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Travel with Social Good in Nepal’s Community Homestays

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by Sudan Budathoki, Senior Office -Online Branding & Communication, Royal Mountain Travel, on behalf of CommunityHomestay.com

 

 

 

 

 

While luxurious hotels with all the mod-cons can be a lavish way to travel, with travelers interested in getting to know local people and exploring different cultures, some may find this a limiting way of experiencing a country. If you’ve seen the inside of one generic hotel, you’ve pretty much seen them all. But the Community Homestay Program, an initiative of Royal Mountain Travel, co-operating with multiple native communities of Nepal, offers an innovative and unique service for travelers wanting a comfortable place to sleep as well as local flavor, warm hospitality and the chance to see and experience things not otherwise accessible to tourists.

CommunityHomestay.com is a network of community homestays in Nepal, with the objective to empower women of vulnerable communities, preserving Nepalese ancient culture and traditions, supporting local business, and creating a memorable vacation for travelers visiting community Homestays.

Interaction with international cultures

Currently, the network envelops twelve community homestays from all over the Nepal. To become a family in the Community Homestay Network, a community is suggested to come forward with at least ten families (houses) to host guests. The homestay program recommends and prefers women to lead the project. Once the application is submitted, administration officers of CommunityHomestay.com pay their visit to the respective community. If a community meets the guidelines, CommunityHomestay.com begins promoting that community in the national and international travel industry. But, if a community does not meet the requirements, CommunityHomestay.com takes every possible measure to make a community competent to host guests. From a fund raising program (to maintain houses) to hospitality courses, from the English language learning classes and health and sanitation awareness, CommunityHomestay.com supports a community by every reasonable means. Once a community is comfortable to host guests, they are requested to reserve some certain amount of revenue to eradicate a social issue or to support a social situation. This is to say, not only a host family shall witness the benefits of community homestay, but eventually an entire community shall gain the positive impacts of responsible tourism.

One such example is Panauti Community Homestay. Like every other community homestay in the network, this homestay is a women-led project in a small town of Panauti, 32 kilometers outside the Kathmandu Valley. In 2009, 10 housewives and Royal Mountain Travel ventured for this very first project. In the initial days, housewives, who later became successful entrepreneurs, were shy and showed a lack of confidence to host foreign guests into their houses. They were concerned if a guest would not like the poor infrastructure of their houses or a guest would not like their home-cooked food or they would not be able to communicate with guests in a foreign language. Most of the housewives of Panauti Homestay are uneducated, and there was an urgent need to encourage them. Royal Mountain Travel provided training to these housewives regarding hospitality, service management, and gave English language learning classes. Royal Mountain also provided an idea and supported the houses to re-build toilets and bathrooms. Gradually, the owners/housewives began hosting guests in their houses. As every guest who visited their Homestay showed their tremendous support to housewives/owners of Panauti Community Homestay, the concept of community homestay came to an existence to empower women from every vulnerable community of Nepal.

 

Women of Panauti

Now the women of Panauti are full of confidence. The housewives are earning well, in some cases, more than their husbands. They can afford to send their children to better schools and their husbands are proud and happy for their wives’ success. With growing success, Panauti Community Homestay installed solar panel energy displaying their support for the natural energy. Once the kids of Panauti would chase a traveler for chocolates, now they communicate with guests in the English language and help lost travelers, if they spot one. A certain amount of revenue, generated from the homestay project, is set aside to support widowed women of Panauti; supporting financially to sponsor their children for education. The same revenue is also used to build a community hall, where younger generation are learning to play traditional Newari (ethnic) music, which was almost extinct.

Panauti Town

Such a success story has not limited its passion only to Panauti, rather it has encouraged other women from different communities to come forward to establish homestays. Other homestays in the Community Homestay Network are following the same principle. Women are in charge of other homestay projects, and so far it seems to be the fact that if a mother in a house becomes stronger, an entire family becomes stronger. If mothers of a community are stronger, the entire community sees only prosperity.

