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A SOURCE for EXPERTISE & ENCOURAGEMENT
APRIL 22, 2020
Time to take a Moment of Respite and let â€™s try to inspire Hope, Encouragement & Appreciation Frank M. Pfaller
In th hospital â€œnavigate
hese uncertain times, the luxury lity industry must take action to e the now,â€? plan for the recovery, and shape the future
Panel Members and Friends for your gracious
So happy to be part of this panel of dedicated of international colleagues and absolutely excited to assist to coordinate HoteliersGuildâ€™s Premiere Gourmet Extravaganza together with Frank and Flavel Monteiro of WG.
Alfredo Russo Dolce Stil Novo
Dear Friends & Colleagues, First of all, again a BIG THANK YOU to all our colleagues who, despite their equally hectic agenda, continue to support our cause so energetically. Frank M. Pfaller
President It has been our desire to launch this first Forum Of HoteliersGuild Dialogue issue on EarthDay, and I am extremely pleased that despite the prevailing corona situation and the associated problems, we have succeeded in maintaining the dialogue with some of our very committed members in the true spirit of HoteliersGuild, and despite the fact that we all have to fight on many fronts simultaneously!
Have we been over enthusiastic when we started HoteliersGuild some 20 years ago with the view to inspire colleagues for the cause to make our luxury hospitality more sustainable? Looking back it sometimes seems to me that we are still at the very beginning of our journey. A dear colleague and ‘fellow warrior’ told me recently that “…it is like talking inside a church among the converted … or talking to a wall where people politely listen and agree but do nothing productive … zero actions. Dialogue must actively include the unconverted … and tangible actions and deliveries must be identified in advance. There are too many forums in the travel industry, … too much talking … too few that truly ”walk the talk” … and too little best practice and impactful actions that lead to tangible results = carbon neutrality and support of the Global Goals…” When a company or hotel organization spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimizing their environmental impact, then there is only one word for
it: GREENWASHING. It is a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy goods and services from environmentally conscious brands! And yes, GREENWASHING has become a despicable art, and not only for some of the largest corporate polluters in the world, but shamefully also for many hotel companies who still try to entice and mislead consumers with marketing catchwords i.e. GREEN & ECO-FRIENDLY, suggestive pictures that give an ambiguous ‘green’ impression and unjustified ‘best-in-class’ boasts in their advertising. Don’t they realise that greenwashing does in fact harm their brand’s reputation? Seems to me that guests are much more educated when it comes to matters of sustainability in our industry than quite a few of our colleagues! Please take a few minutes - viewing these videos says it all: Here a ‘perfect’ example of green(brain)washing: A Fiji Water Story And here as a counter-example WholeWorldWater And for even more stimulus, check out the most useful NOW SustainabilityTool and the NOW OffsetCarbonTool Let me close in telling you how inspiring it is to be coming together with other like-minded individuals who share our commitment to transform the future of hospitality for everyone! It’s always such a pleasure to liaise with expert friends such as Sonu Shivdasani, with Onno and Alexa Poortier, with Karen Albers, Bill Bensley, Matteo Thun and Paul Jones to just name a few, who are truly walking-the-talk! Stay healthy and hopeful and please do continue to support your HoteliersGuild Forum Of Dialogue! My warmest regards Frank
LEARNING FROM THIS CRISIS! from Sonu Shivdasani CEO & Founder
"Good Fortune has its roots in Disaster" - Lao Tzu This crisis, like most crises that
develop and make our lives
Kohlrieser depicts this so well
we have been through, whilst
more enriching as a result.
in his book Hostage at the
more severe, will eventually
Let me share with you, a
Table: 1. Start an attachment;
end. Can we learn from this
recent personal experience. In
2. Create a bond; 3. The
crisis to collaborate as a world
October 2018, I was
bond/attachment ends for
and solve Global Warming?
diagnosed with stage 4
reasons; 4. One is pained by
This is the big looming crisis
Lymphoma. The doctor asked
the loss/grief; 5. One forgives
that will unfortunately not
me whether I understood the
the situation; 6. One starts
end, and which will just get
gravity of the situation. I
worse and worse.
maintained a brave face and
The memory of when I first
just focused on documenting
learnt of my predicament is
I have been fortunate enough
what he said and thinking of
still vivid. When I reflect on
to have experienced many
further questions that I would
that day, I wonder what I was
crises during my lifetime. My
need answers to. However,
crying about. Was it the fear
choice of the word ‘fortunate’
once I had left the clinic, and
of death, or was it another
is deliberate. The Chinese
was comfortably seated in the
word for Crisis is two
taxi home, I could not hold it
Now, 18 months later, I realise
characters: ‘danger’ and
anymore and broke into tears.
that I was crying about the
‘opportunity’. According to
The first three weeks after the
loss of the status quo. My
Lao Tzu, the Chinese writer
diagnosis was a difficult time.
usual reality of how I would
a n d p h i l o s o p h e r, ‘ G o o d
There was a lot of uncertainty.
live, eat and generally exist,
f o r t u n e h a s i t s ro o t s i n
I felt that the ground had
was under mined by this
disaster’. And, over the years,
been removed from below
illness, and would never
I have come to understand
me. However, this ‘Cancer
return. During those three
these words and have realised
Crisis’ gave me the
weeks, I grieved the loss of
that these crises are
opportunity to pause on
my usual daily reality. I
opportunities to learn, grow
everything else. I emerged
realised how my lifestyle and
and develop. Certainly, we
from this traumatic three
the way I lived needed to
have no control over the hand
weeks with a clear action plan,
that we are dealt, but we have
and was considerably wiser
I eventually accepted my new
total control on how we play
about health and wellness.
reality, and forgave this loss. I
When my doctor declared that
created a new bond with this
I have realised that if we
I was in remission, I realise
new reality and this new way
consider a crisis in a positive
that I had gone through a six-
of living. I gave up past guilty
way, we can always find an
stage grief cycle. The
pleasures such as a love of red
opportunity to learn and
meat, ice cream and sweets in
general. I extended the time
no return. Some believe we
and 120oF (48.8o C) in July.
