Marco Rosa, sr. v.p., A&K Hospitality, discusses the Southeast Asia river cruising product.
Paloma Villaverde de Rico (PVR): What do you think is the U.S. market’s fascination with Myanmar and Southeast Asia?
Marco Rosa (MR): Myanmar is a truly spiritual destination, largely untouched by the influence of Western civilization. The stunning landscape of pagodas and temples surrounding Bagan has changed little in 1,500 years. Interest in Myanmar has increased dramatically since the National League for Democracy, founded by Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, released a statement saying that it welcomes responsible tourism. Since elections in November 2010, the government has started to open its doors ending the country’s international isolation.
PVR: It’s all in the details, right? So what are some of the “not so obvious” things that make sailing the Irrawaddy with Sanctuary a unique experience?
MR: Custom-built for the rivers of Myanmar so it can sail year-round, Sanctuary Ananda showcases original Burmese design and contemporary chic in an atmosphere of five-star comfort. In each of the 21 suites, lush silks, polished teak and beautiful lacquerware celebrate Myanmar’s rich heritage of arts, crafts and textiles.
PVR: Which demographic is Sanctuary marketing this itinerary to?
MR: While many who travel are thrilled to simply be in a foreign country, our guests seek a deeper knowledge and appreciation, an experience of a more profound nature that expands their understanding of the world. They want travel that does more than just provide a rest and a getaway. They are experience seekers; educated, active, accomplished professionals and entrepreneurs with an intense curiosity about the world.
PVR: Where do you see Southeast Asia in five years in terms of tourism?
MR: Visiting places on the eve of great change affords a unique view, and now is the time for Southeast Asia.