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UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards

Call for Entries: 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation

20 FEBRUARY, 2017, BANGKOK,– Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Awards recognize the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored or conserved structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region. The Awards emphasize the importance of the conservation process, including the technical achievements and quality of the restoration, as well as its social impact, including community involvement in the project. By UNESCO Bangkok. To find out more please click here.

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Inspiring your community to go green

Categories: Green Tips
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Inspiring your community to go green

Increasingly, people are looking at ways to reduce their ecological footprint. But is simply greening your own lifestyle enough? How can we also impact our communities, our friends and family, neighbourhoods, towns, cities and, ultimately, our societies?

Here are six ways to inspire your community:

  1. Reconnect

To inspire sustainability efforts in your community, you need to be part of it. Talk to the people around you and seek their opinions. Show support in your community and get involved. Educate yourself on the issues that affect your community and become a leader. Use your new knowledge to start community discussions on sustainability initiatives.

  1. Educate others

Your biggest potential for influencing others is by actions, attitudes and by setting the right example. Be open and honest about your choices and encourage others to follow the same path. For more information and knowledge related to sustainable and socially responsible tourism, visit: PATA’s sustainability website.

  1. Form a Green Team

Form a green team within your community. Having a green team is an important step along the path towards the objective of becoming more environmentally sustainable. It also increases engagement within your community. Check out: how to form a green team.

  1. Local engagement

community engagement

Engage directly with your local community on green projects. What are you planning for EarthDay 2017 on April 22? Gain inspiration from PATA EarthDay activities. Consider neighbourhood clean-up projects; tree planting, community carpooling, recycling and volunteering activities.

  1. Make it easy and enjoyable

Good intentions are fine – but it is meaningful actions that make a difference. For example, if recycling isn’t convenient it is less likely to happen. Visible, conveniently placed recycling bins make it easier for your local community to participate in a recycling programme.  Positive engagement creates positive outcomes in every community. Make sure that you add a little fun to every sustainability project.

  1. Buy local

When you purchase a locally-made product it supports your local economy and benefits the environment by reducing its carbon footprint. Buy locally grown food and handicrafts directly from neighbourhood markets and artists. It’s also a great way to get to know your community.

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WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalists

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is pleased to announce the 15 Finalists for its 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The 2017 Finalists cut across five continents in the following categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People.

The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in its 13th year, showcases business practices of the highest standards that balance the needs of ‘people, planet and profits’ within our sector.

The 2017 Awards fall within the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, all 15 Finalists illustrate great commitment to “support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals”, as the International Year calls for.

Following a rigorous 3-phase judging, which includes an onsite evaluation, Winners of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the 17th WTTC Global Summit, taking place in Bangkok, 26 – 27 April 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “I am extremely pleased to once again see such inspiring business leadership amongst this year’s Finalists. This year saw a 36% rise of applications, which shows not only that more and more Travel & Tourism companies are looking to operate sustainably but also an increased interest to share company best practices and thereby educate peers and governments.

As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow, WTTC currently estimates global Travel & Tourism to have grown by 3.1% in 2016, we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage, and our Awards programme calls on tourism businesses to showcase just that.”

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “The 2017 Finalists illustrate how widespread the notion of sustainable tourism has become. While sustainability used to be focused around the preservation of nature, this year, the organisation’s missions are, amongst other things, centred around innovative value creation for societies, travel technology for those with accessibility needs, and empowerment of the young workforce.”

The Finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel for the second year, are:

Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage

  • Cinnamon Wild Yala, Sri Lanka
  • G Adventures, Canada
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

  • Botswana Tourism Organisation, Botswana
  • City of Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland

Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:

  • Biosphere Expeditions, UK
  • Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
  • Misool, Indonesia

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

  • NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism, Spain
  • Soel Yachts, Netherlands
  • The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, USA

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

  • Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana
  • STREETS International, Vietnam
  • The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), China

The Winner Selection Committee is chaired by Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and include a further 15 independent judges from within the Travel & Tourism sector.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair, said: “Now more than ever it’s important to highlight how tourism positively connects people across the planet and brings great social and economic benefits to destinations. The 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Finalists demonstrate a commitment to long term vision in preference to short term gains and provide inspiring examples of responsible leadership in their businesses. The true value of the awards is the insight and learning which can be shared across the industry and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories during the WTTC Global Summit in April 2017.”

