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Ritz-Carlton Hotels invite Guests to Make a Difference

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Guests at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world can now volunteer their time to improve and assist the local community where they are vacationing. The program, called Give Back Getaways offers guests a variety of opportunities from learning traditional rice farming methods in Osaka to restoring heritage homes in the ancient water town of Wuzhen near Shanghai.

Give Back Getaways is the most recent opportunity to volunteer under Community Footprints, the Ritz-Carlton's social and environmental responsibility program.

We have come to recognize the interest many of our guests have in becoming more involved in the region where they are spending their vacation, explained Simon F. Cooper, The Ritz-Carlton president and chief operating officer. 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. 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.

The employees at each of The Ritz-Carlton 70 hotels around the world were challenged to identify an organization or cause in need of support in their community. They then partnered with the group to prioritize needs for hands-on assistance, and scheduled dates throughout the year when Give Back Getaways will be offered. In Beijing, the two hotels respective efforts include building a library for the young children of migrant workers at the Dandelion School, and tree-planting in rural hills to reduce the desert encroachment. Each of the programs 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 program. All profits from the half-day programs will be donated to the partner organization. 

At The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, guests will join a biologist from the Cancun Department of Ecology for a rewarding hands-on experience protecting mother turtles during nesting and helping them return safely to the sea. Guests will head out at night to search for nesting turtles, gather sea turtle eggs and bring them to a safer location at turtle camps where they can be buried without interfering with their natural cycle. Employees at the resort have been involved in this project for more than a decade and are very proud that the program has been expanded to include guests in this critical mission.

For guests who enjoy snorkeling or diving in Bali, they will participate in a coral-saving program by interacting with local seaweed farmers who have adopted more eco-friendly fishing techniques. Visitors to New York City can roll up their sleeves to work alongside members of the Central Park Conservancy to preserve this historic landmark by bench and rail painting, raking and other horticultural activities.

Additional Give Back Getaways include cooking and serving meals at the North Texas Food Bank, planting native Cyprus trees in the dwindling wetland forests of the Florida Everglades, building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Jakarta, Indonesia and environmental conservation in Kaiping Diaolou, a World Cultural Heritage project located in the Pearl River Delta, to help return the buildings environs to their original beauty and glory, organized by The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou the latest addition to The Ritz-Carlton group in China.

In Jamaica, guests will partner with resort employees and the children of SOS Childrens Village to beautify surroundings at the childrens home by planting trees, native plants and vegetables.

"Having grown up at the SOS Childrens 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," said Michelle Singh, administrative assistant to the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton Rosehall, Jamaica.

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, added Simon Cooper.

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