Banyan Tree marks Earth Day with 25th anniversary commemorative book launch

Banyan Tree Holdings is celebrating Earth Day 2020 with the launch of a commemorative book traversing the emotional architecture underpinning the world-leading independent, multi-branded hospitality group’s 25-year sustainability journey.

Its story is one of transformation: a promise that became a commitment, turning an idea into an ideal and impacting many lives made better by the organisation’s core philosophy: Embracing the Environment, Empowering People.

Named after one of the most venerated trees in Asia, banyan trees can live for centuries, standing firmly, resilient against time and tide, a symbol of constancy in an ever-changing world. Its vast canopy provides shelter for weary travellers whilst its roots are deeply entrenched in its foundation, holding true to meaningful heritage with the memories of time gone by.

The book, titled Rooted in Sustainability, highlights not only the journey of Banyan Tree as a company, but the realisation of a concept, which at first is unbeknown to its founders, Executive Chairman Ho Kwon Ping, Senior Vice President Claire Chiang and Senior Vice President Ho Kwon Cjan. Their single-minded ideal became intertwined with their vision for the brand, through an organic process of developing their own values and beliefs: tourism, as a powerful force for driving positive change in this world.

This vision led Banyan Tree’s founders to remediate an abandoned toxic tin mine in Thailand, turning it into Asia’s first integrated resort – Laguna Phuket with a thriving community and home to their flagship property, Banyan Tree Phuket.

Founded in 1994 on the core concept of sustainability, Banyan Tree Holdings seeks to create long-term value for all stakeholders and destinations across its network of properties, products and brands, through a purpose-driven mission. It sowed the seeds for the brand to flourish in new and exciting locations globally. Innovative design and thoughtful construction processes are in harmony with nature and infused with local culture for a deep sense of place, wherever it is planted.

As an industry leader championing sustainability, Banyan Tree unveils through the book some of the humble faces that make up the group’s family and showcases heartwarming accounts on cultural heritage and biodiversity protection, women empowerment and uplifting artisans’ livelihoods.

During the period of growth, it was the company’s key stakeholders – its associate workforce – who embrace stewardship of the core values that now permeate throughout the organisation. As a responsible business, Banyan Tree has perpetuated a platform for possibilities – from advancing talent development and management excellence through its Banyan Tree Management Academy, to empowering local capacity, creating programmes and opening facilities that provide potential pathways out of poverty for disadvantaged sectors of society.

Most journeys that lead to great rewards come fraught with hardship. Banyan Tree details some of its toughest challenges encountered along its path. Walking the talk, its leaders with the dedicated stakeholders including its 11,000 associates across 24 countries have stood side by side, united by diversity, and resilient against the flux of time.

Recognised for its commitment to environmental protection and community development through its Banyan Tree Global Foundation, the group’s efforts is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Banyan Tree continues to drive what we consider as emotional responses and connections; we strive to deliver exceptional experiences anchored by strong narratives which touch the hearts. One effort at a time, at every destination, with every community by walking the talk in stewarding responsible development is the central message,” Claire Chiang, co-founder and SVP of Banyan Tree Holdings and Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“This book documents part of a wondrous 25-year journey that I think all Banyan Tree associates and stakeholders should be proud of. I thank each and every one of them.”

Looking ahead, Banyan Tree addresses the growing need for resilient and sustainable communities, in the face of unprecedented global change caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In line with its service culture of “I Am With You”, the company emphasises the importance of empathy and strengthening partnerships. It is about working together to achieve greater impact and creating value towards global goals, in good and bad times – especially amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Through this biography, Rooted in Sustainability, Banyan Tree provides a sustainability roadmap, which other businesses wishing to expand their scope of responsibility may consider adopting. No journey will be the same, but together we can make a difference – doing well, whilst continually doing greater good for the planet, the people and the business.

Banyan Tree operates three resorts in Maldives: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru in North Male Atoll, and Angsana Velavaru in Dhaalu atoll.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru opened its door in 1995 and is the first international chain resort in the Maldives. With just 48 pool villas dotting around the island, privacy and relaxation can easily be attained. The resort has a restaurant, bar, PADI Gold Palm five-star resort dive centre and a Banyan Tree Spa. It is also home to the Banyan Tree Maldives Marine Lab, the first of its kind to be funded and built on a private resort, where guests can learn about marine conservation and partake in the many sustainability activities on offer including coral planting, reef cleaning and daily stingray feeding sessions.

Angsana Ihuru is surrounded by one of the most vibrant and well preserved coral house reefs in the Maldives. The resort has 45 villas, a restaurant and a bar, a PADI Gold Palm five-star resort dive centre and an Angsana Spa.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and Angsana Ihuru are located in North Male Atoll, just 25 minutes away by speedboat from the airport. The two resorts are just five minutes by boat away from each other.

Velavaru or ‘Turtle Island’ is located in the pristine Dhaalu atoll, and accessible by a 40-minute seaplane flight from the main Velana International Airport. This 113-villa resort offers 79 island villas and 34 InOcean Villas, revealing spectacular views and direct access to the Indian Ocean.

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