For the full list of finalists and more about the Awards, read more here.

Click here for the original article by WTTC.

To view the announcement of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Finalists, presented by Lead Judge Graham Miller, please click here.

Copyright @ WTTC 2017

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A micro-approach to sustainable tourism: how travelers can take small actions that result in large, positive impacts

Categories: Blog Posts, Case Study, Community, People and Places
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By La Carmina, travel blogger and TV host @ lacarmina.com

la-carmina-lacarmina-asia-fashion-blogger-tv-host

 

Intro

As a millennial travel blogger, I’ve noticed a rising interest among travelers my age for “authentic, immersive” experiences. I personally gravitate towards sharing stories in this vein, such as conservation safaris in South Africa, or village food tours in Vietnam. Skift’s recent report echoes this movement: “Arguably the most significant, systemic trend in worldwide tourism today is the demand for ‘experiential travel’.”

Their report adds that 71% of US travelers now prefer to travel with family and friends, and book local stays. In particular, young travelers are uninterested in joining a big bus tour, briefly hitting the landmarks and sleeping at a chain hotel. Instead, they’re keen on local, off-the-beaten-path experiences. According to Trekk Soft, travelers are increasingly expressing a “real interest in interacting in a genuine way with other people and cultures” – giving examples such as camel treks to Merzouga, and staying in yurts with Mongolian nomads.

These experience-seeking travelers might not use the word (or hashtag) “sustainable” in describing their preferred travel style, but their approach often shares the same priorities. “Sustainable tourism,” after all, focuses on making a positive, ethical impact on the local environment, community and economy.

Leisure travelers might not instinctively be drawn to “sustainable tourism”, as the first images that come to mind tend to be voluntourism in poor areas, eco-work in jungles and other challenging long-term commitments. Skift suggests they may feel daunted by the physical level required, difficult living conditions, or overall social impact of their contribution.

However, travelers can make a significant impact even in a single day of action. There are many “micro-approaches” to incorporating sustainability into a trip – such a staying at a family-run hotel, devoting a day to volunteering in the city, or taking a cooking class run by villagers in their homes.

Since these small and less intensive choices are accessible to travelers, it’s likely that more will be willing to take part – resulting in compounding positive returns for the community. These “micro-sustainable” activities are also exactly in line with the meaningful, local experiences that travelers are increasingly seeking.

Tourists will always be in need of accommodations, food, transportation, and possibly a guided tour – all of which are opportunities to support locals, and leave a small footprint. In recent years, I’ve been putting the spotlight on small, sustainable choices in these areas, which can go a long way. Here are three examples from my recent journeys, and the lessons I’ve learned.

 

Case study 1: Volunteering with Myanmar punks

Volunteering abroad can take on many forms. Like many leisure travelers, I am not able to commit to a long stint of service, such as spending several weeks or months at a rural school. I also have some health concerns that limit me from certain types of activities, and I can understand why travelers may feel uncomfortable in some circumstances, such as working at a hospital.

Regardless, there is an abundance of direct, local-led ways to make a difference in any destination. These activities can fit seamlessly with one’s personal interests and abilities, and fulfill the “authentic” experiences that travelers desire.

For example, I’ve identified with subcultures ever since I was a teenager, especially Goth and punk lifestyles. When I had the opportunity to visit Myanmar, I was surprised to learn that there is a vivid, “old-school” punk scene in Yangon. These bands perform raucous sets at dive bars, wearing spiky Mohawks, studded jewelry and ripped tops – followed by hardcore partying til morning!

However, Yangon’s rockers are also committed to helping their community from the ground up. Kyaw Kyaw, leader of the punk group Rebel Riot, started two local charities: Books Not Bombs (raising funds and supplies for schoolchildren in need), and Food Not Bombs (a weekly program where the punks and volunteers feed the homeless).

