By Emily Martin
Responsible Tourism Cambodia – Park Hyatt Siem Reap
The “Responsible Tourism Cambodia” blog series is concentrating on high-quality businesses who are dedicated to their social responsibility in Cambodia. All of these businesses focus on responsible tourism and are supporters of Phare and our social mission.
The Park Hyatt hotel chain is well known around the world for being a 5-star, luxury accommodation choice – but did you know they also have a huge emphasis on responsible tourism?
The Park Hyatt Siem Reap opened its doors in August 2013. It is one of the newest properties in the town and was designed by American architect Bill Bensley. With an ‘art deco meet Khmer’ feel, it has the air of a wealthy estate and features art work by local Cambodian Artists.
Where-ever the Hyatt opens across the globe the company aims to have a positive impact on the community. It recognises the value and the need to give back to the country and therefore operates a programme called “Thrive” which is “rooted in our belief that for our business to thrive, our people, communities and planet must also thrive.”
Daisy, Marketing and Communications manager at Park Hyatt says “I think you want to have a positive influence where-ever you are operating out of and for the most part people want to do good, it’s a natural drive. Being here in Cambodia and knowing that there are a lot of places that need assistance or could use support – if we can do it then why not?”
In Siem Reap the two main projects Park Hyatt supports are; EGBOK Mission which is a hospitality training school for Cambodian youth and the Life and Hope Association where they have the Park Hyatt sewing school at Wat Damnak pagoda and run by Venerable Somnieng, one of the monks.
“He really sees women as the future of the country, and they are! He really wanted to give them an opportunity to be self-sustaining and so he started the sewing school and the Hyatt has partnered up with them to support them every month financially to keep the school running”
The women who come to the school learn to sew for 10 months and at the end of their graduation they are given their own sewing machine. There’s the opportunity to stay on and work, sewing for hotels etc while the others will go back to their home communities and start their own businesses.
It’s not just these two projects that the Park Hyatt in Siem Reap support though, “we do a lot in little ways that we can as well.”
During different holiday celebrations, like Christmas, the hotel will invite some of the children to take part in fun workshops like ginger bread decorating. They also source local, organic products, do blood drives, charity fundraisers, environmental clean ups and most recently the team biked out to Banteay Chas Village and delivered 500kilos of donated rice to the families living there.
“Our guests come here and they’re very moved by the people and the country and they want to give back and it’s nice to have these partners where we can say this is an organisation you can donate to or be involved with … The staff have been working here for a very long time, we brought them over from the previous hotel that was on this site, and being locals they are very knowledgeable about ways our visitors can responsibly travel.”
With so many Hyatt’s all over the world, and all operating the “Thrive” programme Daisy thinks that Cambodia is one of the more special locations. “When you take into account the past and the history here it’s very different to many places in the world. The fact that the resilience and positive energy is so strong and the people are very generally positive and friendly – people are inspired by that. The spirit of the Cambodian people really touch people.”
“There’s a lot of other places in the world, we have head offices in Singapore and Hong Kong and I’m sure they all have their ways to give back but the need just isn’t as high as in Cambodia. Giving back is more of a necessity.”
The Hyatt is always open to developing new relationships and ways to support NGO’s and organisations doing great things in the community. “We’re just starting to talk to Planet Water an organisation building clean water tanks in schools. We want to see if there’s a way we can support them and be involved.”
Staying at the Park Hyatt in Siem Reap you will be able to sleep well knowing that not only are you getting some of the best, authentic Cambodian hospitality in the province, but you’re also helping support these fantastic initiatives.
Park Hyatt is a partner of Phare The Cambodian Circus – you can buy tickets to see our show and know your money is going to support the NGO School, Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang, and to help keep our artists employed.
Read about the sewing school at Life and Hope Association sponsored by Park Hyatt Siem Reap.
Egbok Mission was the recipient of the 2013 Hyatt Community Grant Award, and Park Hyatt Siem Reap sells aprons made by Egbok in their Glasshouse Cafe
If there is a company in Cambodia that you’d like to nominate for the series, please leave us a message in the comments below.