Guests at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world can volunteer their time to improve and assist the local community where they are holidaying.
The programme, called Give Back Getaways, enables guests to help in various ways - from protecting endangered sea turtles in Cancun, Mexico, to helping with renovations and landscaping at the RIA Center in Manama, which offers support for children with autism and other learning challenges in Bahrain.
Give Back Getaways is the most recent opportunity to volunteer under Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton social and environmental responsibility programme.
“We have come to recognise the interest many of our guests have in becoming more involved in the region where they are spending their vacation. Many of them are active volunteers in worthwhile activities at home, and want to continue this spirit of giving when they visit other parts of the world,” explained Simon Cooper, president and chief operating officer.
“We believe Give Back Getaways is a unique way for our hotels to partner with guests to provide an experience both memorable and personally enriching,” he added.
The employees at each Ritz-Carlton hotel were challenged to identify an organisation or cause in need of support in their community. They then partnered with the group to prioritise needs for hands on assistance, and scheduled dates throughout the year when Give Back Getaways will be offered.
Each of the programmes offered will include instruction by professionals so participants can make a meaningful contribution to the project they select to participate in as a volunteer for the half-day programme. All profits will be donated to the partner organisation.
Three of the five Ritz-Carlton hotels in the Middle East become involved.
The Ritz-Carlton, Sharm El Sheikh has teamed up with the geological experts at a local dive center to educate guests about the beautiful yet fragile coral reefs in the Red Sea. For several selected days in the year and under the watchful eye of dive experts, resort employees and guests will assist in removing endangered corals from identified areas to designated “safe zones.”
The Hatta Dam is a verdant oasis in contrast to its desert surroundings. Set against rugged mountain ranges straddling the United Arab Emirates and Oman, this subterranean water table creates a surprising habitat for many species of flora and fauna. Guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai are encouraged to join the resort employees in an ongoing effort to restore and conserve this popular destination by taking water and plant samples for research purposes in addition to monitoring and recording wildlife activities.
At Sharq Village & Spa, environmental conservation is associated with the caring for local children with developmental learning challenges. Guests of the resort are invited to the Shaffalah Center which focuses on services and care for these youngsters. There guests will interact with the children and also play a crucial role in conserving the environment by planting the native Shaffalah flowers.
The employees of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa have been closely associated with the RIA Centre for the past two years. Together they have created opportunities for the guests to interact with the local children with autism and other communication disabilities. Over 10 designated days throughout the year, guests are taken on a tour of the facilities, and also invited to join the teachers and children for skill building programmes including tree plantings, baking cookies and cakes, and join in vents on the private island of the resort.
In Jamaica, guests will partner with resort employees and the children of SOS Children’s Village to beautify surroundings at the children’s home by planting trees, native plants and vegetables.
'Having grown up at the SOS Children’s Village, I was given amazing opportunities that might not have been possible without the involvement of organizations such as The Ritz-Carlton. Children deserve the right to feel cherished and the right to belong. This is a great opportunity for us to invest in brighter futures for these children – and doing so with the involvement of our guests' says Michelle Singh, administrative assistant to the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Rosehall, Jamaica.
Guests can now check availability of the programmes in advance of their stay by accessing www.givebackgetaways.com
“Even if people have never volunteered in their home communities before, we believe Give Back Getaways offers a new personal vacation experience which can be memorable and rewarding,” explained Cooper.
“The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has always been committed to the support of local charities and causes and our ladies and gentlemen have donated tens of thousands of hours of paid time and their own time to organizations in their neighborhoods. Our employees around the world worked for months to develop the Give Back Getaways offerings and are immensely proud to have the opportunity to share the soul of our company with our guests,” said Sue Stephenson, vice president, Community Footprints.
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