in the gym from 30 minutes to
have already passed it. We
Te m p e r a t u r e s s e l d o m
an hour three times a week. I
already have 400 parts per
dropped below 100oF, and
was stricter about creating
million of CO2 in the
only at night. We survive in a
breaks in my life. I reduced my
a t m o s p h e re . E v e n i f w e
very fragile ecosystem that we
traveling and also started to
reduced our carbon emissions
are undermining. Our actions
practice intermittent fasting. I
considerably and followed the
to date have already caused
started to enjoy my new
targets established in Paris in
more death, misery and
lifestyle and diet and became
2016, we will still hit 500 parts
disaster than COVID-19 ever
attached to it. In a way, I
created a new bond with my
Even if we were to slam on the
This pandemic will end but
new reality and thus overcame
brakes and turn around, we
the important question is
would not be able to because
whether the bond we have
To some extent, many of us in
nature itself would continue
with the way we live and our
the midst of the current
the global warming process as
daily reality has been
Coronovirus crisis are
a result of feedback loops,
s u ff i c i e n t l y b ro k e n , a n d
adjusting to a new reality and
such as methane escaping
whether we can attach
going through a similar grief
from below the Arctic and the
ourselves to a new reality and
cycle. There is a hollow
Antarctic, less reflection from
a new way of doing things; or
emptiness, an uncomfortable
if we will just go back to our
feeling. We miss our daily
disappeared, warmer seas
routine that we can no longer
emitting CO2 rather than
enjoy because of this
absorbing them and so on.
lockdown. In a way, we are grieving the loss of the way
The war ming planet has
we used to live in the past.
already killed more people
today than the current global
Climate Crisis - The crisis that
pandemic that has brought us
will never end but only get
under siege: In 2003, the
European heatwave killed as
While the current global
many as 2,000 people a day
health emergency will end,
and 35,000 Europeans died.
unfortunately, this hopeful
In 2010, 55,000 people died
scenario will not be the case
during a Russian heatwave in
with global warming. It is an
which 700 people in Moscow
ongoing situation which will
died every day because of the
affect each and every one of
heat. In 2016, during the
us. And it highlights our
heatwave that besieged the
Middle East, temperatures in
Climate experts believe that
Iraq broke 100oF (37.7o C) in
we are near a tipping point of
May, 110oF (43.3o C) in June,
Sonu Shivdasani Guardian of the Culture
Was our Industry Unprepared? from Frank M. Pfaller CEO
Our hospitality industry - and I’m talking specifically about the global players and chain operators seems to be caught in a vicious cycle of money-making, geographic dependency and stock exchange fluctuation. So, luxury brands would be well advised to learn from their mistakes in the years to come! In an official report from September 2019, The United Nations World Health Organization issued a clear warning in its release of “A World at Risk.” “While disease has always been part of the human experience, a combination of global trends, including insecurity and extreme weather, has heightened the risk,” the report reads. “Disease thrives in disorder and has taken advantage. Outbreaks have been on the rise for the past several decades and the spectre of a global health emergency looms large. If it is true to say ‘what’s past is prologue,’ then there is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5 percent of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity. The world is not prepared.” So, the world was in fact informed, but it wasn’t paying attention nor was it prepared! It seems that the global financial system worked even harder to achieve higher sales and to increase profit margins, trusting that the demand in Asia and China would continue to provide a good level of growth even in a more adverse situation. Ninety percent of the growth of the entire business was thanks to Chinese customers alone, reaching 35 percent of the value of luxury goods, according to a 2019 Bain study. In 2019, the luxury industry was estimated to be worth 281 billion euro at 4.1 percent CAGR/ compound annual growth, while many of the top luxury groups and brands enjoyed double-digit growth for several quarters. The rest of the world focused on Chinese customers in their revenue predictions, tried hard but didn’t quite catch up. We saw Chinese customers travelling the world, staying in luxury hotels in Milano, in shoppinguntil-dropping mode like in mega-outlet malls like Foxtown just outside Lugano, Switzerland, until the first signals of a slowdown appeared on the horizon. But despite the signs, nobody could have fathomed that such a terrible outcome. Covid-19 seemed to have appeared and spread without warning. So, did we close our eyes to the truth? Although we all expect optimistically that those gloomy days shall pass, but at what cost? We are facing dubious times ahead. It certainly won’t be business as usual soon again, as millions of jobs are being already lost all over the world, and the impact of this virus’ social and economic effects is likely to be profound, and may well change how we shop, travel and work for years. We must prepare for a long road ahead. This exceptional time of breakdown is not to be taken with a light heart. Former Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi recently wrote the coronavirus pandemic is associated to an immense human tragedy, a deep recession won’t be avoided and that governments must do anything they can to avoid the recession to turn into a painful depression. It seems clear that no algorithm nor sophisticated technology can beat Mother Nature, but also that even the extreme confidence and trust of the smartest minds in finance have failed to anticipate an upcoming disaster.