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

As someone with a passion for underground culture, I was excited to meet Myanmar’s punks and help out with their non-profits. I messaged Kyaw Kyaw and others directly on Facebook, and we struck up a conversation. My friends and I ended up bringing a suitcase full of school supplies for the local children. We watched him perform at Human Rights Day, taking photos so that I could feature the concert on my travel blog. Later, we interviewed him while hanging out with his punk friends, which led to a decadent night out at Chinatown bars.

My friends and I were happy we were able to meet new friends who shared our love of alternative culture and fashion. We had a unique, fun experience with locals in Yangon, while also supporting a charity in person. With the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to reach out directly to individuals like we did, and make a difference even during a short trip.

 

Case study 2: Staying with a Serbian family

One of the simplest ways that travelers can support sustainable tourism is by choosing local, ethical accommodations. In the past, tourists booked chain hotels because they could count on the consistent quality. However, with the rise of crowd-sourced online reviews today, travelers minimize the risk of staying in subpar places. With a little web research, they can confidently put their dollars towards homestays, B&Bs, and independently run boutique hotels with excellent reputations.

When my travel TV team and I were planning our stay in Belgrade, I looked at international brands such as Best Western, Radisson and Hyatt. I knew these hotels would provide a satisfactory stay – but I probably wouldn’t remember the rooms or staff a few months later. In other words, there would be no “experience” or sustainable/local facets, which are important to my travel stories.

Instead, I looked at TripAdvisor and other boutique hotel reviews online. Selection Apartments stood out because it had 5-star reviews across the board, and won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year since 2012.

We contacted them and received a personal reply and welcome from the family that runs these apartments, including the offer to pick us up from the train station for free. When we arrived, the father and wife team served us Serbian coffee and fresh-baked pastries, and then took us on a little walking tour of the neighbourhood to get us situated. They upkeep the rooms themselves, and were always available for friendly chats and to give advice. To this day, we still keep in touch on Facebook.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

If we had booked a chain hotel, we would never have had a personalized, local experience like we did at Selection Apartments. My team and I feel great that we supported a kind Belgrade family, and consistently recommend them to travelers to help get the word out. This sustainable choice rewarded us with new friends and memories, while also helping out a local business.

 

Case study 3: Supporting Moroccan women on a tour

Likewise, in Morocco, my team and I wanted to dive deeper into the local culture, and film meaningful stories about individuals breaking boundaries. We were curious about the lives of Moroccan women, so we created a custom itinerary through Plan-It Fez, a tour company run by two expat women. We had a Moroccan lady as our guide and translator, and she helped us experience immersive activities that support local female-run businesses.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

We learned how to make bread and couscous at a bakery collective, run by women in a village outside Fez. The next day, we took part in a family-run henna workshop, where three generations of Moroccan women showed us beauty treatments and drew designs on our hands. Finally, we stayed overnight in a Berber village home, cooking dinner with the ladies of the house.

Photo: La Carmina

Photo: La Carmina

Although my filmmakers and I only spent about a week in Morocco, our Plan-It Fez tour gave us powerful insight into the lives of independent, local women. We saw our dollars made a direct impact on the lives of these women, as we could observe how they were building lives for themselves through their work, which they opened up to tourists.

In any given destination, there are dozens of big-name tour groups, buses and cruises to choose from. However, with a little online research, sustainable-minded travelers can find a niche tour that focuses on a cause or aspect that they feel passionate about. These options can range from a small eco cruise for people who love diving, to music workshops run by emerging artists. I personally love shining a light on women and fringe groups, which made this tour a perfect fit for my interests, while creating sustainable benefits.

 

Conclusion

Today’s travelers are increasingly interested in “experiential, meaningful, local” journeys – and these values are in line with sustainability. However, large-scale voluntourism and eco-focused trips might not match the comfort levels of most leisure travelers. Instead, tourists can be encouraged to take small, mindful actions – such as booking homestays and ethical tours, or spending a day volunteering for a cause they believe in.

My case studies suggest that these “micro-sustainable” choices can fit one’s personal interests and be enjoyable, while also making a significant, positive impact on communities. Travelers are also more likely to take part in such “small” actions, as these require less time and physical investment. No matter how small, every choice that is mindful about a destination’s environment and residents will make a difference.

