distance is approximately 1,800 kilometers, and it takes just two and a half hours by plane. In Europe, high-speed trains can offer similar or even shorter travel times, considering transit times to distant airports and security checks. However, such conveniences are scarce in this Southeast Asian journey. Taking a train from Bangkok to Singapore requires around 21 hours of travel, and reaching the southern border of Thailand with Malaysia is only the beginning. After crossing the border, one would need to take a taxi to the railhead on the other side. Subsequently, an eight-hour layover awaits before catching a second train that continues the journey through the Malay Peninsula to Johor Bahru, which is still 16 hours away from Singapore. Ultimately, a short hop across the strait connects Malaysia to Singapore. Despite the challenges, slow travel offers distinct advantages beyond its environmental benefits. It allows travelers to fully experience the vast distances, diverse landscapes, and cultures along the route, unfolding like a gentle narrative. The transition from bustling Bangkok to serene villages, temples, buffalo-specked rice paddies, and lush jungles provides a unique and immersive cultural experience. Additionally, slow travel allows for stopovers at various points, offering opportunities to explore historical, cultural, culinary, and outdoor activities amidst the dramatic tropical landscapes. While the region is not as interconnected as the borderless European Union, there is hope that future infrastructure developments, such as the high-speed rails between Jakarta and Bandung and between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, will promote slow tourism in Southeast Asia, encouraging in-depth cultural experiences while minimizing environmental and social impacts.


In a positive development, the Netherlands is taking a step towards reconciliation by returning valuable artefacts, including the "Lombok treasure" looted from a Balinese royal palace to Sri Lanka and Indonesia. This marks the first restitution to its former Asian colonies, but regrettably, the return of the "Java man" human fossil, requested by the Indonesian government, has not been granted. Lastly, amidst global challenges like record high temperatures and climate change, Myanmar is facing a crisis due to the actions of the Military Junta. As civil war rages, the army may be resorting to arson to suppress insurgents, causing widespread destruction and suffering for civilians. The LAT organization announces its departure from Myanmar due to the morally unbearable events unfolding in the country, including changing rules, intimidation, and global sanctions that make it difficult to operate. Despite the challenges and complexities, hope remains for a more sustainable and culturally sensitive approach to travel and international relations in the future.


Moluccas


The Moluccas, also known as the Maluku Islands, exhibit diverse geographical features, with mountainous terrain in most areas and low, swampy conditions in the Tanimbar and Aru island groups. Earthquakes are common, and some islands, including Ternate and Banda, have active volcanoes. The climate is tropical, with annual rainfall ranging from 80 to 150 inches (2,000 to 3,800 mm) in different locations. While some land has been cleared for cultivation, much of the region remains covered by evergreen rainforests, interspersed with patches of open savanna and coastal mangrove swamps.

The Moluccas serve as a unique transition zone between Asian and Australian fauna and flora, resulting in a rich diversity of animal and plant species found only in this region.

Regarding the population, the islands are home to various ethnic groups, with the Ambonese, Butonese, and Kai peoples making up about one-third of the residents in roughly equal numbers. The rest of the population comprises numerous smaller groups, many of whom reside in sparsely settled inland areas, along with a notable Chinese minority concentrated in larger towns and urban centers. The primary languages spoken in the Moluccas are diverse, but Malay, which is a dialect of the national language, Indonesian, has served as a lingua franca for centuries and is prevalent in many areas.

Religiously, Christianity (mostly Protestant) and Islam are the dominant faiths. There is also a small yet significant minority practicing Hinduism or Buddhism, while some communities in the interior follow local religions. With the exception of the northern Moluccas, where West Papuan languages are spoken, all languages in the islands belong to the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) family.

The economy of the Moluccas relies on agriculture, fishing, and forestry. The cultivation of rice, coconuts, and cocoa is widespread, and fishing and forestry activities are essential economic contributors. Key exports include fish, forest products, copra, and spices. While petroleum extraction exists on a limited scale, primarily on Ceram island, it is not a major economic driver.

For those interested in exploring the Moluccas, LAT offers tours beyond Bali. For more information, visit our website.