Our hospitality industry sells services and travels that are often bought for status or self-pleasure. In a time Corona, it won’t be a priority for many of our guests to travel abroad but rather stay closer to their home country. While it may still be too early to really quantify the pandemic’s total financial toll, it definitely has shaken our industry, and some of these changes could well be permanent. With the prevailing travel restrictions, an important driver of luxury spending has come to a halt, and only a gradual ramp-up in international travel can be expected after they are lifted. According to a recent McKinsey report that again underlines the above said, in 2018, Chinese consumers took more than 150 million trips abroad; we estimate that purchases outside the mainland accounted for more than half of China’s luxury spending that year. Asian shoppers buy luxury goods outside their home countries not only to benefit from lower prices in Europe, but also because shopping has become an integral part of the travel experience: buying a brand in its country of origin comes with a sense of authenticity and excitement. That said, Chinese consumers remain the biggest growth opportunity for the luxury sector. Brands, clearly, will need a new approach to attracting luxury shoppers. To reactivate Asian luxury consumers in their home countries, brands can focus on creating tailored local experiences, strengthening their digital and omnichannel offerings, and engaging more deeply with consumers in tier-two and -three cities. The latter will be challenging, given the limitations in both retail infrastructure and customer-service capabilities in those cities. “Experiential luxury”—think high-end hotels, resorts, cruises, and restaurants—has been one of the most dynamic and fast-growing components of the luxury sector. Millennials (those born 1980–95) opted more for experiences and “Instagrammable moments” rather than luxury items. Baby boomers (born 1946–64), too, were moving in this direction, having already accumulated luxury products over the years. While we expect the positive momentum of experiential luxury to persist, it will slow down in the short term as consumers temporarily revert to buying goods over experiences… And according to the latest research from Bain & Company, luxury sales are expected to suffer a year-over-year decline of 25 percent to 30 percent, and whilst it seems that the crisis has left no industry spared, the luxury industry will be one that is affected well into 2021 and the years to come. New research from management consultancy Bain & Company released one of the first in-depth looks at just how intensely the pandemic will affect the luxury industry and how brands should move forward in order to accelerate recovery and minimise today’s threat. Looking Forward While the effects of COVID-19 are still quickly developing, industry experts suggest that gross domestic product, employment (affecting spending power), and financial markets will all have a severe strain on the luxury sector. Aspects that are expected to continue into 2021 and beyond include: • Decrease in consumer confidence • Decrease in willingness to spend • Cautionary travel in a world that was previously primarily rid of restrictions and fears of contagion The evolution and duration of the pandemic will surely be impacted by the response of individual governments and populations, however Bain & Company predicts that the market is likely to recover in two different schematics for 2021 and forward.
1 to become a member go to wholeworldwater.co
Cuando esto termine from Ricardo Arranz de Miguel CEO/Principle
Villa Padierna Hotels & Resorts Marbella | Spain
Ricardo Arranz de Migueles presidente de la FederaciĂłn Andaluza de Urbanizadores y Turismo Residencial y nuestro Embajador de HoteliersGuild para EspaĂąa
Villa Padierna Hoels & Resorts
The long-awaited Path to Optimism from Luca Franco/JesÃºs Parrilla CEO/Principle
An opinion editorial written by: Jesús Parrilla, Principal, Luxury Frontiers
As the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, so too does our collective stress and anxiety. In the face of hard times, however, it is important to also recognize the opportunity for change and the urgency and primacy of reorienting ourselves in nature. Navigating this new world will be easier said than done, of course, and my heart aches for those facing sickness, unemployment, and economic hardship. But just as I see pain and suffering in the human world, I watch as the natural world also cries out in pain. Last year alone, we saw bushfires ravage Australia, catastrophic floods hit India and Italy, and temperatures climb to a record-breaking 21-degrees Celsius in the Arctic. Clearly, we’ve done considerable damage to our natural ecosystems. Earlier this week, CNN published an article about bats—which are believed to be the source of COVID-19—and the role humans have played in the dislocation of their ecosystems and the eventual spread of disease. Andrew Cunningham, a Professor of Wildlife Epidemiology at the Zoological Society of London, commented: “It’s easy to point the finger at the host species, but actually it’s the way we interact with [bats] that has led to the pandemic spread of the pathogen.” Like Cunningham, I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic reflects humanity’s abusive relationship with one another, our planet, and all of its living creatures. Guided by pride and greed, we have pushed our fragile ecosystems closer to the edge and endangered all forms of living life by building roads, mining sacred lands, deforesting precious territories, clearing land for cattle farming and agriculture development, and eradicating wildlife and flora. In such a moment of ecological crisis, I can’t help but think of a conversation I had with a Mamo—a spiritual leader of the Kogi people—in Colombia’s isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta several years back. In no uncertain terms, he told me that all imbalances in modern life can be traced back to the moment when we adopt reckless attitudes toward Mother Earth. But if there is anything to learn from observing nature, it is that the natural world is resilient—and if we change our collective attitudes toward our natural ecosystems, using this moment as an opportunity for a reset, I am hopeful that we can turn things around. This is a wake-up call to live a simpler life that’s in greater harmony with Mother Earth, and I pray that each of us is using this time to reflect on ways we can affect positive change once normal life resumes.
Dear Frank I would like to share with you this Q&A re our Nayara Tented Camp in CostaRica. DESIGN Q&A WITH LUCA FRANCO, CEO AND FOUNDER OF LUXURY FRONTIERS, ABOUT NAYARA TENTED CAMP IN COSTA RICA • What attracted you to destination? The sense of place, the phenomenal views of the volcano, and the undulating hillsides. • What is the key vision behind the design brief? The key vision was to create a luxury tented experience within a Costa Rican context, creating a light-on-earth floating structure and achieving the highest level of luxury and experiential accommodation. • Where did you turn for inspiration? We combined the sense of two key factors: 1. Based on an African safari tent in terms of the soft, tented look and feel. 2. The inspiration for the colors, texture and look of the Costa Rican forests and culture for an encapsulated approach. • If you had to explain the tents in three words, how would you explain? Soft. Authentic. Textural. • What is the Design Mood? Immersed in the jungle, luxury awaits... A celebration of Costa Rica’s natural colors and craftsmanship hosted in a toned-down canvas space, where explorer-inspired furniture meets contemporary design. The tent is an effortless merge between architecture and interior design. The tent is designed in such a way that the openings of the tent allow for natural vegetation to be part of the guest experience as well as bringing in incredible views of the Arenal Volcano. The exterior color of the tent blends in seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Whilst the concept of the tented camp is not native to Costa Rica, a number of contextual interior palettes celebrates the colors found in both the natural environment and the cultural context of Costa Rica. General color hues around the interior were taken from the beautiful rainbow eucalyptus tree. The ox wagon wheel was used to inform the stylistic and artistic lines of the carved details. Explorer-inspired furnishings are a nod to a time in history where luxury was celebrated in a nomadic way—where sunsets were greeted by a refreshing drink enjoyed from the comfort of a stylish, foldable campaign chair. • How are you bringing the outside/surrounding area to the inside? This was done both through the architecture and the interiors. We have created this through the large openings and windows, as well as the phenomenal decking area and outdoor
showers. We have taken every care in the positioning of the units to get a full view of the volcano. The interior features have been specially designed including a backwall mural of the rainforest, lepidoptera which celebrates the natural beauty unique to Costa Rica.
