Raki Phillips, Area Director of Sales & Marketing for the UAE, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
As the capital looks towards the World Green Tourism Conference at ADNEC this week, an event that underlines the importance of sustainability in the region’s hospitality industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will build on the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility platform to develop existing ecological and community outreach programs in the Middle East.
Piloting in 2011, the Fairmont CAREs (Community Assistance and Responsibility to the Environment) grant program provided financial assistance for select projects in the region ranging from micro-farming in Kenya, to tracking sea turtles in Dubai to assisting developmentally challenged school children in Nairobi. As we move into 2012 and the program gains momentum, our hotels and resorts around the world will continue to identify special needs within the communities where they do business and where Fairmont can help to make a difference.
“Many companies today, Fairmont included, express an interest in protecting and investing in the habitat, resources and culture of the places where we work, live and play and at Fairmont we recognize that many of our new markets face diverse needs that involve not only environmental concerns but also those impacting social and community wellbeing,” said Raki Phillips, Area Director of Sales & Marketing for the UAE, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
“As Fairmont Hotels & Resorts continues to expand, the Middle East is very much a strategic market for us. There is great growth potential for this region as well as looking further east into Asia - through local partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, we have a fantastic opportunity to offer unique travel experiences both for guests coming into this region as well as travelers from the Middle East looking further afield and preserve the communities that are the lifeline of this region”.
“The fact that more companies and media are paying attention to socially-responsible business practices is a welcome evolution toward a permanent attitude shift in how companies operate globally and locally,” added Phillips.
Regional Projects with Fairmont CARES include:
The Fairmont Dubai was proud to introduce the newest member to the family this April - the hawksbill sea turtle. Adopted as part of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project with Emirates Wildlife Society in association with World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF), Fairmont Dubai is the first hotel in the region taking part in this tracking programme to gather much needed information on marine turtles and their environment. By sponsoring a turtle for a year, Fairmont Dubai will be contributing to vital research for WWF-EWS.
At Fairmont Nile City in Cairo, Fairmont CAREs grant funding has helped in supporting the clean up of a section of the Nile River directly in front of the hotel. Due to river flow, litter and clutter can accumulate and the need to preserve the integrity of the river and the fish population within became paramount. Together with the Ministry of Irrigation, clean ups are conducted on a monthly basis.
Fairmont CAREs grant funding was provided to Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in early 2011 as seed funding to help them with a community micro-farm project. Driving self-esteem amongst local woman who would otherwise be unemployed, this project allows them to be self-reliant by raising rabbits and goats for meat and milk that can be both sold and used to feed their young children. Since funding was provided, the government of Africa has donated additional lands to these women to assist with the expansion of this clearly successful initiative.
Working with Fairmont The Norfolk, Fairmont CAREs grant assistance was given to their Nairobi River Project which partnered the hotel with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Nairobi City Council. The property gave an “an extreme makeover” to 30 meters on both sides of the river near the property. The goal being to implement environmental activities such as planting trees, setting up benches, fencing designated areas for guests, among other activities.
In 2011, Fairmont CAREs funded a “Special Commune” for developmentally challenged children identified to us by Fairmont Beijing. The children work in the school’s organic farm and the facility helps bridge the gap between academic education, real world socialization and active employment by providing an internship for these challenged youth. Funds were used to purchase kitchen equipment to help train those interested in becoming cooks, and the hotel also assists by purchasing and serving the commune’s organic produce in their restaurants as well as by providing mentorship opportunities within the hotel.
Through Shanghai Roots & Shoots’ Million Tree Project, Fairmont Peace Hotel has helped to encourage individuals and organizations to minimize their negative environmental impact by polluting less and improving their positive environmental impact by planting trees in the desertified lands of Inner Mongolia. The previously lush landscape of Kulun Qi, Inner Mongolia is now a rapidly expanding desert due to a combination of the greenhouse effect and irresponsible exploitation of the land. Fairmont CAREs provided financial assistance to cover the planting the 10 years of maintenance for 2,000 trees in Inner Mongolia - creating a small forest now named for the brand.
Makkah Clock Royal Tower- A Fairmont Hotel in the heart of Saudi Arabia has also successfully cooperated with the EbsarFoundation with the ‘Feel your senses program’ - aimed at providing support to the people who are on the verge of losing their eyesight in offering unparalleled healthcare and eye treatment and giving back to the local community.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be speaking at the World Green Tourism Conference on the following topics:
Panel: Whose responsibility is to green the tourism industry?
Day 1(5th December): 15:30 – 16:30
Fairmont’s Raki Phillips, based in Fairmont Dubai, will sit with key decision-makers in the hospitality industry to look at the role hotels in the region can play in monitoring their environmental impact, addressing industry-wide actions that can be enforced to ‘green’ business practices.
Workshop: How to Green Your Hotel
Day 1 (5th December): 08:00 – 09:30am
Along with three hotel representatives, Shelendra Singh, Health and Safety Manager at the Fairmont Dubai, will explore simple steps that hotels, resorts and leisure attractions can take to create a more sustainable destination, particularly by reducing waste and water usage. Shelendra has become recognized as an ‘eco-champion’ for leading a number of innovative and impactful green initiatives that have distinguished Fairmont Dubai as one the UAE’s greenest hotels.