So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT

Established in 1991

Independently owned and operated

Purely B2B with travel industry partners

Online booking engine with immediate

confirmation of hotels, tours and transfers

Skilful Contents Provider and Technology user

Knowledgeable and efficient reservations personnel

Long and proud association with the MICE industry in all Lotus destinations

Fully committed to Sustainability and CSR; ‘Travelife’ partner

Carbon Neutrality for all packages and services on offer

Extensive selection of scheduled group departures and innovative product lines

Direct access to a vast pool of local professional contributors

Owns small boutique island hotels strategically located

LAT Indochina subsidiary operating in Thailand and Vietnam

Multilingual guides in all destinations

Operations offices throughout its destinations

Centralised bookings and payments for multi destination tours

Assistance in language


TATTLER

Let’s go Green

The Pan Pacific Hotels Group's (PPHG) Parkroyal Collection properties boast a captivating and futuristic landscape where towering, lush structures dominate the skyline. The brand has made biophilic design a central element of its architectural direction, creating iconic and sustainable hotels.

The first biophilic hotel, Parkroyal Collection Pickering in Singapore, has been a resounding success, garnering numerous awards, media coverage, and social media attention for its exceptional design and sustainable achievements. Following its footsteps, Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay in Singapore is another striking property. Its sky-lit indoor atrium, the largest in Southeast Asia, houses over 2,400 plants, trees, shrubs, and ground covers, adding to the captivating environment.

In June 2022, Parkroyal Collection Kuala Lumpur opened, adhering to the brand's biophilic design promise. The hotel features a vertical garden facade and roof terraces adorned with 1,208m² of plants and trees, creating a serene and eco-friendly atmosphere.

Anticipated to open in 2026, the Parkroyal Collection Faber House in Singapore will continue the biophilic trend. As part of an 18-storey development in the bustling shopping district, the 250-key hotel will flaunt an intense outdoor greening and cascading water features, infusing much-needed greenery into the urban landscape. These biophilic features not only add aesthetic appeal but also improve air quality and naturally cool the surroundings, resulting in substantial energy savings of up to two degrees Celsius without the need for excessive air-conditioning.

In addition to their captivating biophilic features, these properties are dedicated to adopting environmentally sustainable practices, including waste and water management, furthering their commitment to a greener future.


HIGHLIGHTS

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida has already surpassed tourism targets for 2023. Between January and mid-July this year, over 2.9 million tourists (domestic and international) made the crossing from the main island of Bali to Nusa Penida. Initial targets for the year sat at only 900,000 visits. While this is great news for the Balinese tourism economy the impact of the sheer volume of tourists is starting to be felt. Authorities are promising new infrastructures at Sanur Harbour and shuttle services to ease the traffic jams.


Rainbows of Malaysia

Swatch, a Swiss watchmaker, sued the Malaysian government for confiscating 172 of its LGBT-themed watches. In May the government seized the rainbow-coloured watches from several shopping malls across the country. At the time Nick Hayek, Swatch’s boss, asked if the authorities would confiscate the “many natural rainbows” in Malaysia’s skies.


Singapore Passport

Singapore is now officially the most powerful passport in the world according to the Henley Passport Index, which is based on exclusive and official data from IATA, knocking Japan off the top spot for the first time in five years. Coming in first, Singapore passport holders are able to visit 192 travel destinations out of 227 around the world visa-free.



Our whole product for free and independent travellers, groups and MICE are based on a Climate Contribution programme. This means that part of the greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated are offset by projects in collaboration with Climate Partner, one of the leading climate protection solution providers for companies.

The arising emissions are being compensated by supporting a third-party certified forest protection project in Rimba Raya, Borneo. The project protects over 64,000 hectares of tropical peat forest from deforestation by offering people in the region alternative sources of income to illegal deforestation.



Lotus Asia Tours is committed to achieving a responsible approach to tourism. To ensure that we meet our goals we have engaged with Travelife, a leading training, management and certification initiative for tourism companies. Travelife has a system which helps tour operators and travel agencies to manage and improve social and environmental impacts by complying with sustainability criteria. Lotus Asia Tours recently achieved Travelife Partnership for all the regions in which we operate and are now proceeding to full certification. If you would like to know more on this issue, email us at sustainability@lotusasiatours.com.



For over thirty years, Lotus Asia Tours Group has provided services and assistance to travellers the world over, specialising in the design and implementation of corporate events, activities, incentive tours and motivational travel, targeted at FIT, GIT and MICE markets, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar and Indochina. The group also operates four boutique island hotels in Indonesia, in Lombok, Bali, Sulawesi and Papua. To learn more about our brand please head to our website, or contact us directly; we look forward to hearing how we could help make your next trip, tour or event memorable and successful. Corporate Office D-5-4 Megan Avenue 1, 189 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia T: +60 (0)3 21617075 · F: +60 (0)3 21617084 · E: latgroup@lotusasiatours.com


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