• How will this camp differ from others in the immediate area and beyond? This tented camp is at a level that has not yet been achieved. This is seen in the generous size of the units, the attention to detail, and the rooflines of the tents which are a unique design unused on tents before. The level of luxury is beyond any other tented camp in Costa Rica and Central America. • Specific design elements for public spaces? The public areas reflect the same local context as the tented accommodation throughout. These were sited on areas that have the most exquisite views of the volcanoes. The arrival to this area is breath taking. The reception area is designed as a glass box to frame the volcano. The multiple lounges, entertainment areas, lookout points, and fire-pits are all fronted by an amazing multi-level swimming pool. One of the most important features is the suspended bridge leading into the forest which links guests to the camp’s natural surroundings. • How important was it to you to reflect local materials and local artisans in the project? This was key to the design and mainly reflected in the interiors using contextual elements of the Costa Rican natural flora and fauna. • How are you addressing sustainability and responsible tourism through design and guest experience? The buildings are designed as floating, light-on-earth structures. The structures were built as modular kits, use limited amounts of concrete, and employ eco-conscious composite decking for the exteriors. The interior flooring is FSC approved. The tents are insulated to the correct R values, and whilst the units are air-conditioned, they are properly insulted to minimize any power loss. All the lighting was done using LEDs and low energy fittings. Additionally, there was: preservation of the heritage tress, minimum site grading impacts, natural drainage maintained, sourcing of local plants for the landscape, natural material used in the paving and the walls, limited use of turf grass, and passive airflow used to reduce air-conditioner usage. • What are some hidden or not so obvious design details? The headboard behind the bed is designed to give the sense of a mural and a feeling of being immersed in the jungle setting. The generous bathrooms, over-sized vanity, double showers inside and outside, as well as the free-standing bathtub create flow between the elements. The suspension bridge going from the main area to the forest and the multi-level swimming pool give every element of the camp a sense of experience which appeals to one in a visual sense as well as a strong sense of place. • What are the interior design details such as fabrics and materials?
The materials used reflect a combination of the Costa Rican environment as well as a traditional wildlife safari experience, using colors and elements that are appropriately reflected in the furniture as well as the fabrics. Due to the uniqueness of the project, many items were customdesigned and handmade. • Which colors / textures did you use in this particular project and where did you source them? All the canvas used on the exterior has been custom colored, which was derived from tree bark colors. The internal canvas is in a lighter shade. The combination of green hints and the leather reflects the traditional safari style.
• Any fun facts? We used about 8000 meters of running canvas for the accommodation units, including internal and exterior canvas. The canvas was specially selected and custom dyed just for the Nayara tents. • Tell us about conservation? In the process of creating the camp, Nayara committed to reforesting the decimated hillside that was turned into a cattle pasture over 50 years ago. Nayara enlisted the expertise of one of the world's foremost landscape architects specializing in reforestation projects. When it opened, the site of Nayara Tented Camp was once again surrounded by plant and wildlife, only to thicken into a mature, pristine rainforest as time passes. Part of the reforestation included the planting of hundreds of Guarumo trees, which are the sloth's main food source. With these trees, Nayara has created a sloth sanctuary, offering a haven to over 15 of these sedentary creatures. Upon arrival to Nayara Tented Camp, every group will be introduced to their dedicated naturalist, who will accompany them on experiences throughout their stay — à la safari rangers in the African bush. These expert nature guides (Juan Pablo is a fan favorite) will bring guests on sloth sanctuary tours, early morning bird-watching walks and nighttime frog spotting tours on property.
RESORT DEVELOP MENT AND BEYOND. Design. Experiential lodging. Innovators and storytellers. Luxury Frontiers prides itself as an international expert in the design and development of experiential resorts and lodges. Beyond todayâ€™s notion of luxury, we seamlessly integrate sustainability and sophistication into iconic hospitality concepts on the worldâ€™s frontiers of travel. We call it beyond luxury. And then some.
