Guyana Eco Resort.
While reading The Age newspaper online today 11/10/09 I noticed an ad in the lifestyle section for a competition to win a holiday in
There was a tiny photo of each resort accompanied by a short description highlighting their best features, overwater villas, views of Mt Kinabalu, marine ecology research centre, virgin jungle, coral reef, hilltop spa etc.
I clicked onto their respective websites which looked attractive with beautiful photographs of the island and interior shots of the villas that looked like 5 star hotel rooms. I looked at the underwater photos of fish that you could see on the diving activities. It looked like paradise, a fantasy world of luxury and relaxation. I decided to do some research into these resorts and the island they inhabit named ‘Palau Gaya’.
After much searching I could not identify which company owns these resorts. The two resorts are both members of ‘Preferred Boutique Hotel Group’ which is a
The internet has helped tourism become one of the worlds largest export services and e-tourism is a fast growing niche market. Many tourists want to stay in a resort that isn’t harming the environment. However I would also like to know that these resorts are contributing to the development of the local economy. Are hotel staff being paid decently or low wages? Are most of a hotels profits being siphoned out of the country?
Palau Gaya Immigrant Dwellings. source:Wikipedia
They also report that the Gayana resort “feels strangely abandoned…..considering the few guests who visit.”
A comment in the Kinabalu Blog by Murphy (online 2008) complains about the steep hike in fares to access the island.
In year 2006, I did a jungle trekking on
Ok, last month I wanted to do the same thing again. They forced me to buy a RM50 lunch package otherwise they wouldn’t allow me. If include the RM20 ferry ticket, I have to pay RM70++ just to walk in the jungle! And the
It is such a rip off, not only to me, but to the locals as well. I was so angry that I even thought of removing my “promotion” blog for Gayana. Well, how many more I should remove? Many good tourism spots are controlled by private companies who only care about making $. Without doubt, if SSL can make
So the lifestyle being advertised for these resorts is a lifestyle that is only available to a select group – wealthy people. Poor and working class local people and travellers are excluded from using the island. Both Resorts don’t appear to be putting any profits toward local philanthropy that benefit people in need. Gayana Eco Resort claim they do active restoration of coral reef and fish species. This marketing reflects a growing trend away from what Celia Lury calls ‘Greed is good’ selfish consumerism of the 1980s towards ‘green politics’ (1996).
However I’d like to see a more holistic approach from e-tourism, shifting the focus from nature to include more actions of social responsibility to humanity at the local level.
Lury, Celia. “Consumer Culture, Identity and Politics.” Consumer Culture.