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Tourism Tidbits: Providing Tourism Cheer

Categories: Community, People and Places, Tourism Resilience
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Tourism and more

Wishing Everyone a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas

December 2016: Tourism this past year has faced many challenges, from a slow economy in Europe to ISIS attacks, from medical issues such as Zika to waves of terrorism in Europe and wars in the Middle East.  For many around the world, despite the fact that this has not been an easy year, the month of December creates a great deal of “light” and “hope’. In the northern Hemisphere the lights of Christmas and Chanukah provide great beauty during the dead of winter. In the southern Hemisphere this is the beginning of the summer holidays and a time for rest and relaxation. December then is a time when most of the world seeks cheer and hope and looks to break the bleakness of everyday life with special events, with celebrations and with a chance to find beauty in life.

Tourism has a major role to play in helping all of us add cheer and a sense of joie de vivre to our lives. Despite the high cost of airline tickets and poor service along the continued weakening of the economy in many western nations, people seek the gift of travel.

Perhaps the greatest gift the travel and tourism industry can give the public is to find new and innovative ways to return at least some of the romance and enchantment to the world of hospitality. That means remembering that our guests are not mere statistical numbers but rather that each traveler represents a world unto him/herself and quality must always override quantity.

To help your locale or attraction put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your industry, Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions.

Emphasize the unique in your community rather than the standardized.   Do not try to be all things to all people.  Be something that is special.  Ask yourself: What makes your community or attraction different and unique from your competitors?  How does your community celebrate its individuality?  If you were a visitor to your community would you remember it a few days after you had left or would it be just one more place on the map?  Emphasize unique shopping and dining experiences. If travel means nothing more than eating at the same restaurants no matter in where you are then it is merely a hassle rather than a memory.   For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, explain what makes your hiking trails special, and your beaches or river experience with ideas from ecology, history or geology. If your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

Create enchantment through product development.  Advertise less and give more.  Always exceed expectations and never overstate your case. The best form of marketing is a good product and good service. Provide what your promise at prices that are reasonable.  The public understands that seasonal locations have to earn their year’s wages in a few months. Higher prices may be acceptable but gauging never is. If the other communities are building golf courses, then build something else, think of your community or destination as another country.  People do not want the same food, language and styles that they have back home. Sell not only the experience but also the memory by being different from other destinations.

Take the time to get excited about your community and then share that passion with other.  Ask ten neighbors what places they most like about your community and then make sure that you visit these locales.  You cannot get other people excited about your community if you are not excited about it.  Play tourism in your own community. See what you like and dislike about it and then emphasize the good and fix the bad.

Think of why it is great to be a tourist in your location. Do you offer special types of food that want to make people forget for a few days about counting calories, provide unique experience, or give people a chance to unwind?  Does your locate have unique music or can a visitor have a once in a lifetime experience when visiting?  Can your locale provide the visitor with a chance to leave his or her schedule and turn every hour into a happy hour?  These are the basics that make being a visitor and tourist fun.

Assess the areas of your tourism experience offerings that destroy enchantment and then fix them.  For example are your guests subjected to:

  • lines that are too long
  • a lack of shelter from the weather, sun, wind, cold etc.
  • rude service personnel
  • personnel that neither listen nor care
  • traffic jams and airport hassles
  • a lack of adequate parking
  • no one who is willing to listen or own a complaint?

Remember that tourism is first about people.  Tourism is about fun and you cannot help others to have fun if you dislike your job!  Make your job something special, do something goofy every day and find new ways to break your daily routine.   Remember that you need to be less interested in yourself and more interested in the vacationer’s experience.  An employee who is unique, funny, or makes people go away feeling special is worth thousands of dollars in advertising.  Every tourism manager and hotel GM ought to do every job in his or her industry at least once a year.  Often tourism managers push so hard for the bottom line that they forget the humanity of their employees.  Be with the visitors and see the world through their eyes.

