Philanthropy Translates from Continent to Continent: Overseas Hotels Make Their Mark on Many Regions of the World

Philanthropy Translates from Continent to Continent: Overseas Hotels Make Their Mark on Many Regions of the World

In every corner of the globe, there are ways to help others in need. Overseas hotels - from Latin America to Europe to Africa - have engaged their employees in numerous social activism projects that have run the gambit. And, these initiatives have been put into place in all sorts of locations, from Third World nations to highly westernized countries.

"Hotel companies that want to give back through philanthropy or volunteering should first consider the direct impacts of their operations including employment and supply chains," said Ben Lynam, spokesman for the Bristol, England-based Travel Foundation, an independent charity that works with tourism companies and organizations to unlock the positive potential of tourism around the world, through its various sustainability projects.

Cary Mullen, president and founder of Vivo Resorts and Residences, a 110-room hotel and 18 villa complex in the coastal town of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico, agreed. "To me, a good neighbor will help, nurture, care for and celebrate with the people and natural environment around them," he said.

Vivo guests can take part in the Palmarito Sea Turtle Camp, in which they release endangered baby turtles back into the wild. The turtle release is year-round and free to participate. Thus far, the program has saved more than 300,000 turtles.

Mullen and his team also founded the Vivo Foundation, an in-house organization that invests in environmental initiatives, construction projects, youth programs, orphanage donations, and agricultural improvements in the area. Those wanting to help have made financial contributions, donated books or other supplies to local schools, or spent some time practicing English with children in the orphanage.

Across the globe, the 17-property London-based Red Carnation Hotel Collection, which operates in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States, partners with the Clean Conscience recycling charity of the United Kingdom.

Andrew Pike

At the company's 56-room Milestone Hotel in London, for example, employees fill crates from Clean Conscience with used soaps and partially-used toiletry bottles, said General Manager Andrew Pike. Clean Conscience collects the items and creates care kits, which are donated to homeless and poverty charities around the world.

In another corner of the planet, at Red Carnation's 70-room Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, students who have left school are hired as hospitality interns. This work is done through The Amy Foundation, which works with more than 2,000 children in Cape Town, said General Manager Michael Nel. The foundation also provides after school care for children 7 to 18 years old to keep them off the streets while parents are working and to keep them getting involved in gangs and other crimes.

"This program is giving them an opportunity to work in a hotel, gain experience and get full time employment. We have seen an 85 percent success rate with interns finding permanent work either with us or in the industry," Nel said.

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