Combining camping with luxurious outdoor experiences and all the amenities of home, in recent years -glamping' has emerged as one of the World's fastest growing niche travel trends. And it's also one that has also been identified as a key tourism growth opportunity for Malaysia.
In late May, Tourism Malaysia unveiled its pavilion themed 'Back into Wilderness" at Royal FLORIA Putrajaya, Malaysia's largest flower and garden festival, the design of which was inspired by the growing demand for luxurious outdoor experiences in the region.
With its wealth of natural attractions, the South East Asian nation is ideally placed to capitalize on demand for indulgent travel experiences. According to Tourism Malaysia's Sydney Director Roslan Abdullah, 'Malaysia's rich biodiversity, pristine islands, 130-million year old rainforests, crystal clear rivers, and cool highland retreats ensure that the opportunities for developing glamping as a niche tourism product are endless."
'Tourists are becoming increasingly discerning these days and they are willing to pay a significant premium for unique experiences, which translates into potentially high returns for Malaysia's tourism industry," he says.
While it is a relatively new concept in Malaysia, several local accommodation operators have already started offering unique nature-based experiences combined with all the creature comforts of modern living. Among them are Canopy Tribes in Nusajaya, Johor, where guests can stay in gauzy tents under moonlit skies in an experience reminiscent of the Arabian Nights; and Sailor's Rest which provides travellers with an opportunity to experience village life deep in the cool, misty highlands of Janda Baik, Pahang.
While current glamping options in Malaysia tend to focus more on providing comfort and convenience, there are a handful few that offer more deluxe experiences such as Sekeping Serendah in Rawang, Selangor, with its dramatic mud and glass houses built by award-winning architect Ng Sek San located in a small forest alongside cascading waterfalls; and Japamala Resort in Tioman Island with its romantic treetop 'love-nests" overlooking azure seas below.
Other operators include Caravan Serai and Tanah Aina which both offer accommodation that allows holidaymakers to enjoy nature without the hassle of hauling tents and lugging heavy equipment.