In Conversation: Chris Kingsley, owner of Wa Ale Resort - located in the Myeik Archipelago, Myanmar
For our fifth "In Conversation" interview our Product Director, Sam Mullen speaks with Chris Kingsley owner of Wa Ale Resort to discuss looking to the future and how travel may evolve and change post pandemic plus a focus on the pioneering work Wa Ale Resort is involved with in the Lampi Marine National Park.
What do you think the pandemic will mean for the future of luxury travel?
I think people instinctively love to travel and the airline industry will figure out a way to make it safe for people to get back on planes. In the short term, travel will be undoubtedly limited, but in the long term, it will be back with travellers wanting to go to more nature-based, less crowded destinations.
Moving forwards I believe a great deal of space, beautiful nature, great food, sustainability and supporting companies that help both the environment and those less fortunate will be of increasing importance
What changes do you think you will make to cater to travellers in the future?
In the short term we are going to work on reducing the number of guests to 24 at any one time. We will be adding a spa using only natural products and will keep all activities exclusive so guests can feel like they have the whole 5,000 acres to themselves. Our food will remain a focal point with more vegetables grown as our 5 acre farm matures.The emphasis will continue to be on sustainability and nurturing but the guests will also have more space than ever to enjoy the incredible nature and marine life that surrounds them.
What do you think will be important to travellers in the new era of travel and for choosing hotels?
A great deal of space, beautiful nature, great food, sustainable and supporting companies that help both the environment and those less fortunate.
Can you give us any insights into any local initiatives you are involved in plus information on any sustainability or environmental projects that you would like to share with us?
We work closely with the Lampi Foundation which was created to fund social welfare and conservation projects in and around the Lampi Marine National Park in the Myeik Archipelago. In conjunction with Global Medical Volunteers and The Wildlife Conservation society we fund the foundation by donating 20% of our net profits and 2% of room revenues. Amongst others the Lampi foundation built the first sea turtle hatchery in the park and also helps fund a local medical clinic and local schools. Put simply, the Lampi foundation is integral to who we are and why we exist. Any guest that stays at Wa Ale Supports what we are trying to accomplish in this beautiful part of the world.
What have you learnt about yourself during the pandemic?
I've learned that I don't need to move so fast in life. I have also learned that I like my new beard!