Episode 43: Adventure Travel in Asia with John Roberts, Mei Zhang, and Willem Niemeijer

Download and Listen to Episode 43 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang, Laos, courtesy Khiri Travel

Pak Ou Caves, Luang Prabang, Laos; courtesy Khiri Travel

‘Adventure Travel’ is a broad term. For some it can mean simply making their way around a developing country, while for others it may mean hurtling down Class-5 rapids in a kayak. That’s one thing that’s so great about travel – it means different things to different people and can be qualified in many different ways. On this episode we speak with three industry leaders in adventure tourism in Asia and hear where they think the industry is headed.

This episode was recorded live at the ‘PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference 2016’, held in Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, in February 2016. PATA is the official sponsor of this episode and we thank them for inviting us to attend the conference as media. We hope you enjoy the conversation we had with Mr. John Roberts, Director of Conservation Activities Anantara Resorts and Spas Worldwide, Mrs. Mei Zhang, Founder of WildChina, and Mr. Willem Niemeijer, Founder & CEO of Khiri Travel. They’re three of the most respected tourism leaders in the region and we’re very happy to have them join us on this episode of Talk Travel Asia.

Kuang Si Waterfalls, Laos; courtesy Khiri Travel

Kuang Si Waterfalls, Laos; courtesy Khiri Travel

Scott & Trevor start by talking a bit about what ‘adventure travel’ means to them. They recall some trips they did as kids that seemed adventurous, compared to what seems adventurous today as an adult. They also touch on the fact that ‘adventure travel’ is a very broad term, meaning different thing to different people depending on prior travel experience. It can be a bit of a crap-shoot as to what sort of trip you’ll be getting if you don’t know the operator and it’s important to try and learn as much as you can about an activity before signing on to ensure it’s at your level and what you’re looking for.

Download and Listen to Episode 43 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

logo nextSponsor: PATA – Pacific Asia Travel Association

PATA is a not-for profit association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organizations, comprising 88 government, state and city tourism bodies, nearly 22 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 62 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond.

Terracotta warriors, Xian, China, courtesy WildChina

Terracotta warriors, Xian, China; courtesy WildChina

Scott recalls his first ‘adventure’ trip being one to southern Spain when he was in Grade 6. He experienced new foods, saw the Alhambra and spent an afternoon in Tangiers, Morocco. As an adult, it’s the year he spent backpacking through some of Asia, but mostly New Zealand and Australia. There were guesthouses, bungy jumping, hiking on glaciers, abseiling, canoeing and more. Everyday was an adventure that really opened hie eyes.

Trevor comments that ‘adventure’ for him takes many paths but he enjoys hitch hiking and simply figuring out a trip as he goes along, booking hotels along the way and not planning too much in advance.

Download and Listen to Episode 43 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

John Roberts

John Roberts

Our guests today are three leaders in adventure tourism in Asia and they were all speakers at the PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference 2016 in Chiang Rai, Thailand where this episode was recorded:

  • John Roberts is a former guest and Director of Conservation Activities Anantara Resorts and Spas Worldwide.
  • Mei Zhang is the Founder of WildChina, one of that country’s leading adventure travel companies.
  • Willem Niemeijer is the Founder & CEO of Khiri Travel, a leading destination management company in the region.
Mei Zhang

Mei Zhang

During our interesting conversation we chat about what ‘adventure travel’ means and how it’s changed over the years. We also touch on how adventure travel in Asia has changed over the last five years and what some of the most exciting developments in the region for travelers are.

The panel then discusses how travelers can ensure their trip will hopefully benefit locals and minimize adverse impact where they go. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the conversation is when our experts share their ultimate multi-destination trip in the region for someone who has never been to SE Asia before.

Download and Listen to Episode 43 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

See a Photo Gallery of pictures from this episode!

Willem Niemeijer

Willem Niemeijer

Links

To learn more about Scott & Trevor:

Our Sponsor: PATA – Pacific Asia Travel Association

logo nextPATA is a not-for profit association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organizations, comprising 88 government, state and city tourism bodies, nearly 22 international airlines, airports and cruise lines, 62 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond.

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