Marriott International wants its guests to experience meaningful travel and leave positive impacts while also building connections within local communities during their stays in Asia Pacific.
Enter Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy, a programme based on the three pillars of environmental protection, community engagement and marine conservation — think mangrove conservation in Fiji, coral transplanting and restoration in Okinawa and Maldives, beach cleanups in Sanya and Busan, to food redistribution in Bali.
The plan is to expand the programme to "most of our Asia Pacific leisure destinations over time, and be ready to welcome guests with meaningful travel experiences once travel returns," said Bart Buiring, chief sales and marketing officer, Marriott International Asia Pacific.
Fifteen pilot hotels have joined the project representing a range of Marriott's brands. These include JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong; The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa; The Westin Denarau Island Resort Fiji; Fairfield by Marriott Busan Songdo Beach; Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel; Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway; and W Bali – Seminyak.
Steve Randall passes out candy and treats to Silversea crew member families in the Philippines. Photo Credit: Silversea Cruises
When guests treat crew as family
A couple has raised US$$115,911 so far, in their fundraising goal to help Silversea Cruises employees who are not working due to the pandemic, TravelPulse reported.
Steve and Janet Randall are long-time Silversea guests, who have sailed with the ultra-luxury line for 21 years, including seven consecutive World Cruises. They kickstarted the GoFundMe campaign with their own US$500 donation on 21 December, and hit US$$10,000 in six hours.
Silversea Cruises has in return pledged to support guests’ efforts, donating an additional US$70,000 to the cause.
“Silversea’s crew is the lifeblood of our cruising experience,” Randall said. “I feel there is a unique relationship that has always existed between the guests and the crew; we are a huge extended family."
The Randalls are also hoping the effort will benefit beyond the front line crew, but also those who toil behind the scenes, like dishwashers and laundry workers.
Park Hotel Group will plant a tree with every room booking made. Photo Credit: Eden Reforestation Projects
Making room for trees
Park Hotel Group has unveiled an initiative to plant a tree for every booking made with its portfolio of hotels via their website.
Room for Trees is a collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects (Eden), a non-profit organisation that works with local communities in Indonesia's Biak Island, towards reforestation and ecological restoration. The country has lost more than 40% of its mangrove forests, and thus this project to restore the people's wetland ecosystems.
The hotel group had also launched the Uplift Fund in Singapore last year, which offers financial relief to individuals and families impacted by Covid-19. As well, its Singapore and Hong Kong hotels are working with local organisations to recycle lightly used soap bars for distribution to the less privileged.
Discova's long-term initiative seeks to provide farmers an alternate source of income through organic farming. Photo Credit: Discova
Farm-to-table plans to save Bali
Destination management company Discova has launched a farm-to-table project in Bali to support the tourism-reliant destination, whose local communities have been impacted by the lack of international tourists.
Partnering with Bali-based independent support association Bali Rare Paduraksa, the plan is to provide farmers an alternate source of income by educating them on organic and sustainable farming, then selling them to partner hotels and restaurants across the island and nationwide.
Discova will be funding these workshops, seeds and vegetable plants, as well as the irrigation infrastructures needed. The project's first phase will begin with 22 farmers and three hectares of land. There are also plans to collaborate with educational travel agents and institutions to bring students into the village to assist in the building of irrigation systems.
“I have been moved by the enthusiasm and passion of the local people to move away from traditional farming. They are focused on working towards a healthier environment, but also want to ensure healthier diets, especially for their kids," said Peter Christiansen, Indonesia country manager for Discova.
Another way of utilising aircrafts as the global flight crunch down continues: saving the wildlife.
Qatar Airways Cargo has entered the second phase of their WeQare – Rewild the Planet sustainability programme, committing to fly wild animals back to where they belong, at no cost.
Qatar Airways Cargo will launch more chapters in the coming months, all of which are directly linked to the everyday activities of the carrier.
"We all know that animals have an important role to play in preserving ecological balance which in turn ensures existence and stability of the environment. Through Chapter 2 – Rewild the Planet, we want to encourage this preservation and that is why we are offering free transport to bring wild animals back to where they belong," said Qatar Airways chief officer cargo, Guillaume Halleux.