Enchantment starts with caring and appearances.   The rule “people first” is an essential part of tourism, but along with good customer services, comes the way your locale, business and community appear.  In tourism appearances matter!  Develop a group of specialists in such fields as lighting, landscaping, color coordination, exterior and interior decorations, street appearances and city themes, parking lots and internal transportation service.  Utilitarian devices, such as the San Francisco trolley cars, can be vehicles of enchantment if they enhance the environment and add something special to place and help to differentiate it from other locales.

Create lists about what is special about your community and then make sure that the local population is aware of these attributes.  All too often locals believe that there is no reason anyone should come to their community and in fact there is nothing to do.  Run regular newspaper and TV spots that emphasize information such as:

  • What special attractions you community has
  • Special nature trails and outdoors activities
  • What to do when there is inclement weather
  • When festivals and special events occur
  • What are some of the special traditions and customs in your community
  • What are unique shopping opportunities

Remember hospitality starts with people so the more personal interactions that you can create the more positive is the memory that visitors take away from their visit to your locale.

Create a safe and secure atmosphere.  There can be little enchantment if people are afraid.  To create such an atmosphere local security professionals must be part of the planning from the beginning.  Tourism security is more than merely having police or security professionals hanging around a site.  Tourism security requires psychological and sociological analysis, the use of hardware, interesting and unique uniforms and careful planning that integrates the security professional into the enchantment experience. Enchantment oriented communities realize that everyone in the community has a part to play in creating a positive tourism experience and one that creates a unique and special environment not only for the visitor but also for those who live in the community.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. Read more on Tourism & More, Inc.

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MGM Create A Better Tomorrow Today

WELCOME TO OUR MGM SUSTAINABILITY NEWSLETTER
We’re doing a lot behind the scenes at MGM to reduce our impact on the environment and support the people that mean the most to us, including all our employees and community. Contributing to a better Macau through our arts and culture program is also an important aspect of our approach. Through this newsletter we will share our monthly sustainability highlights with you, and hope you will join us in our sustainability programs to help us Create a Better Tomorrow Today.


Environment

Environment

Turning Green to Gold: We’re doing a lot behind the scenes at MGM to reduce our impact on the environment and support the people that mean the most to us, including all our employees and community. Contributing to a better Macau through our arts and culture program is also an important aspect of our approach. Through this newsletter we will share our monthly sustainability highlights with you, and hope you will join us in our sustainability programs to help us Create a Better Tomorrow Today.

Environment

War against Waste: Did you know it takes a million years for a glass bottle to decompose? Or, that by 2050 it’s expected that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish? Our Food and Beverage department is waging a war against waste. Last month, the Stewarding and Sustainability teams joined together to conduct a waste audit to find opportunities to cut waste and recycle more in our kitchens, outlets, pantries, employee dining room and break rooms.

Community

Community

Family Fun: On June 18, MGM joined in the Family Fun Day organized by the Woman’s General Association of Macau, to share fun moments with our loved ones and promote the importance of health and well-being, as well as work-life balance. The MGM Volunteer Team set up a basketball shooting game for parents and their children to shoot hoops together and win prizes.

Community

 Supporting students in Macau towards their dream careers: At MGM, we are passionate about helping young people to prepare for their careers. From June 27 – July 1, MGM welcomed 48 students from the University of Macau, majoring in Convention and Hospitality Management (2nd year), to give an in-depth insight into the operations of a Forbes Five-Star hotel. MGM’s team members from Food and Beverage, Rooms, Housekeeping, Spa, Sales, and Sustainability, spent time with the students to give them a flavor of working in a hospitality environment. Understanding how important and daunting it can be to choose a future career, our HR team also delivered classes on developing interview skills, as well as how to choose a fulfilling career aligned to one’s strengths.

Community

MGM Academy Internship Program: On July 8, we held a special graduation ceremony for 18 interns celebrating their completion of the 6-months internship program with MGM. These 18 interns, mainly locals, come from 3 local universities, namely Institute for Tourism, Macau University of Science and Technology, City University. At MGM, we provide comprehensive training for our interns and the 6 months curriculum provides extensive departmental training based on a department of their choice such as Rooms, Food & Beverage, Human Resources, for example. In addition to experiencing first-hand what it is like to work in a real world environment, their curriculum is enriched with basic management skills training, projects and career counselling.

