Published on : Thursday, March 23, 2017
Over one hundred and fifty associates from Marriott International hotels in the UAE gathered on 21st March at Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, on the occasion of World Planting Day and the International Day of Forests, to plant the very first trees of the “Give a Ghaf – Heritage Forest” pilot project in the heart of the Al Wadi Nature Reserve.
The “Give a Ghaf – Heritage Forest” pilot project is a new, unique initiative born from the passion and commitment of several organizations to make the UAE greener and more sustainable, including Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel; Goumbook and the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Department Authority. Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, chose to partner with Goumbook for this project. After years of experience planting Ghaf seeds and trees in the UAE through its “Give a Ghaf” initiative, Goumbook provided over 150 saplings of Ghaf trees, the UAE National tree, to officially unveil the “Give a Ghaf – Heritage Forest” pilot project in the Al Wadi Nature Reserve and establish, together with Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel, a solid benchmark for green desert ecosystems in the UAE and beyond.
As part of their respective corporate social responsibility programmes, Marriott associates took part in a vast desert-cleaning and tree planting activity held within the 500-hectare Al Wadi Nature Reserve, aiming at raising awareness on sustainability and environmental responsibility and supported by officials from the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Department Authority and the Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Authority. The event was held under the umbrella of the Marriott Business Council UAE North.
“This initiative is a fantastic way to gather all our associates from the region in one truly inspiring and meaningful activity that unites all of us”, said Amit Arora, General Manager of al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton Partner Hotel. “We live in the desert and therefore we are all responsible and committed to making it a more sustainable and responsible place to live in”.
Inspired by the vision established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father and visionary for the United Arab Emirates, to “green the desert” in the early 1970s, the “Give a Ghaf – Heritage Forest” combines environment and sustainability, education, and research.
“Since starting our “Give a Ghaf tree planting program” in 2011, Goumbook planted 30,000 seeds across the UAE,” said Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Founder and MD of Goumbook. “When these seeds become saplings, we need to find them a proper home so they can develop into the strong, self-sufficient desert tree that will not only provide clean air but also a natural habitat for many fauna species to thrive. With 2017 being declared the “year of giving”, we are thrilled and thankful to collaborate with Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, a Ritz-Carlton partner hotel, and Marriott International. By aiming to plant 4,000 more trees by 2020, the “Give a Ghaf Heritage Forest” will also provide a strong legacy for future generations to enjoy.”
“We are thrilled to see so many passionate professionals coming together to create a sustainable future for the next generations of hoteliers. The Heritage Forest is a unique project that will have a significant impact on biodiversity conservation in our region”, said Alex Kyriakidis, President, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International.