On Jan. 5, Banyan Tree Group that owns and operates resorts
throughout the regions desvasted by the recent tsunami devastated
areas, confirmed its desire to aid efforts towards recovery and
relief in Indonesia, Maldives, Phuket and Sri Lanka.
Acting as a separate channel, the Asian Tsunami Recovery Fund
offers staff, guests, business partners and charitable contributors
the ability to donate directly to communities in Indonesia,
Maldives, Phuket and Sri Lanka. The Fund will be overseen by Banyan
Tree’s managerial group that will then distribute money to those in
need via local community organizations. The long-term plan of the
fund is to provide “mid- to long-term” financial support for people
in areas most affected by the recent Tsunami disaster.
“The communities where we have lived and worked for many years
are grappling with the current reality,” observed Ho Kwon Ping,
chairman of the Banyan Tree Group. “Relief funds are pouring in and
international agencies are doing great work in providing for the
most immediate needs. However, when the aid agencies finish their
work and move on, there will be a whole range of new challenges for
Mr. Ho that as a business that has a significant presence in the
affected areas and having been fortunate enough to emerge from this
disaster almost unscathed, he sees his company as being well placed
to help the communities build their lives back.
“We now have a responsibility one to help those who strive to
regain normalcy after such a tragedy,” Mr. Ho added.
In promotion of the fund, Banyan Tree Group staff members are
making voluntary contributions of 5 percent of their January
salary. The Green Imperative Fund (GIF) used as Banyan Tree’s
continuing environmental conservation and community advancement
efforts will temporarily redirect contributions, from January to
March 2005, to the Asian Tsunami Recovery Fund. Banyan Tree has
also pledged to match both employee and GIF donation dollar for
dollar. Other donation efforts consist of seeking contributions
from business, trade and media partners and an active appeal to the
public and resort guests.
Another notable company committed to bringing relief to nations
of tsunami disaster includes Qantas Airlines.
While continuing to run usual scheduled service, Qantas
organized a 767 flight bringing stranded travelers from Phuket to
Australia and operated similar relief flights to both Male in
Maldives and Colombo in Sri Lanka transporting volunteer physicians
and medical supplies free of charge.
Qantas also announced its intention to donate $1 million to
UNICEF, CARE Australia, Oxfam and World Vision to aid in relief
programs for the recent tragedy.
Geoff Dixon, the Chief Executive Officer of Qantas Airways, said
Qantas had been in close contact with the Australian Government
since the disaster occurred to offer assistance, and the airline
remained in constant contact to provide whatever capacity and help
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and stand
ready to provide any additional assistance required,” Mr. Dixon
Qantas Airways in 2004 celebrated 50 years of continuous flying
between North America and Australia with more nonstop flights to
Australia and New Zealand than any other carrier and provides
connections from Los Angeles to Indonesia, India and South Africa
Arrangements are under way to receive donations in the form of
credit card payments online.
[Editor's note: Travel Guard International and Travel Weekly
have teamed up to provide up-to-the-minute news regarding tsunami
relief efforts being provided by companies specific to the travel
industry at www.travelcompaniescare.org.]