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‘Hotels Joining Hands’ during COVID-19

The travel industry has been devastated by COVID-19 with both international and local travel having come to a standstill in many places around the world as people deal with the direct and indirect problems caused by this pandemic. Most people have now accepted that the path to recovery will be long and testing and the future seems uncertain and bleak for many. We have closely followed the situation in Siem Reap, Cambodia, our home for more than 5 years and somewhere that we hold close to our hearts. With the borders effectively closed, tourism has ground to a halt. The magnificent Angkor Wat and the surrounding complex of temples attracted 2.2 million foreign visitors in 2019 but these numbers have dropped by a staggering 95%. The only visitors now are the handful of tourists who are ‘stranded’ in Cambodia, and expats who have remained present during the crisis. Communities like this, that rely on tourism for survival, will be some of the hardest hit by the sudden evaporation of tourist numbers; tourism is quite literally ‘the hand that feeds them’. It’s often during difficult and challenging times like this that we look to those around us for inspiration and positivity to help navigate through uncertainty. It is heart warming to hear about a trio of hotels who have teamed up with The Cambodian Landmine Museum to create a community-based partnership called Hotels Holding Hands with the sole goal of making a simple difference by providing basic nutrition. As of the 11th May 2020 they have already prepared and donated 7800+ meals to those most at need. Jaya House River Park, Treeline Urban Resort and Mulberry Boutique Hotel have always worked hard to empower their staff and support the local community and this initiative has highlighted their fantastic and continuing commitment. In addition to the difficulties the tourism sector is facing, the rice harvesting season still a long way off and the monsoon rains are fast approaching; the threat of malnutrition and water borne disease is all too real in Siem Reap. It’s for this reason that these 3 luxury hotels, normally used to looking after their visiting guests, have decided to go above and beyond to help. Currently, more than 450 meals daily are being provided to the local community, along with tons of rice also donated to various locations. People are coming out in droves; calmly, gently, gracefully lining up for their food parcel. All meals are ordered with local suppliers which is creating much needed employment along the way, and in line with their commitment to sustainability, the food is distributed in natural, biodegradable parcels that are plastic and Styrofoam free. But more is needed, their next goal is to double the current capacity to 1000 meals a day, and then hopefully more, to help see local people through these difficult times, and that’s where we can all help. Join us to make a donation through  the Hotels Joining Hands website. Share this article with your friends, family and colleagues if you think they may be able to help. We may be far away from our friends in other parts of the world right now, but they will feel our concern and support from afar and when we are able to visit these magical locations once again, we will all be able to start rebuilding the future together. Thank you for your support, and thank you to these wonderful hotels for their efforts to care for the local communities of Siem Reap in their time of need. If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia in the future, be sure to check them out. Jaya House River Park This hidden gem can be found peacefully located alongside the Siem Reap River, in a verdant garden setting and surrounded by fully grown trees. Just a short tuk tuk ride from town and perfectly located to explore the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat, guests can expect to enjoy a heartfelt welcome, award winning service and charming Khmer art-deco inspired design throughout the hotel. Jaya Siem Reap pool Treeline Urban Resort Treeline Urban Resort offers a unique home to guests visiting the gateway city for the temples of Angkor. Masterfully crafted with leading Cambodian artists and designers, the curated experience includes dedicated spaces for a growing private collection of contemporary art. During your stay, enjoy their creative cuisine that sustains your body and soul whilst connecting you to Khmer culture. Jaya Siem Reap pool Mulberry Boutique Hotel Situated in the heart of Siem Reap, this environmentally conscious hotel is a luxurious fusion of Khmer and modern design. In keeping with Khmer tradition, you can expect them to welcome you and your family into their home with open arms. They take pride in following this tradition and believe that good hospitality and personal service comes from the heart. Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. As one of many expats who decided to stay in Siem Reap for the duration, I find it truly heartwarming to see people reaching out to thos who are finding life tough. Not just the amazing operations mentioned but also individuals helping friends they have grown close to in this wonderful place.
    I know many people who work in hotels, restaurants that have closed as well as tour guides with no one to guide, Tuk Tuk drivers with no customers. These guys have no savings to fall back on. Some of them only earn as little as $100 a month, often with families to feed from that. With almost no notice the work stopped and the town ground to a standstill.
    As said above any help is greatly appreciated

    1. That’s really hard to read about. It’s really great though to see that you are giving back to people who really need it. I am inspired by that kind of generosity and feel like it’s something I should practice more, now that I’ve read this.

    2. it is very heart warming to read about what they have been doing. after all, times are mighty tough for the tourism industry in Siem Reap (and elsewhere) yet these hotels are still looking out for others in their community

  2. Great to see these hotels coming together and helping the community. It sounds like it will be a long path back for Siem Reap, so these initiatives are certainly needed. Much respect.

