Lia-Beach, an eco-aware resort
Our vision is to develop ecotourism: reduce our ecological footprint by using as many natural and local materials as possible, renewable energies, but also by being fair to local communities.
All of the following can’t be done at once, takes time and money, but that’s the road we have to chosen to follow, and we’ll try to stick to it.
Bamboo is the key construction material:
- affordable and quality material, available locally in great quantity
- renewable: it grows fast (1,2 m/day or 1 mm/minute => can be harvested in 3-5 years) and constantly
- one of the plants absorbing most CO2 in the atmosphere
- allows to save trees of the tropical forest
- creates jobs and development in rural areas
Our eco-construction also uses other locally-sourced materials:
- drift wood (furnitures and decoration)
- plastic trash collected by the non-profit organization EVERTO (for bathroom walls bricks and decoration)
- local timber (floor and wall structure of bungalows)
- sago leaves (roofing)
- rattan (bamboo joinery, accessories and decoration)
- local stones (bathrooms and foundations)
Note: we use about 5% of cement and steel bars (reinforced concrete) for foundations.
Other eco-responsible orientations:
- solar energy (not implemented yet)
- rainwater collection
- waste separation and partial recycling
- compost making and creation of an organic garden (in progress)
- natural homemade products for cleaning and personal care
Bamboo presents the advantage of being extremely flexible, allowing original designs.
We have called on the services of an Indonesian architect who adapts ancestral techniques to the creation of very innovative, ethereal and natural designs.
For Lia Beach, he has created structures naturally fitting in the site’s preserved environment, for each of the construction type: the seafront restaurant built up against the rocks and the few bungalows spread across the beach, the sea and the mangrove.
This way, our resort will blend into the luxuriant landscape, offering estheticism and comfort to the Robinson Crusoe travelers who, just like us, are in love with the amazing nature of the archipelago.
Lia Beach will grow along with nature
Since July 2016, Lia Beach has been welcoming guests in its first 2 beach bungalows. We are planning on building only one more bamboo hut, to keep Lia Beach intimate. The bamboo restaurant is a part of a future plan.
Above all, we wish to offer a peaceful place, an oasis of calm in a preserved place, which is the starting point of your exploration of the extraordinary Coral Triangle fauna and flora.
Economic and social development, community empowerment
For the buildings conception, we have called on an Indonesian bamboo architect (from Bali), and for the building, bamboo specialists from Central Sulawesi. Their intervention included the training of a local team to bamboo techniques, so that Togean artisans can get new skills. We want to reintroduce this traditional and green material, and encourage locals to do the same: hopefully they will see this as a new possibility to develop their own construction business afterwards.
We try to include local communities to our activities. It means for example buying our fish from local fishermen or call on surrounding village people to take our guests around (snorkeling trips, island hopping). The idea is to let them profit our little company, so they understand the interest of protecting their environment.
On the job creation side, we hire locally, and wish to improve our staff’s working conditions: higher salaries, implementation of weekly holiday and employee savings scheme.
Raising awareness among guests
As a multicultural couple, we are lucky to have a double vision of things. It’s a plus to be able to understand both Indonesians and Westerners. So we try to use that to provide positive experiences for visitors, locals and ourselves.
While Indonesia still has a lot to learn about ecology and locals don’t always have the keys to understanding what’s at stake when talking about marine conservation, waste management or nature protection, tourists also have a very important part to play in the development of ecotourism.
It’s our role as local hosts to explain to our guests our vision of conservation and remind a few rules: among others, no spear fishing, no stepping on coral, no feeding wildlife, no collecting marine life…
On the cultural aspect: sometimes what is not rude for Westerners can be offending for Indonesians, and vice versa. Our role is to sit between these two communities, so that they respect each other. An example: being on a remote beach means we can lower the social and behavioral impacts of Western dress codes, and it’s our responsibility to teach our guests the do’s and don’ts when they visit villages or use local transportations.
If tourism develops here the way it has in other parts of Southeast Asia, we don’t want it to develop without limits. Everything is not up to us, but we do have a responsibility in delivering memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to local social, environmental, cultural and political climates.