Preferred Hotels & Resorts announces winners of eighth GIFTTS initiative

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Preferred Hotels & Resorts has announced the winners of its 2016 GIFTTS (Great Initiatives for Today’s [Tomorrow’s] Society) programme: Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Pebble Beach Resorts, The Leela Palace Bengaluru, Casa Dorada Los Cabos, NJV Athens Plaza and Royal Lancaster London.

The brand received 83 hotel submissions, the most-ever nominations for its annual GIFTTS Pineapple Awards, which recognises member hotels that take the meaning of genuine hospitality beyond their front doors by showcasing an outstanding commitment to philanthropy, sustainability, education and community.

“As travel has become more accessible, it has become an essential, significant priority for hoteliers to incorporate initiatives that minimise environmental impact, support their local community, and preserve these destinations for future generations,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, president & CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

“We are honoured to recognise these socially responsible member hotels for exemplifying the ways that the hospitality industry can make a true impact, both inside and beyond their property walls.”

Below are highlights from the winning programmes:

Overall Corporate Entity Winner – Rosen Hotels & Resorts (Florida, USA)

Harris Rosen, President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, considers corporate social responsibility a key pillar to his organisation. Recent efforts include the Tangelo Park Pilot (TPP) programme, which offers pre-school opportunities at no cost to local residents, parenting classes and vocational or technical opportunities for parents with children, and full tuition, room, board and living expenses for every Tangelo Park high school graduate who is accepted by a vocational school, community college or public university in the state of Florida. This project has been replicated for the community of Paramore with the added benefit of covering the costs of teachers’ salaries. Rosen Hotels & Resorts has also contributed $10 million to the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, and continues to support more than 50 charities, providing an estimated 3000 charitable hours in 2016 alone.

Overall Hotel Winner – Pebble Beach Resorts (Pebble Beach, California)

Extending from its staff and guests to its local community, Pebble Beach Resorts has a longstanding tradition of implementing impactful philanthropy and sustainability programmes, donating $130 million in grants to non-profit organisations since 1947. In 2016 alone, the organisation donated more than $10 million to local organisations such as the Boys & Girls Club and United Way, and its internal “outreach team” of associate volunteers dedicated more than 1250 hours of service on projects such as restoring facilities, planting vegetable gardens at local schools, and clothing and food drives. Additionally, the company’s “green team,” which focuses on initiatives to keep the resort environmentally focused, implemented a Renewable Energy Solar System project that is designed to offset 99% of the resort’s annual electrical use, providing a 25-year carbon footprint reduction equivalent to planting 59,000 trees.

Philanthropy Winner – Royal Lancaster London (London, England)

“We always care” is the motto driving the philanthropic efforts of The Royal Lancaster London and the inspiration behind its annual pledge to do one hour of charitable work for every £10 raised. In 2016, the hotel’s executive chef participated in a 10-day trek to provide sustainable energy to a remote Peruvian school, raising £11,500 in the process, and the hotel raised £47000 through its annual ball, with proceeds benefiting The Clink Charity – a prisoner and young offender rehabilitation programme – and £14,000 for five charities as part of its Community Consortium. These include COSMIC (Children of St. Mary’s Intensive Care), Sleep Smart, Vital Regeneration, EAVES, and West London Day Centre.

Sustainability Winner – Casa Dorada Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Emphasising the importance of environmental protection and eco-friendly practices, Casa Dorada Los Cabos has implemented a number of sustainability programmes and initiatives throughout the resort to conserve resources and preserve the local habitat of Cabo San Lucas. The property implemented solar panels to heat their swimming pools, actively participate in monthly beach cleanups and has retrieved 40% of organic waste. Through its Turtle Sanctuary, one of the property’s ‘Casa Verde’ programmes, Casa Dorada has also rescued 635 nests and 61,477 baby turtles to date from poachers through its Turtle Sanctuary.

Education Winner – The Leela Palace Bengaluru (Bengaluru, India)

Supporting its ongoing commitment to providing education opportunities for the economically underprivileged, The Leela Palace Bengaluru has sponsored a government-run school for the past 15 years, offering meals, school books, bags, uniforms, education, and overall maintenance and directly impacting more than 1000 students each year. Beyond the classroom, in 2016, the hotel trained five disabled children and offered them employment at the hotel. The Leela Palace Bengaluru is also a proud supporter of the Cuddles Foundation, which provides nutrition for children fighting cancer.

Community Service Winner – NJV Athens Plaza (Athens, Greece)

Dedicating time to hands-on community service initiatives, NJV Athens Plaza participates in a myriad of activities that impact the underprivileged and underserved populations in Athens, such as SOS Children’s Villages, which helps children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose families are unable to care for them. Last year, the property adopted three local families, provided wheelchairs for the disabled, participated in the social soup kitchen for the homeless, prepared hamburgers for children’s institutions within Athens to support the Boroume (a non-profit organisation that fights food waste by organising the distribution of surplus food for charity in Greece), on International Day of Volunteering, hosted two blood drives, collected clothing and food for NGOs, and distributed 3750 meals. The hotel also hosts free seminars for students looking to pursue careers in tourism.

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