The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is no stranger to taking home leading travel and hospitality awards. Sitting proudly on the mantelpiece are the trophies for winning the Best Resort in Asia by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Top Hotels in the World by the Travel + Leisure Readers’ Choice Awards and the World’s Leading Green Resort at the 2018 World Travel Awards.
The property’s General Manager Seif Elnaser Hamdy who has been with the resort since 2015, first as the Director of Food and Beverage, then as Resort Manager, attributes this success to a combination of world-class services, unique location in the heart of a natural reserve and a host of green initiatives that resonate with the modern-day luxury traveler.
Vietcetera asks the industry veteran what makes InterContinental Danang a champion of eco-tourism, in Vietnam and globally, and how his team is contributing to environmental protection.
InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort was named the World’s Leading Green Resort at the 2018 World Travel Awards. What achievements did the award recognize?
The resort has become an icon and a leader in proving that development and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand; and not only by protecting the wildlife but by relying on cooperation to help it flourish to its full potential.
InterContinental Danang prides itself for its nature-centric design by the renowned architect Bill Bensley who is one of the proponents of encompassing man-made structures with wildlife. We appreciate that the value and beauty of our property comes from the amazing biodiversity that surrounds us, hence the emphasis on environmental conservation and on the efforts to show that eco-neutral coexistence is possible. Our success comes through a number of green initiatives and through strictly following and meeting the targets of IHG Green Engage - an innovative online sustainability system.
From reducing energy consumption to phasing out plastic to employing a resident zoologist we make sure we cover all areas in our efforts to minimize the negative effects of anthropogenic activity. And we are only getting started. We hope that our green awards inspire businesses around the globe to follow in our footsteps so we can all work together to protect our environment at this crucial time.
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Do you see domestic eco-tourism as an emerging trend? If so, is there a need to adapt your existing product to local tastes?
Eco-tourism is absolutely on the rise and there is also a rising expectation from the guests that properties should prove their green credentials. In fact, we pride ourselves on having a thriving wildlife population right here on the resort grounds, particularly the endangered red-shanked douc langurs who are endemic to Son Tra Peninsula.
We are extremely grateful to have our resort surrounded by such stunning nature, and I think we are already ahead of the curve when it comes to eco-tourism. This does not mean we are not constantly improving and looking for new ways to be even more sustainable.
Some Vietnam’s travel professionals are speaking of the arrival of the “golden age” of domestic travel, with airlines and hotels offering custom packages to residents. Have you rolled out any packages to entice local travelers?
We are indeed offering a variety of attractive packages both through our direct retail channel and through our travel partners in the domestic market. Vietnam has done exceptionally well in containing the spread of COVID-19 and I am very excited to see the domestic travel market starting to rebound. 2020 will still be a challenging year for the travel industry but I'm confident about where we are right now and I am optimistic for the future.