Rethinking Resilience from Onno Poortier Chairman
Since the beginning of 2020, the travel industry has been forced to a full or partial halt in business as COVID-19 spread worldwide with no end yet in sight. The data on tourism losses changes as fast as it spreads and if this pandemic continues into the summer, the World Travel and Tourism Council projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue. Economists have said that society's blinkered approach to the future risk of disease provides a lesson for our failure to address the potentially bigger catastrophic effects of climate change. Both nightmare scenarios are playing out now which impact the vulnerable and disadvantaged the hardest, and increases our risks. This pandemic and the ongoing climate emergencies ring the loudest warning bells to the massive interconnected threats caused by human behaviour and our enormous vulnerability, making it ever clearer what’s at stake and what’s needed to build more resilience in the future. Most hotels should redefine their sustainability approach in their Recovery and Resilience Plan in 2020. For many companies, sustainability or CSR (corporate social responsibility) is voluntary and self-regulating, a mixture of philanthropy, ‘eco’ initiatives and renewable energy programs, employee engagement and owner/ investor relations with little to no governance on their Return-on-Investment, their lack of certifications with accreditation, and their marketing spin. The global crisis of trust in institutions and brands call for accountability and transparency around sustainability and the need to truly deliver value to stakeholders. NOW defines sustainability as development and action that takes responsibility for our total impact on the community and the environment, to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The goal is to be carbon neutral and support the 17 Global Goals. Hoteliers that have already committed to this rigorous definition of sustainability with accountability and transparency are ahead, having implemented policies that deliver tangible value and Return-on-Investment to their hotel brand and reputation by being held in high esteem, in attracting and retaining employees, and in saving money on initiatives. They are Forces for Good and leading examples in the hotel industry. Consumers will re-enter the travel market with caution and wherever people go, there is sure to be a greater sense of mindfulness and appreciation for nature, local people and cultures. Our new normal should not be “business as usual” as travel slowly restarts in late 2020. The vital global drive for sustainability is touching every aspect of our lives and should be the cornerstone of a hotel’s Recovery & Resilience Plan. It must be NOW! VIEW: NOW FORCE FOR GOOD ALLIANCE
Travel Uncertainty in the Face of COVID-19? The Facts - what should you really do? Author: By Team NOW Date: March 2020
Over the last three months, we’ve seen how a virus has the potential to bring our world to its knees. Since it started in central China in late 2019, the coronavirus COVID-19 has forced entire countries into lockdown and thrown travel, large gatherings – and the economy – into chaos and jeopardy. COVID-19 has been officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11th. A pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations, according to the body. As I write, the total number of cases confirmed across the world has reached 127,749, while 4,717 have died and 68,305 have recovered. It is just getting started and COVID-19 cases will increase exponentially worldwide. According to the WHO, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERSCoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus (nCoV OR COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between wild animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. Scientists searching for the source of COVID-19 are almost sure it originated in bats and maybe passed to another animal in the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, where it’s thought to have started. But the real blame, say experts, lies firmly at our feet. It’s something we can all stand accountable for – human behaviour. Disease ecologists have long feared that deforestation and trading wildlife in our markets are putting people closer to viruses which previously stayed with their mammal hosts. Wildlife didn’t invite us to meddle – we chose to move into their territory, or bring them to ours, and now we’re paying the price. Dr. Jonathan Epstein, Vice President for Science and Outreach at EcoHealth Alliance, which aims to protect wildlife and public health from the emergence of disease, says “Even if we conquer COVID-19, another one could strike any time. We’re seeing an increase in viruses jumping from the animal host to people, and it’s almost entirely because of human activity. Every species of animal has its own viruses which will stay with the animal host in the forest until we come in and interfere. We hunt them, handle them and butcher them. In densely-packed conditions, such as at live animal markets, people are exposed to their bodily fluids. It’s a great way for a virus to jump from an animal to a person.” Once the virus is passed on, pathogens that are exposed to warmer temperatures in the natural world due to climate change are better equipped to survive the high temperature inside the human body. While the body temperature of a human being rests around 37° Celsius (98.6° Fahrenheit), rising a few degrees when we’re ill to protect us, bats’ body temperatures can go up as high as 40.5° Celsius ( 105° Fahrenheit). This means that as global temperatures increase, bats will be protected by their body heat. But the viruses they carry can have a devastating effect on human beings. “We are driving these epidemics to occur more frequently,” says Dr Epstein, who believes education is the way forward. “It’s tempting to say the solution is to stop hunting wildlife, but we need to try
and understand what’s motivating people to use and consume wildlife, make them aware there is a risk involved, and look at alternatives.” Our fear of the COVID-19 is growing by the day and it is important to control the hysteria and remain calm. For 80 percent of people, the symptoms are mild, but in the elderly and those in already poor health, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties and – in severe cases – organ failure. More than 20 vaccines are in development according to the WHO, but it will take a year or more of testing before a vaccine will be safely available. Our recovery and survival ultimately depends largely on how strong our immune system is, and the speed countries can respond to isolate or quarantine their citizens, have protection and ventilator equipment available for those in the front line and find a cure. For individuals, standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing, or any traveler in self-quarantine for 14 days who have been in high-risk destinations. Despite locking down towns, cities and entire countries, our mobile population unwittingly spread coronavirus to over a hundred thousand people in more than 100 countries. The epi-centre of the pandemic started in Wuhan, China and will move across the globe and countries will impose a cascade of restrictions in efforts to prevent their health systems from collapsing under the load of cases. Most governments are urging their citizens to avoid travel to a destination where COVID-19 diagnoses are increasing and for older adults with serious, chronic medical conditions to stay home. If you’re still planning to travel, it’s wise to: • Check your local government travel advisory. • Check your travel insurance. Travel insurers tend to exclude or cover known events such as pandemic and epidemic. • Pack your own small blanket, travel pillow, pack of tissues, a water bottle, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, vitamin supplements to optimize your immune system and the right mask (a N95 respirators mask recommended for healthcare professionals). • Wash or sanitize your hands after touching surfaces in public areas, especially airports, planes, trains and buses. • Stay connected to support people in your lives who are most vulnerable to anxiety and victims of discrimination. In times of crisis, it is important for people to support each other. In late February, the International Air Transport Association estimated the potential cost of the outbreak to the industry at $29.3 billion this year. IAG, Air France-KLM, Qantas, Lufthansa and EasyJet have all voiced concern. No one knows what the total damage of COVOD-19 will be to the $5.29 trillion global travel industry. Right now, the situation seems to be spiraling and no “bottom” is in sight. The tourism sector has to live up to its responsibility as an integral part of a wider society during times of crisis, and its cooperation is vital in stopping the spread of the virus and limiting its impact on people and communities. This response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment. Travelers are also responsible for their own well-being and for those around them in order to limit the threat of transmission, and they should follow the recommendations of the WHO and their own national health authorities. COVID-19 is another shocking wake-up call and it is going to be a big test for our world. It is a complex issue, but this world enforced pause may be what we need to find positive solutions and change our behavior to save our environment and ourselves.
