The programme allows guests to have first-hand connections with local communities and the environment, promoting both cultural and positive changes
By LYDIA NATHAN
MARRIOTT International Inc has launched the “Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy” programme to offer curated purpose-driven experiences focusing on sustainability and social impact for guests.
Piloted in 15 different hotels across Asia Pacific, the programme allows guests to have first-hand connections with local communities and the environment, promoting both cultural and positive changes.
Marriott International Asia Pacific chief sales and marketing officer Bart Buiring said the global pandemic brought about an awareness and consciousness for making positive impacts on the travel industry.
“Guests are growing more conscious of their personal impact on the destinations they visit.
“The programme aspires to shift the way vacations are perceived, from pure leisure to learning more about the environment and forge new connections with the local community,” he said at the virtual launch of the programme yesterday.
According to Buiring, the programme will focus on three main pillars — environmental protection, marine conservation and community engagement — with the aim of supporting and creating an impact where guests can participate while learning on the various efforts.
For example, the JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa in India offers “Implant Nature”, where guests can help the hotel’s afforestation initiative by conserving vital topsoil eroding from the Garhwal Range at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Another example is the Fairfield by Marriott Busan Songdo Beach in South Korea with its “Beach Clean Up”, a collaboration with Pulmuone Foundation which focuses on reducing the environmental impact from tourism.
“Guests are invited to attend a talk on the severity and impact of marine pollution followed by a beach clean-up. Children joining the experience will receive a certificate of participation.
“Other experiences include W Bali, Seminyak Indonesia’s ‘Food for Thought’; Coral Planting at The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa in Japan; educational and real-life experience of a Turtle Shelter at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa in Thailand; and Mangrove Planting at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay,” Buiring said.
He added that the group’s sustainability and social impact platform, “Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction”, guides the commitment for a positive and sustainable impact.
Meanwhile, Buiring said from a business perspective, the group’s plan to open 100 new hotels this year will go forward as planned.
He said last year, the group celebrated its 800th milestone opening in the Asia-Pacific region with 75 added properties during the year.
“Currently, only 6% of hotels in the region excluding China are closed due to the pandemic.
“The others remained open and our plans will most certainly move forward. We are very optimistic about the second half of 2021.”
So far, China has led the global recovery, while the group expects to celebrate its 400th hotel in Greater China and launch its 50th hotel in Shanghai with the W Marriott Shanghai Fengxian in the spring of 2021.