Tell us a bit about yourself and your experiences in Asia.
I was born and raised in Canada and moved to Thailand in 1995. I’ve lived here full time since founding Smiling Albino in 1999. Pre-pandemic, I was roving around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Now I spend most of my time exploring the areas in Thailand that are an inch off the map, going deeper into the far-flung regions that have yet to make it to most travellers’ bucket lists.
For readers who might not know, what is Smiling Albino?
We design and execute customised travel programmes for people from around the world. That could be something very simple, like a one-day trip in Bangkok for a family, right up to trips that are 25 days long for people crossing all of Southeast Asia, through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. We also do corporate events – everything from executive-level scavenger hunts to motorcycle trips. We’re always looking to put a new, fun spin on travel in Southeast Asia. Our clients choose us because we’re “raving travel-mad humans”, and we care and listen.
Many of the countries where you’ve taken travellers for years have seen their tourism industry virtually disappear in the pandemic; how are your partners faring in those places?
The pandemic has without a doubt had a direct impact on the citizens of the region. It’s been a challenging time for everyone from our guides to the local restaurateurs, bar owners and shop owners. The countries have been so reliant on tourism that without it, opportunities have been limited.
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