Culture & Heritage

The Challenge

People travel more frequently and further afield than ever before. Our cities are increasingly filled with diverse cultures, drawn together from all over the planet, pursing dreams of a new or better life. The age of internet and technology has brought the international community closer together, and cultural-fusion influences everything from food, music, fashion, interior décor, architecture, film, television and even the way we speak and communicate amongst ourselves.

Whilst there are many significant advantages to this, it can be easy to overlook our cultural identities and long-serving traditions. For many, experiencing different cultures and unique heritages is a large part of why we travel in the first place. There are also many whose livelihoods still depend on artisanal craft and trade, using ancient techniques passed down through the generations.

The dependence on natural heritage by tourism creates the need for those working in the industry to act as stewards, with a responsibility to safeguard and preserve traditions, in addition to supporting the resilience of communities being impacted.

Our Approach

Supporting long term societal prosperity is central to Banyan Tree’s ability to create value for communities. Protecting and promoting cultural heritage is an important part of Banyan Tree’s ethos of creating a Sense of Place at each of its properties. Guests and associates are encouraged to participate and celebrate local culture. Banyan Tree’s three wellness and retail segments embody sustainability as a core pillar in their business strategies to uphold cultural heritage where ever we operate.

This is achieved by empowering local communities through job creation, education, supporting artisanal cooperatives, community impact initiatives, humanitarian relief and connecting travelers to local culture and heritage.

These are quintessential extensions of Banyan Tree – inculcating wellness and reinterpreting heritage textiles into products for a sustainable lifestyle:

Our Goals

Preserve local culture through activity and event participation. Our efforts are dynamic across the group, with context specific initiatives targeting issues identified by host communities to empower and develop long term sustainability and resilience.

We look to maximise traditons and the number of artisans supported to show a sense of place and showcase local tradtions through guest experience and active participation.

Each property should organise one CSR activity to showcase their local culture.

COVID-19: The ongoing global pandemic presented an overwhelming number of opportunities to support, and we have taken care to avoid a knee-jerk reaction whereby our efforts may be misplaced and lack impact. Support was provided to the Government of the Maldives through the donation of a nucleic-acid extractor to support national COVID-19 testing. There are many hidden issues associated with COVID-19, such as mental health, water access and scarcity, increased waste production and disposal, domestic violence against women in lockdowns, and access to education. We shall identify partnership and opportunities where our efforts will be most impactful.

Tsunami Relief: Continued relief for the Central Sulawesi tsunami and earthquake in partnership with IBU foundation completed Phase 2, with the delivery of 15 boats for fishermen, tools for repairs, fish production and market tools for a women’s livelihood group, supported by socialisation and training workshops.