25 Things To Know About Banyan Tree
A long time ago, back in the distant mists of history (it was actually 2009), people trusted Facebook enough to offer up a trove of personal information to the platform by taking part in a fun and frivolous list-making exercise called “25 Things About Me”. Those days are pretty much gone, but in the bygone spirit of a fear-free Internet, here’s our reboot of this vintage meme. Consider this our way of wishing Banyan Tree a Happy 25th Birthday.
1/25First Banyan Tree opening in 1994
The first Banyan Tree resort opened in Phuket in 1994, on the site of an abandoned tin mine that was once highly polluted. The company spent years rehabilitating this piece of land, and the experience made environmental sustainability an integral part of its ethos.
2/25Locations in eco-sensitive, protected areas
These days, many Banyan Tree resorts are located in eco-sensitive and protected areas. For instance: Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico, Banyan Tree Seychelles, and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in the Maldives are near coral reefs and turtle nesting grounds.
3/25Dedication to environmental conservation
This proximity to delicate ecosystems means the company has grown even more dedicated to environmental conservation. For starters, each Banyan Tree property organises four events a year to remediate and cleanse its natural surroundings.
4/25First resort-based marine lab launched in 2004
In 2004, Banyan Tree launched the first resort-based marine lab in the Maldives, which hosts visiting experts and helps to raise awareness of the importance of marine conservation. A conservation lab in Bintan, to protect biodiversity, followed in 2007.
5/25Annual monitoring of coral reef sites, shark populations and raising awareness on turtles
More recently, in 2018, the company conducted an annual monitoring of 18 coral reef sites and shark populations in the Maldives and three reef sites in Bintan. Seven Banyan Tree properties organised turtle awareness talks and hatchling releases.
6/25Environmentally-friendly Banyan Tree Holdings subsidiaries
Besides the flagship Banyan Tree luxury resort brand, other brands and subsidiaries under Banyan Tree Holdings also adhere to the green ethos. For instance, Laguna Golf Lâng Cô is an edible course complete with padi fields, farmers and buffalos.
7/25Less use of plastic across group's hotels
To mark Earth Day in 2018, Banyan Tree pledged to reduce the use of plastic across the group’s hotels. This resulted in the elimination of 4.2 million single-use plastic items—a 26 per cent reduction in a year.
(Related: Millennials Are Our Force Of Change, Says Banyan Tree's Claire Chiang)
8/25Out with plastic, in with paper, steel and bamboo straws
These single-use items included the modern symbol of irresponsible living: the plastic straw. 1.3 million plastic straws were replaced with paper, steel and bamboo straws as a part of this initiative.
9/25Sustainable amenities currently in development
This year, retail arm Banyan Tree Gallery is developing sustainable alternatives for amenities such as cotton buds, combs and toothbrushes.
10/25Botanical body and aromatherapy products
Thanks to an 18-month period of research and development, Banyan Tree‘s reformulated body and aromatherapy products are now made of 95 per cent natural botanical ingredients which are sustainably sourced.
11/25More tree-planting by end of 2019
To celebrate its 25th Anniversary and mark World Environment Day, Banyan Tree aims to plant more than 25,000 trees by the end of 2019, to help offset carbon emissions.
12/25Greening Communities initiative
In fact, planting trees has long been a part of its Greening Communities initiative. By the end of this year, the group will have planted over half a million trees since this initiative began in 2007.
13/25Commemorative book set for release in September
In September, Banyan Tree will launch a commemorative book detailing its sustainability efforts throughout its history.
14/25Empowering communities through mentorship, internship programmes
Empowering communities is also a key strand of the company’s sustainability efforts. One of the group’s longstanding initiatives is Seedlings, which nurtures at-risk youths by providing them mentorship and internships.
15/25Over US$100,000 donated to improve lives of students at 25 schools around the world
This year’s anniversary celebrations will see the Banyan Tree Global Foundation supporting 4,000 children at 25 schools around the world by committing more than US$100,000 towards improving students’ learning environments and school infrastructure.
16/2525,000 volunteer hours to be put into sustainability efforts
Another anniversary commemoration: Banyan Tree employees will put a total of 25,000 volunteer hours into group-wide sustainability activities, such as environmental clean-ups.
17/25Not employees but associates
The Banyan Tree Holdings has a particular term for its employees — associates. The group has 11,000 associates worldwide.
(Related: Why Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou Is A Must-Visit For Nature Lovers)
18/25Special recognition events for associates as part of the 25th anniversary
These associates are the stars of the 25th anniversary celebrations. In September, special recognition events for them will be a key part of the Banyan Tree gala festivities.
19/25Digital ‘family scrapbook’ started in January
In January this year, Banyan Tree launched a Memory Project — a digital ‘family scrapbook’ that institutionalises the company’s history and milestones.
20/25Travellers who practise sustainability enjoy better room rates
Guests at Banyan Tree properties will also be able to celebrate this milestone anniversary, of course. The 25th Anniversary “Exceptional Experiences” offer is designed for travellers who champion sustainable development, and it includes 25 per cent savings on rooms (best available rate). Find out more here.
21/2525th Anniversary cocktail: The Botanical
All guests booking the anniversary offer will be treated to a special 25th-anniversary cocktail. Called The Botanical, it was created by Banyan Tree Phuket bartender Khun Kornchaphat Pichayadechapaisarn. His concoction won him the groupwide 25th Anniversary Cocktail Contest.
22/25Complimentary activities for guests
The highlight of the anniversary offer is a complimentary Exceptional Experience. Guests can choose an experience from one of three categories: activities that help you re-centre yourself; ones that help you re-connect with loved ones; and ones that immerse you in local cultures and communities.
(Related: Banyan Tree's Ho Kwon Ping On The AirAsia Phenomenon And Rainbow Tourism)
23/25New wellness-themed menus at 31 hotels
Eco-foodies take note: to mark its anniversary, Banyan Tree has launched a collection of handcrafted and locally-sourced Wellness Degustation Set Menus at 31 of its hotels.
24/25First resort in Singapore
Banyan Tree’s first Singapore resort is slated to open in Mandai in 2023. Before this opportunity came along, the company had explored a number of possible Singapore projects, but did not go ahead with them “because they just didn’t seem to epitomise what a Banyan Tree homecoming should be”, executive chairman Ho Kwon Ping tells us.
(Related: Banyan Tree Has Their Eye On The World)
25/25Treat yourself at Banyan Tree Spa at Marina Bay Sands
Yes, we know it’s still a while to 2023. In the meantime, you can check out the Banyan Tree Spa at Marina Bay Sands, which remains, for now, the only way fans of the brand in Singapore can get a taste of its flair for creating tranquil, and earth-friendly, sanctuaries.
- Images Banyan Tree