by Pierre Echaubard & Nicole De Paula – published originally in May 2018 in Resilient Nomads’ blog series
“Tourism is a responsibility,” states Wolfgang Grimm, Vice President at Andamana Hotels and the owner behind the ongoing construction of the Anana Boutique Resort, a new venue expected to be ready by the end of 2018 in Krabi, on southern Thailand’s west coast. Built to inspire a healthier connection between humans and nature, this project showcases the importance of visionary leaders in the private sector that can trigger new thinking and paradigmatic changes in Thailand.
The exciting news is that Resilient Nomads, under the leadership of Pierre Echaubard, has its feet on the ground! Working as designers, coordinators and implementers of a permaculture garden, the project has all the chances to inspire the hotel sector in Krabi to reflect on their social and environmental legacies.
What is permaculture?
The principles of permaculture are simple but they constantly evolve to create new sustainable ways of living. Concretely, it is a practical method of developing systems to get more from less. For that, it applies ecological principles into our material and non-material needs (food, shelter, energy). It mimics and accompanies, not fight against, the patterns, cycles and relationships that we find in nature. This helps to make the transition from being dependent consumers to act as responsible producers. This way, permaculture implies a closer look at what nature has to offer and enhance our connection with it.
Krabi with its rocky, sheer limestone cliffs, pristine mangrove forests, and more than a hundred offshore paradisiac islands, deserves our best attention when it comes to nature protection. While the tourism sector is a key source of revenue for the locals, the poor management of this industry can compromise the sustainability of this activity and of the future generations.
The upcoming hotel is well aware of these risks and that is why it is betting on a green pathway. Besides the permaculture garden, the complex is being designated holistically. For example, the property will have cooking classes that will use ingredients from its own farm, wellness center with yoga and meditation practices, a “Organic cafe,” which will serve healthy vegan and vegetarian food and also function as a co-work space for like-minded citizens and energetic entrepreneurs. The expectation is to inspire a “green movement,” especially in Thailand, where fast and unplanned mass tourism represents a growing and bitter reality.
Leading by example
The project bets on “leadership by example” and wants to act as incubator to motivate the local tourism community to act responsibly in stunning Krabi, the mecca of climbers and outdoor explorers. Importantly, the owners are conscious that such project cannot be successful without the involvement of local communities.
That is why the permaculture garden is being conceived to be a shared local jewel that will also be open for non-guests for nature contemplation, meditation, yoga, fruit collection and educational activities. “Like nature, to be successful, you have to understand that, sometimes, the best way towards success is not the fastest pathway,” reflects Grimm. He adds: “this garden is part of me…it represents how I perceive life and life is not linear!” As a seasoned leader in the hotel sector, Grimm also trusts that hotels can and should triggers a healthier relationship between humans and nature. “Against the environment we will never win” and “we need to give back twice compared to the amount of resources that we are taking from our planet, if we want to be effective,’ adds the enthusiastic owner.
Despite all the potential, developing this eco-hotel is, unsurprisingly, challenging. In an interview with us, Grimm explained that the team were initially skeptical of the financial returns. But he skilfully convinced them that the permaculture garden is an example of “living art,” which will inspire guests and residents to promote the image of a more green and responsive Krabi. Secondly, it will have a tremendous impact for our health and wellbeing and, finally, it can also attract a new type of tourists: the more conscious ones!
Building the Future We Want
Indeed, it’s beyond time to redefine luxury! The Anana Boutique Resort hotel brings thus the opportunity to reflect on our current social values and business practices in Thailand. Humans cannot thrive without nature, simple as that. Traveling to the crystal waters in paradisiac Thai beaches can only continue happening, if we all take charge and reflect upon our own values and action. The truth is that these places are being polluted and destroyed at scary rates!
Resilient Nomads exists to overcome the one-sided gaze of lazy critics. While we need much more than individual will, being a critic is much easier than a doer. A century ago, Bertrand Russellalready said: “construction and destruction alike satisfy the will to power, but construction is more difficult as a rule, and therefore gives more satisfaction to the person who can achieve it.” The Anana Hotel is an example where we are doing, and not only thinking about sustainable development.
We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with visionary leaders and cannot wait for the taste the fresh spices coming from the local garden and for the violet sunsets witnessed from the green roof. With like-minded global citizens, we can certainly make a positive impact in this world. So, save the date and feel invited for the grand opening at the end of 2018.