Camping enthusiast Muhaiyadin (second right) at a campsite with his family.

KUCHING (May 25): Glamping, or ‘glamourous camping’, which combines luxury and camping has been a growing industry in Sarawak for recent years. Many campsite owners and enthusiasts have witnessed this trend firsthand and shared their insights on the industry’s expansion.

Sumiran Eco Park & Resort owner Suyanto Osman told The Borneo Post that the concept of glamping has evolved to encompass a wider range of accommodations and experiences.

“While traditional tents remain popular, glamping sites now offer a variety of luxurious options such as safari tents, tree houses, and even eco-friendly pods. This shift reflects a growing emphasis on comfort, sustainability, and experiential travel among consumers,” he said.

Suyanto opined that the glamping industry is set for substantial expansion over the next 10 years, with forecasts predicting a consistent increase in the demand for unique outdoor accommodations, such as those available at Sumiran Eco Park & Resort here.

“As more locals and travellers seek immersive experiences that blend luxury with nature, glamping is expected to expand into new markets and attract a diverse range of guests,” he added.

Suyanto Osman

According to him, the industry has gained popularity among nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, individuals and families alike due to several factors, including a desire for immersive nature experiences and a growing interest in sustainable travel practices.

“Additionally, social media has played a significant role in promoting glamping as an aspirational travel trend, inspiring travellers to seek out Instagram-worthy destinations like Sumiran Eco Park & Resort for memorable vacations.”

For Kiyau Stay & Campsite owner Julia, she said unlike normal camping, the area that provides glamping does not require visitors to bring or set up their own tents as the campsite is already equipped with comfortable facilities, electricity, fans and air conditioner.

By leveraging the location and environment as well as its infrastructure, Julia opined that these pivotal elements can define the success of a glamping establishment.

Sunset view from Kiyau Stay & Campsite.

“Kampung Sapit is located in close proximity to Borneo Highland Resort, and this will attract foreign and local tourists. In terms of the surrounding natural scenery, the glamping site at Kiyau Stay & Campsite in Kampung Sapit has more appeal with the presence of cloud carpets and sunrise,” she elaborated.

Similarly, Suyanto opined that the current trends in glamping amenities and services prioritise convenience, comfort, and sustainability.

“Glamping sites like Sumiran Eco Park & Resort provide high-quality bedding and private bathrooms. Additionally, the trend is to offer gourmet dining options in a park-like environment. Eco-conscious travellers may appreciate eco-friendly practices such as solar power and use of recycled products.

“Unique experiences like guided nature walks, wildlife tours and outdoor yoga sessions further enhance the appeal of glamping destinations,” he said.

An aerial view of Sumiran Eco Park & Resort. — Photo courtesy of Sumiran Eco Park & Resort

Despite its promising growth, the glamping industry in Sarawak also faces several operational challenges. These range from developing sustainable infrastructure to addressing the seasonal changes – the ways that weather conditions impact the experience.

Suyanto said as extreme weather events become more frequent, glamping operators may need to adapt by implementing stronger infrastructure and safety measures for the safety of their guests.

“Additionally, shifts in weather patterns could influence travellers’ preferences, with some regions becoming more or less desirable for outdoor accommodations depending on climate-related factors.

“Depending on location, glamping sites may experience fluctuations in demand based on seasonal weather patterns or festive periods, thus requiring operators to diversify offerings or implement off-peak marketing strategies,” he said.

Besides having more sites and land being developed, Suyanto said the industry may also struggle with developing and maintaining the necessary infrastructure, such as access roads, power supply, water supply, and waste management systems which can be costly and complex.

This sentiment was echoed by Julia who said they were mostly affected, especially during the monsoon season.

“Besides, it is costly for any new constructions and repairs, especially in terms of transporting these construction materials to Kampung Sapit,” she said.

Julia poses in a tent on a ‘tanju’ at Kiyau Stay & Campsite.

These ecotourism entrepreneurs are, however, committed to driving the industry forward despite these challenges.

Camping enthusiast Muhaiyadin Morshidi, meanwhile, said glamping has been evolving with some interesting trends emerging such as unique themed accommodations like tree houses, geodesic domes and luxury tents.

“Some glamping sites now offer immersive experiences such as farm-to-table dining, outdoor spa treatments, and adventure activities like hot air balloon rides or guided nature walks,” he said, adding that this is a good marketing strategy to stay ahead in the industry.

“Besides just providing good facilities, they (operators) must also provide a simple playground for the children such as one with basic rope swing, or a place to hang around like a small ‘kopitiam’ and a small sundry shop for the campers’ convenience.”

He also pointed out the gap in the market where new campsites have emerged where they are equipped with modern facilities and amenities like clean toilets, convenient USB charging ports and proper waste management facilities.

“These could attract more campers and improve overall satisfaction with the camping experience,” he explained, while expressing hope that the glamping industry would grow with consistent innovation.

“I hope to see more emphasis on environmental stewardship, with eco-friendly practices becoming the norm, as well as for greater accessibility and inclusivity in its offerings, allowing more people to enjoy nature outdoor experiences comfortably and safely,” he added.

published 2024-05-25 06:00:25