Guests generally were happy to know that their

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Guests generally were happy to know that their patronage contributed to mean- ingful causes, like the construction of new schools for the local community, the restoration of coral reefs, and the longevity of local village crafts. Involving the Local Community In addition to engaging local craftsmen to produce indigenous art and handicrafts for sale at its gal- leries, Banyan Tree also involved the local commu- nity in all aspects of its business, even as the resorts were being built. Villas were constructed with as much indigenous material as possible, most of which was supplied by local traders. Traditional arts and handicrafts that complemented the villas’ aesthetics were also purchased from local artisans. The company believed in building profitable resorts that would benefit the surrounding environment and contribute to local economies through the creation of employment and community EXHIBIT 7: Guests Participate in Planting Corals at Banyan Tree Maldives and Angsana Ihuru
460 Case 4 • Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts development projects. Thus, besides providing employment for the local community, the company brought business to the local farmers and traders by making it a point to purchase fresh produce from them. Whenever possible, the company supported other regional tourism ventures that would benefit the wider local community and enhance the visitor’s experience. The Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Laboratory is a prime ex- ample: it is the first fully equipped private research facility to be fully funded and op- erated by a resort. The lab seeks to lead conservation efforts in the Maldives to protect and regenerate coral and marine life for the future of the tourism industry as well as to promote awareness and education of this field to the local community. Recognizing that the disparity in lifestyles and living standards between guests and the local community might create a sense of alienation within the local community, a community relations department was set up to develop and manage community out- reach programs. After consultations with community stakeholders, a number of fund- ing scholarships for needy children were given, a school and child care center were built, lunches and parties for the elderly were hosted, and local cultural and religious activities were supported. One of BTHR’s formalized programs was Seedlings, which aimed to help young adults from local communities and motivate them and provide the means for complet- ing their education to successfully enter the labor force as adults. This program benefit- ted the community at large as it provided the next generation with educational opportunities and to break the poverty cycle. 2 Growing Banyan Tree In 2002, BTHR took over the management of a city hotel in the heart of Bangkok from Westin Hotel Company. The hotel was rebranded as Banyan Tree Bangkok, after extensive renovation works were completed to upgrade the hotel’s facilities and build new additional spa amenities and a Banyan Tree Gallery. This was the

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