  3. These three hotels are doing such work for the community and it makes me so happy to see that throughout this pandemic people are showing their kind and caring nature to help others who are in need. I have loved living in Cambodia for 5 years and I always admire the people for having such big hearts and for their genuine happiness. It really puts life into perspective seeing how they make the best of a bad situation and I think everyone should follow in their footsteps and work together at this time.
    Thanks for sharing and I cannot wait to be back there, back home.

  4. In challenging times like these it is so inspiring to see businesses do their best to support their communities. It is really uplifting to read about this – huge respect to all of those involved!

    1. Huge respect indeed! Good luck to them and everyone who is doing what theyc an to support those who are most in need during these times…

  5. Beautiful initiative for help the Khmer people. Despite very few cases here it incredible how everything went downhill in few months of covid-19 crisis. It very thoughtful to make all meals plastic free also. Thank you so much all !!!

  6. I love what these resorts are doing for the community here. They literally save life’s and permit that Cambodian go through these dark days. Without harming the nature even more! It should stay a priority .

  7. Beautiful initiative. Treeline, jaya house and Mulberry all do a fantastic work for their community. Very caring from them, they could have choosed not to.

    1. These 3 resorts have always done fantastic work for the community and that’s why we love them so much. This is a very kind and generous gesture by them all…

  8. What a truly heartwarming account of the Hotels Joining Hands initiative. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
    Because we are all experiencing the consequences of this awful virus, it’s easy to lose sight of people who have lost everything because of the effects of tourism disappearing. Hopefully, with the help of projects such as this, and the resilience of the Cambodian people, “this, too, will pass” and visitors can again enjoy the wonders of Angkor Wat and the hospitality of it’s people.
    I know from visiting Siem Reap that these hotels and resorts provide much needed training and employment for local people, giving them life opportunities. They deserve our support.
    Long may it continue.

  9. It’s amazing to see that even in the midst of this pandemic, the world still has a reason to smile. I applaud these hotels for their selfless act eventhough the travel and tourism industry, including hospitaliy, are among the most hard-hit by Covid-19. They are probably having a hard time themselves yet they choose to help the community in which they are a part of. Where I am in Asia, as well, I’ve seen hotels offering their rooms for returning overseas workers, and some as holding facilities for suspected Covid-19 cases, or those awaiting their tests results. It’s great to see such kindness still exist in what I though was a materialistic time.

    1. Thank you for your comment Allison, where are you in Asia? It’s great to see these hotels working so hard to support their communities indeed. You are right that times are very hard for them also but that hasn’t stopped them creating this generous initiative. Let’s hope they get enough support to be able to continue it as it’s gong to be tough for some time to come whilst tourism slowly starts again…

  10. Even when devasted and no revenue coming in, it’s the kind heart of people in the hospitality industry that prevailed. It is but right to honor our frontliners for all the effort they’ve shown but I would like to share the limelight to our friends in the travel industry who work in many ways but gets unnoticed by many. We’ll all rise from this hand in hand, as well.

    1. Together we are stronger and that’s for sure. Supporting others in the travel industry is so important right now as we all need help to get through these tough tims. We love the fact that these hotels are continuing to reach out to the local community and help them survive…

  11. I love this place! This was a friendly and warm reminder of what it’s like to visit Cambodia. I enjoyed Siem Reap for its laidback atmosphere and the way you can meet so many different people from all over the world. This is something I hope to see in the future from myself and the rest of the world, kindness to others which obviously makes the world a better place.

    1. let’s hope these unprecedented times create reflection and change. if we were all just a little more compassionate and happy to help others the world would indeed be a better place.

  12. It’s incredible to see these hotels working together for the communities and villages of Siem Reap. It has been hard to see the town I call home suffering because of the dramatic, overnight drop in tourist numbers. Seeing so many family businesses having to close causing extreme poverty and hunger in their circles. Over the past few months some industrious Khmers have managed to find a way to survive the pandemic by changing what they do. For example, tuk tuk drivers have become shoppers and delivery drivers for those who are unable to go out. Shop owners, volunteers and NGOs are gathering food and asking local restaurants to put together food parcels to be distributed to those in need. Incredible Cambodia, incredible people.

    1. thanks for your comment Nav, we’ve missed our ‘home’ so much so it’s been lovely to read about all of the excellent projects and initiatives with the purpose to help others. tough times for all, we can only hope that things improve for everyone in the near future…

  13. It is often arduous in times like the COVID-19 to find inspiration and positivity in order to move out of the uncertainty. It is comforting to hear about hotels partnering with local communities in making a simple difference by offering basic nutrition. Many hotels have provided meals to those who needed the most. Many such hotel-community ties have always worked wonders in empowering their staff and supporting the local community, and this strongly demonstrates their continued commitment towards upholding human values.

    1. so true what you are saying Alexander, the community ties are invaluable and an essential part of business whilst empowering the staff not only improves the ‘product’ on offer but empowers the team.

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