Community

This summer, we also welcomed students with disabilities from Escola Luso-Chinesa Tecnico-Profissional, Escola Secundaria Luso-Chinesa de Luis Gonzaga Gomes, and Escola Concordia Para Ensino Especial for a 3-week summer internship program, in collaboration with the Labour Affairs Bureau.

We are glad to contribute to the development of local talents and like to thank all our interns for their incredible contributions. We wish them all the best for their future studies.

Community

SME business matching: On June 24, MGM arranged its 3rd quarterly business matching session with small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), this time focused on the creative industries and the food and beverage industry. Over 120 one-to-one appointments between MGM and Macau local SMEs were organized to discuss their product and service offerings.

Through these sessions to date we have welcomed over 550 local business owners to MGM, signing over 1,100 new deals with SMEs.


Employee

Employee

MGM China Most Honored by Institutional Investor:MGM has been recognized by the top financial publication Institutional Investor in the 2016 All-Asia Executive Team survey winning awards across the board including the “Most Honored Company” within the Gaming and Lodging sector and across all sectors in Asia, as well as “Best Investor Relations Company”. MGM also received awards for “Best CEO”, “Best CFO” and “Best Investor Relations Professional”, being awarded to our CEO, Mr. Grant Bowie, our CFO, Mr. Hubert Wang, and our VP of Investor Relations, Ms. Sidney Luk (respectively).
Employee

Supporting career mobility: We encourage all team members to follow their dreams and strive to support their journeys to greatness. Throughout June and July, we held our Cross-Departmental Internal Transfer Campaign to support team members interested in career changes and diversification through internal transfer opportunities to other positions within the Company, as well as for the planned opening of Cotai. We are delighted to have received several hundred applications from across the company, with interviews to begin soon.

Employee


MGM Movie Carnival 2016: This years’ Movie Carnival did not disappoint. 810 team members were chosen through lucky draw to enjoy special screenings of blockbuster hits, along with 1 family member or friend, including Independence Day: Resurgence, The Secret Life of Pets and Cold War II.

Culture

Culture

Welcoming students to experience Macau: On July 14, we welcomed over 40 students from Changzhou, in southern Jiangsu Province of China, to MGM as part of a cultural exchange to Macau to learn about our rich cultural heritage and share in the historical and vibrant highlights of our homeland. To round off their Macau stay, the students visited MGM to tour our property, and see our world-class leisure and tourism offerings, including the fish-feeding show inside the Aquarium, the Butterfly Garden at Grande Praça, and the Edgar Degas exhibition. A closing ceremony and dinner reception was held later in the evening at MGM, as well as an exhilarating lion dance performed by our own Junior Lion Dance Team.

Culture

By supporting this study tour, MGM provides a unique opportunity for the younger generation from the Mainland to experience Macau’s fascinating blend of cultures, as well as the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ mechanism. The students can also bring back their fond memories of their stay in Macau to their friends and families, sharing more widely on the beauty and uniqueness of our city.

Culture

Arts & Culture Community Tours: Since launching our Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion Exhibition in May, we have welcomed thousands of visitors that have come to see this unique cultural exhibition. Our motto is Art is Fun for Everyone, and to further spark the interest of the Arts in Macau, MGM has held many special art tours for schools, community associations and NGOs, reaching children as young as 3 years, to senior citizens in their 90s.

澳門美高梅   MGM MACAU
澳門外港新填海區孫逸仙大馬路
Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau
E sustainability@mgm.mo
W www.mgmmacau.com

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WTTC challenges: T4T Logo_RGB

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) challenges Travel & Tourism organisations to show how sustainable they are by entering their sustainable business initiatives for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC said: “I am pleased to announce that the twenty-eighth annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme is now open for entries. Through the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017 we shall highlight the commitment of the Travel & Tourism sector to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.