Heritage & Sustainable Tourism from Anne Arrowsmith Managing Director
137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts
I’ve always been intrigued by people who think differently, by those who see opportunities where the rest of us can only see obstacles. While we focus on the obvious and most often the tried and tested formula, visionaries head off in the opposite direction in pursuit of possibilities. And so very often, change and innovations come from outside of the industry where the so called experts reside. A few examples of this include: Amazon
- originally an online book supplier. The business was not started by Bricks and Mortar book stores such as WH Smiths & Barnes & Noble
- did not come about because of innovation from the cab companies
- was not the brainchild of the automotive industry
& Closer to Home
- AirB&B was not conceived by the hotel or hospitality industry
This in a small and similar way is the story of the origins of 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts. A non- hotelier or restoration expert getting involved and thinking differently. Approximately 12 years ago a member of the Wongpalet family from Bangkok, like so many others, headed north to Chiang Mai to find a getaway holiday home, a place you could simply bring just your clothes and them lock up and leave. Somehow, instead, Khun Panida found herself trespassing through dense undergrowth to discover a falling down, falling apart Thai Teak homestead that while terrifying most, “SPOKE TO HER”. Numerous visits later, the deal was sealed and the journey began to authentically and sympathetically restore the house. It was during this phase of research that the history and heritage of the house began to emerge. Known to some as Ban Borneo, others Ban Dam and yet others as 137 Pillars House, Panida discovered the house dates back to the late 1880’s, was the headquarters of the Borneo Company, one of 5 prominent timber concessions that helped forge the most recent 100-year history and economic rise of Chiang Mai. Additionally, the house had been home to a number of quite remarkable adventures and individuals. History of the House. Allow me to take a few moments to retell a small part of the Borneo Companies History. As the name suggests, the origins can be traced back to that part of the world, but specifically Sarawak where in 1841 an English adventurer fortuitously both for him and the Sultan of Brunei, found himself in the right place at the right time and helped to supress an insurgency amongst the indigenous people. In appreciation of such heroics James Brooke was made the Raj of Sarawak and I believe was the only British subject to be “Royal” in his own right. The Borneo Company followed and came into existence in 1856. Originally it traded in minerals, (Sarawak was rich in this resource) but very soon expanded its interests and geography to include operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Java, India and Thailand.
As Oak was becoming scarce in Europe, the search was on and attention turned to the vast Teak Forests across Northern Thailand. The Borneo Company, a little akin to the Bill Heinecke of today, identified an opportunity and secured their interests by aligning with people with the right connections. In this instance a certain Louis Leon Owens; who along with his mother Anna, spent approximately 7 years in the Thai Royal Household where Anna was tutor to King Rama 4’s children; was appointed manager of the Borne Company in Thailand – in large part due to the fact he and King Rama 5 had spent time together at the Grand Palace and of course those connections counted. Another interesting aside is that a member of staff working for the Borneo Company in Singapore facilitated the introduction of Anna to the Royal Household, aiding her in acquiring her position. This rich history of adventurers, royal connections and remarkable characters (Louis Leon Owens, David Fleming McFie, William Bain) stirred the imagination and gave birth, or more accurately, rebirth to 137 Pillars House. Driven by passion rather than profit, the Wongphanlart family venture into hospitality began. The aim to preserve a heritage building whose better days seemed long lost, resulted in the catalyst for a Small LUXURY, Internationally recognized, award winning, boutique hotel. The Hotel Business While restoring the house, designing the suites and preserving the 100+ year old trees was a labour of love, costly and hard work, possibly the most challenging part was to build a brand and launch a Thai owned hotel, Internationally. For us, our brand narrative centred around: Size While the majority believe Big is Best, we believed that “good things come in Small Packages. We believed in a place where it is possible to know every Guest. Heritage Preserving the past and carrying remarkable values forward into the hotels’ DNA Authenticity Service Centred around kindness and being in-tune with the individual, versus ‘standards’ applied to all. Sustainability Operating with a keen commitment to our colleagues, community and environment. Marketing When crafting our USP’s, we had a distinct advantage of offering heritage experiences and accommodations simultaneously, setting us apart from our competition. We purposely chose to operate in the luxury end of the market and provide a certain elegance while most importantly ensuring an absence of arrogance. Our mantra being “Where Life Becomes Legendary” Our aim being to create an environment and narrative that our guests wished was their day to day experience. Narratives that revolve & evolve in an ever-growing connection between legendary luxury and sustainable living. We realized and understood that the definition of luxury had changed. Where once travellers in the deluxe segment were making choices on suite size and recognized brands, they now wanted:
Experiences Authenticity Personalization Discovery – Places before they became overdone and overrun And please allow me to sound an alarm here on behalf of CM’s heritage, culture and history. Please, please stop ignoring the very elements that make CM marketable to the rest of the World. Before it’s too late, abandon the policy propelling mass and crass tourism towards aspirational, interested and informed travellers The livelihood of CM’s citizens depends on a wise way forward. Back to positioning and Marketing 137 PH – we also identified the value around milestone events such as Weddings, Honeymoons, Anniversaries and multigenerational travel – Aspirational travel and adventures One last word on Heritage and History before closing with an outline of our sustainability Strategies. History is expansive as there are so many anecdotes that connect us as human beings wanting to live, if only for a few nights in a world that unites like minded people. In an era of big noise, we identified a desire to live slower, gentler lives where luxury and sustainability co-exist. Sustainability and 137 Pillars House. Our environmentally friendly initiatives include reducing waste volume. Separating, recycling And selling waste paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and aluminium. Almost all organic waste from the garden is composted or turned into biochar-charcoal that Is added to compost, making it richer and more nourishing for plants. For waste collection, reusable woven bags are used instead of plastic. With the exception of Front Office and hotel cars, water is presented in recycled glass bottles. Reusable mesh bags Are provided to all suppliers for fruit and vegetable delivery as plastic packaging is not Accepted. Paper straws have replaced plastic and are supplied on request. To-go food items are Presented in natural woven containers versus plastic, with wooden utensils An intelligent AC system automatically turns off the AC in suites when patio doors are opened Reducing wasteful electricity consumption. Guest lines are changed every 3rd day unless the Guest otherwise requests. Mosquito control by an international specialist sustainably eliminates/ limits mosquito Breeding areas without using chemicals, requiring substantially less frequent fogging And lastly, as part of our commitment to heritage, on a twice monthly basis myself and our Team clean and help maintain Wat Ket Museum which was founded by the last owner of 137 PH, namely Jack Baine.
