As we reach the beginning of 2022, the world looks forward to traveling again, but the travel experience may never be the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as we discussed in a recent episode #132 Predicting Travel Trends in Asia for 2022 and Beyond. Supporting this assertion, an June 2021 study that polled more than 29,000 travelers across 30 countries suggests that the pandemic has been the tipping point for sustainable travel. But how are travelers to know which properties in Asia are the most sustainable and regenerative, representing the region’s next-generation hotels? That’s one of the topics we’ll be discussing with our guest, Tomo Hamakawa, on this week’s show.

Mana Earthly Paradise – Aerial (courtesy of Tomo Hamakawa)

Scott and Trevor banter about their experience with good and bad hotels.

Trevor: reviewing for travel guides, having a preference for responsible properties, even being active in helping hotels meet those goals and then promoting those hotels and resorts for their efforts, I’ve fine-tuned my appreciation for good places to stay. 

Scott: You mentioned how travelers might know how to pick a responsible hotel. This may be a simple, common question asked by conscious travelers in the region, but the answer is not that straightforward. There are many dimensions: energy, water, waste, biodiversity, culture, community, architecture, etc. 

Trevor: The study Tomo shared with us actually indicated that a large percentage of travelers have no idea where to look or have looked and couldn’t’ find such properties.

Scott: I look forward to his insight on the topic.

Mana Kitchen (courtesy of Tomo Hamakawa)


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Premiered on December 30th 2020, Asia’s Next Generation Hotels is a monthly video series that appeals to independent, conscious travelers interested in circular, sustainable properties around the region. 

Inspired by the popular Netflix documentary series Street Food that travels around Asian cities to feature the most impressive street vendors, the interview series sheds light on sustainability pioneers that pass a high standard around natural, cultural, and social capital.

This series is launched in the COVID era for a reason; it’s a statement to build back the tourism industry in a more conscious manner. Tourism should not and cannot be run at the expense of natural resources and cultural heritage. The series is thus aligned with the Green Recovery narrative.

Tomo Hamakawa

Guest Intro: Tomo Hamakawa is a seasoned development professional having lived and worked in various corners of the world from the Tibetan plateau, Indian drylands, Indonesian tropics, to Japanese metropolises. He has extensive field experience working for international and local development NGOs across Asia and Africa, including Kopernik, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the World Bank. He has a BA in Social Anthropology from Harvard College, a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and was an Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellow (2008) and Innovation Fellow (2020) at the East-West Center. He joins us online from Bali.

Mana Earthly Paradise

Listen to Episode 142: Asia’s Next Generation Hotels to hear Tomo’s answers to the following questions:

  • Where are you originally from and how did you end up in Bali?
  • How and when did you get started in the hotel – hospitality business?
  • Today we’re talking about Asia’s Next Generation Hotels; give us a background and overview of the project.
  • What does a hotel have to do to qualify as a Next-Gen hotel and how many do you have in your alliance?
  • What’s the goal of this project?
  • How does a traveler make a difference to a destination because of the hotel they choose?
  • In what ways is the traveler experience enhanced in this or other regards by choosing a “Next-gen” hotel?
  • What about connecting with local cultures and communities: how a resort staffs itself, interacts with the community within which it exists, etc?
  • Tell us a bit about Mana Earthy Paradise.
  • Many hotels and resorts offering such positive-impact tourism in remote areas are luxury hotels. Do you see opportunities for positive hotel development aimed at more mainstream travelers with a more modest budget? 
  • Do you think it’s possible to be a tourist staying in a nice hotel and still have authentic experiences and share their tourist dollars across the economy? 
  • Seems ironic, but how can more-sustainable development keep up with consumer demand? 
  • How do travelers go about selecting a hotel that will have a positive impact, not break the bank, and offer a rewarding travel experience? 
  • What other steps can travelers take to ensure they’re making responsible travel decisions and traveling with minimum negative impact?
  • What other trends do you see taking shape in the coming years in Asian travel?
  • How can listeners learn more about your project and what you’re doing?
Photo courtesy of Tomo Hamakawa

ABOUT EARTH COMPANY: Based in Japan and Indonesia, Earth Company is an impact-driven social enterprise that offers transformational support to change-makers, delivers inspiring educational programs, provides professional consulting services, and manages a next generation eco hotel in Ubud, Bali called Mana Earthly Paradise.

WATCH: An Eco-Resort with a Big Heart: This episode of Asia’s Next Gen Hotels features Maringi Sumba, where founder, Inge De Lathauwer, shares why and how she decided to start an eco hotel and a hotel school in Sumba. The resort gives opportunity to 60 Sumbanese students to serve guests to learn and grow. Every rupiah spent at the hotel goes directly to the foundation supporting Sumbanese youth. Watch the video below.


Learn more about Scott and Trevor:

Theme Music by Jamie Ruben

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