Companies and organisations that enter for these awards can show WTTC challenges: applynowgovernments and other tourism organisations how growth and successful business models go hand in hand with the safeguarding of local communities, the environment and cultural heritage.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, former Chairman of World Travel Market and Founder and Chairman of the international water aid charity Just a Drop, will be chairing the Awards for the third time. She commented: “Tourism is a force for good, it connects people from different cultural backgrounds and environments. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards celebrate the achievements of ethical tourism businesses around the world that look to give back to local communities by enhancing livelihoods where they operate and protecting the environment and cultural traditions to ensure a sustainable world for the future.

I am delighted to be chairing again, and hope to again see many inspirational businesses apply for the 2017 programme.”

AIG Travel, Inc., the travel insurance and global assistance division of leading international insurance organisation American International Group, Inc., will be the Official Headline Sponsor of the Awards programme for the second year.

Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel, Inc., said: “AIG is committed to furthering the sustainability efforts of the Travel & Tourism industry, and we are honored to continue our support of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 2017. Through education and the sharing of best practices, I am confident we can all make a difference by implementing eco-friendly business processes.”

Lead judge, Professor Graham Miller, chair in sustainability in business at the University of Surrey, will oversee a rigorous independent judging and on-site evaluation process carried out by an international panel of experts representing academia, non-profit organisations, government and the private sector.

This year applicants can enter in the following five categories: Community; Destination; Environment; Innovation; and People.

The 2017 Finalists will be announced in January 2016 and the winners will be announced during the WTTC Global Summit 2017 in Bangkok, 26-27 April 2017.

The 2016 award winners were; Community Award: Expediciones Sierra Norte, Mexico; Destination Award: Parkstad Limburg, Netherlands; Environment Award: The Botswana Rhino Conservation Project by Wilderness Safaris, Botswana; Innovation Award: Carmacal Carbon Calculator by ANVR – The Netherlands Travel Trade Association, Netherlands; People Award: Youth Career Initiative, United Kingdom & worldwide.

Have a look at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017 Brochure.


Media Relations
For Press Kits and any other downloadable material, please click here.
For any media enquiries or interview requests, please contact

Annebeth Wijtenburg, Communications Manager
annebeth.wijtenburg @wttc.org
+44 (0) 20 7481 6483

Read more at: http://www.wttc.org/media-centre/press-releases/press-releases/2016/WTTC-challenges-tourism-businesses-to-show-how-sustainable-they-are
Copyright @ WTTC 2016

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Rio 2016: International chefs cooking surplus Olympic food for city’s poorest residents

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Olympic food

Image Source: Independent

A group of international chefs has launched an effort to tackle the widespread hunger problem in Rio de Janeiro by cooking surplus food donated from the Olympic Village and serving it to impoverished residents.

The 31st Olympic Games in the Brazilian city have faced major criticism as the country struggles through a massive economic crisis. By Feliks Garcia. Read more.

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Honourable Mention Culture and Heritage Tourism Provider

Blue YonderThe Blue Yonder was set up in 2004, to assist the work of Nila Foundation, that was working to preserve the rich heritage of River Nila (Bharatapuzha) region in Kerala. From this learning, we spread across many states in India, including Tamilnadu, Pondicherry, Rajasthan and many regions in the Himalayas through partnerships.

Our focus has always been about ‘creating better places for people to live and for people to visit’ in that order. We never launched a tourism project first, but always started with community development project. We pursued Gandhian Talisman and we designed all our travel initiatives based on how we could bring in a change into destination and our people. This started with investment into local communities and working with them, increasing their quality of life. It was obvious that once the quality of life was enhanced, the destination by default becomes the natural fit for Responsible Tourism leading to a sustainable tourism destination.

Our business is focused on Co-creation ( we never push our ideas into the community we work with, but we co-create them), Collaboration ( without deep rooted alliances, no change would happen in a destination) and Crowd-sourcing ( We are aware of our limitation as one company, so we always go to the public seeking ideas ).

In the last ten years, we have launched more than 40 initiatives focusing on heritage conservation, livelihood, dignity, natural conservation and community health care to name a few. From 2004, where we launched Musical Trail to bring in dignity, respect and income generation to isolated musicians, to 2015 when we partnered with Kozhikode District administration on Compassionate Kozhikode, we have continued to be innovative and disruptive when it comes to destination development.

 

For more information: The Blue Yonder website