137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts
Black Swans, Dodos & Phoenixesâ€¦ from Louis Thompson CEO
An ecological perspective of the regeneration of the travel industry? In an unexpected turn of events, a group of rogue Pangolins have succeeded in stopping the Olympic Games (I never honestly expected to write that sentence). A year ago the hospitality sector was on a roll: Dan Reed started a Forbes article in April with the following sentence ‘The travel and tourism sector grew more in 2018 than all other economic sectors but one, adding a record $8.8 trillion to the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product, as well as creating 319 million new jobs.’ Mankind was on the move, chemtrails streaked the sky and international tourism hotspots were complaining about over-tourism. A mere twelve months later, across the entire planet, planes, ships, restaurant, theatres, cinemas and hotels have been forcibly closed and more than a half of the world’s population is in lockdown. Despite the globalization of trade, the unprecedented number of international tourist arrivals and the vast sums of capital invested into the travel and tourism industry; a microscopic, invisible virus (about a billionth of a meter in diameter) has bought the economy of the entire planet to an unprecedented halt. Skies have cleared, insects have returned to the fields, birdsong rings in the air and animals have come out of the forests to roam the streets. In one sense it sounds like something out of a Disney cartoon, but on further inspection it could be the end of a zombie movie. The truth is that the humble pangolin has taught mankind a valuable lesson: we are, despite our technical prowess and philosophical pretensions, a part of our global eco-system, as vulnerable and fragile as all those species that have come before us; subject to the same inviolable rules as the dinosaur and the dodo.
Black Swans The international tourism sector is young and has had a relatively smooth growth trajectory from the post war era, up to this point. It has not yet, been subjected to any truly significant litmus test to evaluate its resilience. There have been terrorist attacks, regional wars, natural disasters and recessions; but this is the first time in 100 years that a global crisis has provoked a serious impediment to its continued expansion. We have, in fact, been extremely lucky, so far. Our politicians and business leaders would have us believe that the current epidemic is a black swan event, an unforeseeable misfortune for which they were entirely unprepared - but can we honestly claim that is the case?
Figure 1 Historic Pandemic Death Tolls
As we can see in the chart above infectious diseases have accompanied mankind throughout its’ history – plagues, fevers and flus have annihilated entire ethnicities. These illnesses are so ingrained in our collective psyche, we still refer to them in children’s songs and playground games. Yet we seem to have ignored any, and all possibility, that a biological force could upset our economic apple cart. As a society we can build a multi-billion-dollar aircraft carrier, but we cannot provide facemasks for the sailors who operate it. Clearly, the time has come to seriously review our priorities. In ecology, a disturbance is a temporary change in environmental conditions that causes a pronounced change in an ecosystem. These disturbances often act quickly and with great effect, to alter the physical structure or arrangement of biotic and abiotic elements. The outcome of these events depends on preexisting conditions: forest fires, for example, occur more often in areas with a higher incidence of lightning and an accumulation of flammable biomass. In truth, our current crisis bears all the hallmarks of a natural disaster and if we consider the outbreak as a natural, cyclical disturbance – much like a major storm or flash flood; we may learn how natural systems adapt to these events to see if we can draw any pertinent conclusion about what may transpire in the hospitality sector over the coming years and how we can build resilience in the sector to protect ourselves from these events in the future.
Dodos: Often, when ecological disturbances occur naturally, they provide conditions that favor the success of different species over pre-disturbance organisms: With the passage of time, shifts in dominance may occur with ephemeral herbaceous life-forms progressively becoming over topped by taller perennials herbs, shrubs and trees. In the travel and tourism sector it is becoming increasingly clear that a similar pattern will unfold: some sectors will bear the brunt of the effects of Covid 19 and may never entirely recover their former positions within the tourism hierarchy; while other nascent sectors may succeed in expanding their influence within the landscape. However before making any kind of effort to evaluate which ‘hospitality species’ may gain dominance in the years ahead, and which may fall by the wayside; we must first recognize that even prior to the current chaos, the sector was in desperate need of a sustainable revamp. Rather than considering how we can return to the status quo, we may want to consider this as an opportunity to address some of the endemic challenges that have plagued the industry for decades, such as over-tourism, environmental destruction, plastic pollution, exploitation, wildlife abuse, and corruption.
In many ways, this is a unique chance to introduce global tourism standards and best practices to protect destinations, workers, communities and wildlife for decades to come. Rather than funding disaster capitalists to buy up distressed assets at a dime on the dollar at the expense of furloughed workers; the government subsidies need to be tailored to fuel a regenerative tourism revolution. To achieve this objective, the distribution of bailout funds should be associated with comprehensive sustainability criteria addressing destination management, carbon emissions, green building standards, waste management, and sustainable operating procedures, accompanied by a clearly defined protocol for long term accountability. We are to all intents and purposes, at a cross roads: on the one hand we can decide to finance redundant, exploitative, extractive business models that have repeatedly flouted environmental regulations and workers’ rights(for example funding a new flotilla of ‘luxury’ cruise ships to plough up our oceans, despite their appalling health and safety records); or we can take a leap of faith and envisage a new tourism sector based on circular economic models, renewable energy, regenerative development, social inclusion and dignified employment. Just as agro-forestry technicians can shape the productivity of an evolving forest eco-system by removing invasive plants, protecting specific areas and introducing critical keystone species for the long-term ecological stability of the biotic community, we can curate the development of our economy to tackle some of the most important challenges of our era by integrating travel and tourism into a new green deal framework that addresses climate change, biodiversity loss and inequality as a core priority.
