Every year on June 5 for World Environment Day, the world rallies together to celebrate a common denominator among all living things – Earth. Shangri-La hotels and resorts around the world celebrate Earth everyday with Sanctuary projects, which help preserve, conserve and protect nature and its inhabitants. In line with Sanctuary, many resorts have a Shangri-La Eco Centre where visitors can learn about surrounding marine life or the local flora and fauna through information, talks and activities. On World Environment Day, Shangri-La is proud to recognize the eco centers that help protect our unique environments and the animals and vegetation that live in them.
Recently, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa opened its new Eco Centre dedicated to helping guests learn about the ecosystem of Oman. The center has information that guests can dive into and hosts a daily Turtle Talk presented by Mohammad, the resort’s resident Turtle Ranger.
“The objective of the Eco Centre is to encourage education about the conservation of the natural environment that surrounds us here in Muscat and to raise awareness of the extensive work that Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa undertakes in order to protect the endangered species,” said Dirk Salzsieder, the resort’s resident manager and head of the CSR committee. “We hope this area will provide a fun and exciting environment for both children and adults alike to learn more about Muscat’s environment.”
The group’s newest resort, Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa, hosts an on-site eco center where guests can learn about Sri Lanka’s natural environment. The key programs focus on the development of elephant conservation programs in and around Hambantota and address the human-elephant conflict and habitat loss.
In Kota Kinabalu, both Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa and Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa recognize their local habitats in their eco centers. In partnership with the Sabah State Wildlife Department, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa’s eco center focuses on protecting a 64-acre ecological area to rehabilitate fauna indigenous to Sabah including the sambar deer, mouse deer, bear cat and western tarsier. Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is home to the Clownfish Discovery Centre that features a reef tank, breeding tank and rearing tanks for fish. Popular among guests and local children alike, the center hopes to teach visitors about the clownfish, marine biodiversity and threats in the tropical waters.
Also in Malaysia, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, Penang and Golden Sands Resort, Penang share an on-site Shangri-La Eco Centre where visitors can learn about the turtle species in Malaysia and the resorts’ ongoing conservation efforts.
In the Philippines, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa focuses on both terrestrial and marine conservation activities. This Shangri-La Eco Centre provides information about the island’s rich biodiversity and sells crafts from the Ati tribe, an indigenous local group. All proceeds of the craft sales are donated to the Ati community.
The resort also offers regular activities that educate guests about flying foxes, an important part of the Boracay ecosystem. To increase awareness of the flying foxes, the resort hosts bi-weekly Nature Trail Tours where guests can walk to a lookout point to view the flyout after sunset, an annual flying fox count in partnership with Friends of the Flying Foxes, and children can take home their own plush flying fox in the form of the resort’s mascot, Nikki.
Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Yanuca Island has a Marine Education Centre that is open to guests and local students who are interested in learning about marine conservation. The center organizes conservation activities such as fish house building and coral planting, which helps preserve and strengthen the fragile coral reef ecosystem.
Located on the unique Addu Atoll, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives’ eco center offers nature walks, educational talks, and coral and fish house building activities. The center also conducts regular surveys to monitor the marine species population in Addu Atoll.
The resort also implemented the Reef Care project, which offers guest activities to engage with the wildlife, particularly at Manta Point around Addu Atoll. Manta Point is a gathering spot for Mantas during the north-east monsoon season and is considered the ‘cleaning station’ for the Mantas. Here, resort guides take guests to watch the Manta rays circle gracefully around Addu Atoll, a life changing experience.
In partnership with Amores Charities Inc. and Scotty’s Action Sports Network, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu maintains a marine sanctuary on six hectares of Philippine beachfront. The sanctuary implemented a conservation program for over 160 species of fish, clams and coral. One main project the sanctuary completed was the creation of an artificial reef to help house the marine life. The resort also offers snorkeling tours for guests to promote marine environment conservation.
Lastly, Shangri-La’s Sanya Resort & Spa, Hainan is home to an Eco Zone featuring information on both endangered and extinct species native to Hainan Island, especially the gibbon, which is known as the smartest species of ape. The center hopes to create awareness of the threats and dangers that the dwindling species faces. The center also hosts Planet Crafts, a recycled art project that encourages guests to recycle waste to create beautiful pieces of art.
Thank you to all of our colleagues and the Shangri-La Eco Centres for helping make our world a better place!