Green Travel Magzine

The Virtual Travel Experience Linked to Community Development

Meet Loola Adventure Resort – an eco-tourism destination in Bintan, Indonesia with a sweet backstory.

Marc van Loo (the “Loo” in LooLa) grew up and studied in the Netherlands. After finishing his studies, he traveled in Indonesia for a year in 1989, and spent most of my time in West Sumatra, fascinated by its local culture & hospitality. He decided to come back to Asia in 1991, do a PhD in Singapore, and travel frequently to Bintan to keep connections with Indonesia. In 1992, he met his wife, Isabelle Lacoste, originally from France (the “La” in LooLa ) who had traveled to Singapore to teach at the Alliance Française. Dr. Marc also became a teacher, and he and Isabelle invested the money they made as teachers to build an eco resort in Bintan – LooLa Adventure Resort. They finished building the resort in the year 2000, and the Indonesian staff coined the name LooLa because it combined their names, and it is also the name of a beautiful local seashell.

Like many others, Loola Adventure Resort has suffered from the huge reduction in tourism business due to COVID-19. After realizing this wasn’t going to pass quickly, Dr. Marc Van Loo, founder and creator of the resort, dove into figuring out how to get his business online. As Loola focuses on educating and inspiring its guests and community development is at the heart of its business, he was forced to figure out how to translate this virtually. 

Dr. Marc has since created virtual impact travel with the ability to choose which UN Sustainable Development Goal guests prefer to focus on. The experience is designed so that guests can not only support a community but meet them, just as they would in pre-covid times. 

UN Sustainable Development Goals

There are 17 SDGs that were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. They provide a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future.’ 

Source: United Nations

What You Can Choose From 

At Loola Adventure Resort, there are a few experiences designed to give virtual travelers an idea of what’s available, although everything is customizable. For example, guests can support a local family. This means building a personal relationship. The local staff introduces guests on a video call and they get a chance to learn what it means to live on $240 USD per month, what life is like when water doesn’t flow from the tap, and what the locals hopes and dreams are for the future. 

Guests also learn what makes Indonesians so uplifting and optimistic. Another possibility is to fund mangrove tree planting projects and watch them come to life by digital means. This could be used as a way to offset guests’ personal impact or their company’s. The Loola staff can help facilitate a partnership with a local school to plant the trees as well.

Make an Impact From Your Home

From team-building activities, to CSR, to organizing for a few friends, Loola can help people virtually travel and make an impact. Check out their most recent experience below! Read more information and book your experience with Loola here.

ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.


 

Meagan McRoberts
Meagan holds an MA in Creative Writing and is passionate about travel and sustainable living. When she’s not working, she’s either in the ocean, on her yoga mat, or in transit to somewhere new.