Phoenixes “Upon disaster depends good fortune; within good fortune hides disaster.” Lao Tzu The psychological and economic impacts of the Coronavirus and subsequent lockdown will be farreaching: people will obviously re-evaluate their notions of personal space, work, family and hygiene; but they will also reconsider food security, travel, wellbeing and their relationship with nature. People will be missed, scars will remain, and habits will change. A new form of travel will arise from these ashes: a more authentic, respectful travel experience that was already gaining traction with younger travellers, will blossom, and new pioneer companies will meet that demand. In all probability it may be simpler, slower and less glamorous. International buffets, cultural ‘shows’, and air-conditioned cruise cabins may not survive the transition; but would we really miss them? The turmoil will end, the dust will settle, but things will never be the same again. Even if the re-opening of the economy is executed efficiently, a second wave of infection is avoided; and our leaders successfully navigate the ensuing recession; a new era lies ahead. A veil has been lifted, that has revealed a series of devastating truths about the society we have created: our treatment of older people and their role in our society, our perception of frontline workers and their actual value in times of need and how we invest the vast financial resources that have been a
Thanks for sharing this article, John & Cynthia! It all started in Ubud, Bali. Our loyal readers know, of course, that we have frequently reported on John Hardyâ€™s amazing work. GreenSchool has in the meantime expanded to New Zealand South Africa Mexico
The Reluctant Kiwi Apr 15, 2020
16 April 2020 Written by Chris Edwards, CEO Green School New Zealand
Sane New World? After the crash of 2008 there were many articles, scholarly and sensational, telling us the world would never be the same again. Lessons had to be learnt. Banks reigned in. There would be a new beginning where the greed of the few could never damage and even destroy the lives of the many. This is it, people said. Just you wait. It’s a new dawn. Nothing changed. And now we have another wake up call: a pandemic that is being described both in apocalyptic terms with the angry earth personified as of old (“mother nature’s final warning”, “Gaia’s revenge” etc), and also as the most mishandled and grossly exaggerated crisis in history. Wherever one is on the spectrum, loved ones are being lost around the world and livelihoods have taken a mighty battering. There is talk again of “everything” being about to change. Just like 2008. Of course “everything” should not change: but education absolutely should. I suspect it won’t. Too much is already invested in the whole outmoded shebang, and in some countries implementing the ideas below (all have been around for some time) would be less like turning an oil tanker around than pinning a medal on a shadow. But I’ve always liked Atticus Finch’s definition of courage in Harper Lee’s, To Kill a Mockingbird: “It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” And maybe, just maybe, we can see it through. Here goes. The word “kindergarten” originated in the 1840s from the ideologies of German educator Friedrich Froebel and literally translates to “children garden”. The clue, as they say, is in the name. Rousseau would have approved. Since then, our “conquest of nature” narrative has swept almost everything before it, and despite a few worthy subplots emerging now and then, the perverse outcome is of humans serving their cities, screens and, where wealth allows, their immediate and frothy gratification. We are the same species that dwelt in caves on on the dangerous plains just a few thousands years ago, and over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has actually decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc (that’s a whole tennis ball gone), and maybe that explains why so many of our education systems continue to pour water over rocks. The research is clear and has been for a long time. Our speck of time on this beautiful, fragile planet is best served by an education (and way of living) which not only respects the earth’s finite resources but also acknowledges how our disownment of and dislocation from nature has damaged us. You see, I would argue that many children – even those that live in mansions – are homeless. A thousand sources could be shared now but here is a single sentence from Tonia Gray Associate
Professor at the Centre for Educational Research, Western Sydney University (she provides all the links to evidence of course in her original): “Contact with nature can enhance creativity, bolster mood, lower stress, improve mental acuity, well-being and productivity, cultivate social connectedness, and promote physical activity. It also has myriad educational benefits for teaching and learning.” We knew all this long ago, so at Green School we talk about “regeneration”, acknowledging our debt to the past. We are outdoors whenever we can be, growing, tending, collecting, listening. Only English, Maths and the Maori language are taught discretely (and outdoors whenever possible): other “subjects” exist purposefully and interwoven inside themed, ten week learning journeys that have real world application and encompass scientific method, the numinous and all stations in between. Whereas I had to rote learn all the names of England’s kings and queens in chronological sequence (honestly, it’s not even a great pub trick), we would ask that all our learners – from around the globe – understand the carbon cycle. Oh, and there are no tests. So, let us then acknowledge that the stress-drenched, antediluvian examination systems that wreak havoc with so many of our young, their teachers and schools, should be consigned to history. This does not mean jettisoning diligence, application, mastery or even true scholarship as reactionaries would have it. Nor does it mean reading, writing and maths become nice to haves. (Though some believe that time is coming and closer than we think). But it does mean abandoning the lockstep classroom and using emerging passions and interests as portals to exploration. That way, the learning is more likely to be infused with joy and will make the journey as significant as the vapid and fictional endpoints touted by so many systems. If you walked into a shoe shop with size eight feet and discovered the shoe shop only sold size five shoes, you’d be more than disappointed. But many of our education systems only sell size five. Good for you if you happen to fit this leaky old slipper, and tough luck if you don’t. There should be no Cinderella children lauding it over their ugly sisters. All children have gifts: let us create environments that allow those gifts to emerge and flourish. How interesting that in my home county, the UK, there are no school examinations this year because of lockdown. People who know the pupils best – their teachers – are producing transcripts without examination scores (though, admittedly, they still have “predicted grades”). How wonderful if in future we took this process further and produced holistic transcripts for all young learners, telling the story of passions in and out the classroom, of unique journeys taken, of accomplishments in multiple and cross-disciplinary areas, not just the traditional discrete subjects. Yes, it would require a radical change at the receiving Tertiary institutions (assuming for the moment they will continue in current form), but Bali’s Green School Diploma has already won over some of the most distinguished universities, and Green School New Zealand will follow. And consider the work of the Mastery Transcript Consortium. Our armies are gathering.
We should put at the heart of our learning, the United Nations Sustainability Goals.
A report from HoteliersGuildâ€™s Editor-at-large Jaclyn Yost and Creative Director Meagan McRoberts who visited our member hotelier Nir Peretz in Ubud, Bali
Author: Meagan McRoberts, Creative Director at ecomadic & Freelance Writer. Passionate about sustainability and creating content that can inspire change.
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