Sustainability in Action – Hotels with Social Commitment

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Education for Moroccan girls, integration of people with disabilities into the labour market and health care for the local community. These are just a few of the projects of our Green Pearls® partners, who not only pay attention to environmentally conscious and resource-saving management, but are also committed to doing their part when it comes to social issues. These initiatives show how hotels are striving for more social harmony and ensure sustainable development in their region.

Germany: Integration in action

At the Green City Hotel Vauban in Freiburg, diversity is a top priority – here people with and without disabilities work together with equal rights and responsibility. The hotel is run by a non-profit limited company as an integration enterprise, where around 10 people with disabilities have a permanent job. It is actively committed to an open society with fewer barriers and more tolerance. This also applies to guests, for whom several barrier-free rooms are available. With its conference offer, the Freiburg hotel also appeals to companies that want to act in a more environmentally friendly and socially compatible way and exemplifies future-oriented action and barrier-free coexistence with its integration concept.

Morocco: Promoting regional cohesion

Community action also shapes the commitment of Kasbah du Toubkal. The Berber-run boutique hotel in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains has been supporting the Imlil Village Association, an association of several village communities in the Imlil Valley, which coordinates the development of projects in the village. The Kasbah du Toubkal, located above the village of Imlil, charges a 5% surcharge for overnight stays, which is donated to the Imlil Village Association. With the help of the association, a school for 80 children in a remote valley, a hammam and a waste disposal system have already been built. The first ambulance in the region was also able to be used thanks to the donations, and flood protection was strengthened. Mike McHugo, who bought the dilapidated Kasbah at the foot of Mount Toubkal and converted it into a hotel with the help of the local community, is also a co-founder of the “Education For All” (EFA) project. The social initiative provides schooling for girls who are often denied the opportunity to attend, especially in rural regions, due to distances or financial limitations. The project offers girls free accommodation in the school’s own dormitories nearby, and ultimately provides them with access to education and enables them to sustainably improve their standard of living in the local rural regions.

Cambodia: Helping others to help themselves

In rural Cambodia, about 65 km from Phnom Penh, Farmhouse Smiling Gecko can be found, surrounded by picturesque rice fields. The boutique bungalow resort is a training hotel and an important component of the Smiling Gecko social project, which supports the local community in the areas of education, agriculture, handicrafts and tourism/hospitality. 95% of the farmhouse staff are local residents who benefit from fair incomes and humane working conditions. They are constantly trained and receive English lessons in their own classes. The employees’ children are looked after in the kindergarten or the Smiling Gecko School and provided with healthy meals. With their stay at Farmhouse Gecko, with its stilt houses in typical local style, idyllic pool and wellness area, guests support the sustainable project and contribute to development in the region.

Indonesia: Education and health care

The Puri Dajuma Cottages & Spa on Bali is a family-run eco-resort from which an entire village benefits economically and socially. From the very beginning, the family that runs the resort, originally from France, has focused on regional coexistence and harmony and has recruited staff almost exclusively from the villagers. The Puri Dajuma has provided qualified training, ensured comprehensive health care and adequate insurance cover, promoted local talent and involved locals in management. The hotel’s operations are organised in such a way that Balinese traditions are always respected. Religious festivals and ceremonies are also financially supported by the hotel. A win-win situation: guests experience warm-hearted employees who put their heart and soul into their work, as their work is valued, village life is promoted and families are well protected.

Thailand: Cooking for the community

Close to the sustainable luxury resort Zeavola on Phi Phi Island, located in a dreamlike natural setting, is the Baan Laem Tong School. This is where the children of a formerly nomadic seaside community – that settled here at the invitation of the king at the time – learn and enjoy a meal. The Zeavola takes care of lunch for the children every Friday, as funding and supplies are often difficult due to the remote location and low incomes. Guests of the Zeavola are welcome to help serve lunch and experience a whole new side of island life. The Zeavola Resort donates three US dollars per night per guest to the project and a donation box is always available at the reception.

The 5* resort Tongsai Bay on Koh Samui is also socially committed. The eco-hotel focuses primarily on imparting knowledge and empowers people to help themselves to ensure further training in sustainability on a regional level. This includes seminars for more environmentally oriented awareness at the Ban Plai Lam School, training on the subject of “energy saving and waste disposal” for people from the surrounding area. To strengthen the local infrastructure, the Tongsai Bay donated to a school canteen and a fire station and regularly undertakes cleaning work in the community.

Whether in Thailand, Germany, Indonesia or Cambodia – at every corner of the world, there are numerous opportunities for hotels to get involved with their local community and thereby sustainably strengthen the region. This requires great personal commitment along with the conviction that the protection of nature as well as social and cultural responsibility are the key to preserving the world for future generations.

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