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On Thailand’s Islands, Can Tourism and the Environment Coexist?


Mr. Hagen, from Denmark, and his American wife, Rachel Yaseen, took over Evasion, an out of doors sports company, in May after bicycling world wide for 3 and a half years, and wanting a spot to rest. She opened Untamed yoga studio a pair doors down, they usually bought three sea-view villas within the hills on the south side of the island to rent out through the high seasons.

“It’s hard to say what’s not to love — there’s an enormous variety of fine restaurants and it’s reasonably priced; the diving here is so super-easy and chill, and from the villa we are able to sit within the pool and see the turtles and the sharks,” Mr. Hagen said. “And the mountain climbing here is unquestionably difficult, due to the steep hills.”

Evasion also offers tubing and wakeboarding, and he’s turning their boat right into a solar-powered craft so it gives tourists a quiet ride and doesn’t harm the coral. He also has on order eight electric bicycles, and is within the strategy of getting their villas powered by solar panels and searching into renting electric motorbikes.

EcoTao, which opened on a steep, forested hill just months before the pandemic cut off tourism in March 2020, is maybe the island’s only actual eco accommodation, where the 12 bungalows are made from bamboo and teak, a lot of the power comes from 100 solar panels, and rainwater is collected for showers.

Founder Yves Frangioni, a French entrepreneur and sportsman who moved to the island 16 years ago, believes the eco trend is likely to be beginning to catch on with tourists and businesses.

“We opened in December and we’re busy at all times,” he said in a phone interview on his solution to France for a few months. “I hope that many start like me, since it’s vital for the small island, the planet, every little thing.”

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