Responsible Tourism Practices in Soria Moria
In Soria Moria we are committed to minimize our negative impacts on the environment and communities, and focus on sustainability and capacity building in people. By having this approach we hope to create a win-win-win situation where both our customers, the local community and the business itself will benefit. Below you can read about Responsible Tourism practices we have implemented in our operation.
Through our Employee Ownership Scheme the local employees have become partners and majority owners of the business, accounting for 51% of the shares. The share ownership is determined based on seniority and responsibilities in the hotel. By being share owners, the employees are able to take part in the decision making process and share any profits made. It also enables the employees to play an important role in helping their local community, and become good role models. The purpose is to empower locals through responsibility and ownership, and to build a successful business model that can easily be duplicated in other development projects. To maximise the social impacts our long term goal is to explore ways to transfer the remaining 49% of the business to the local employees.
Employing and empowering locals
We believe that building capacity in people starts with the individual. Soria Moria only employs local staff and provides good working conditions and onsite training and development for them. All department heads are locals, and weekly sessions are held to develop and train them in problem solving, communication and management skills, and our long term aim is to let the local staff be able to manage the day to day operation on their own.
Soria Moria Trainee Program
In collaboration with 3 local NGO’s; Anjali House, Sangkheum Center for Children and NEDO, Soria Moria is proud to provide trainee positions for their Young Adult Preparation Programs. The young adults are from 16,5 -21 years of age and come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and are trained in different departments according to their interest, ability, and future plans. The young adults work 3-5 hours per day, 3-5 days per week, depending on their age and their school schedule. The trainees are paid a per-hour salary based on a normal fulltime salary for their respective positions. The NGO’s support the trainees with scholarships, accommodation and guiding. We currently have 7 trainees in Soria Moria.
Soria Moria Higher Education Program
We believe education is particularly important in development and empowerment of the locals, and we have therefore initiated Soria Moria Higher Education Program. The sponsors are in direct email contact with their sponsor student. Soria Moria arrange with money transfers, payments and sends reports from the school (absence rates and grades). A staff representative is in charge of the follow up of the students should they need any help with studies etc. We provide flexible part time or full time work in Soria Moria during the education if the student would like this opportunity. Soria Moria Higher Education Program currently has twelve students enrolled in university, 9 in Bachelors level and 3 in Master levels.
Weekly Training Nights
The weekly $1 night is set up as a training night, where we in addition to training Soria Moria’s own staff and trainees, locals who need work experience to be able to find jobs in the hospitality are sometimes taken in for training. As an example, one trainee has been able to obtain a full time job in one of the top hotels in Siem Reap.
Language and literacy classes
Most of our staff comes from disadvantaged backgrounds, and some have unfortunately never been able to attend school. For those who have not attended primary school and can not read and write the local language Khmer, our senior staff provide weekly Khmer literacy classes. For other staff we provide lessons in English and Norwegian lessons. Previously we have also engaged a Japanese teacher .
Educational staff training trips
Soria Moria conducts yearly staff training trips to other provinces in Cambodia for the local staff to learn more about their own country and what it has to offer. In 2008 the trip went to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, in 2009 the trip went to Kampot and Kep, in 2010 the trip went to Battambang and in 2011 the trip went to Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham. This is a combined reward, team building and hands on learning experience about how it is to be a tourist (most Khmers can usually not afford to travel and experience this on their own expense).
Insurance & National Social Security Fund
All our staff are insured on their lives with personal accident insurance, and are members of National Social Security Fund.
Soria Moria Guide to Cambodia
Soria Moria also try to encourage guests to stay longer in the country, visit destinations outside the main tourist tracks and spend more money in the country and benefit a larger area. For this purpose we have compiled our own guide about Siem Reap and Cambodia, including information about responsible tourism practices and child-safe travelers tips.
Supporting the local economy
Soria Moria is selective when choosing suppliers and partners. Wherever possible we purchase local goods and use local suppliers and transportation/guides, and wherever possible we try to select organizations that will have a direct impact on improving people’s life chances. This includes food products, furniture’s, decorations, linen, uniforms, etc.
Supporting local organizations and projects
On Soria Moria Website, in our rooms and on the walls in our common area we display information about organizations we endorse, and try our best to help them with marketing, fundraising and creating awareness. Donation boxes are available in the lobby. In our shop we also sell products for a range of Fair Trade Organizations and NGO’s.
Tourism is in general not a very environmentally friendly industry, but Soria Moria has taken action to reduce its impact on the environment wherever possible without reducing the customer’s satisfaction. Engagements have been made in the areas of electricity usage (we have converted environmentally friendly light bulbs, do not use air-condition in common areas, have installed key-card switches in the guest rooms) water usage (we display information in guestrooms that water resources are scarce, and give all guests the option to reuse towels and bed-linen), paper usage (we do our best to reduce prints and reuse printed paper as scratch paper). We recycle bottles, cans and cardboard, and our juice cartons are made into wallets. In addition to this our cooking oil is recycled and given to Angkor Children’s Hospital to be used for Bio diesel for their generator, and our food waste is given to local pig farmers.
Other ways Soria Moria is helping the local community
- Non-commissionable sales of Love Cards and rental of White Bicycles where all proceeds goes to educational projects.
- Collection boxes for clothes and other items for poor families, where Soria Moria’s staff who bring it back to distribute in their home villages.
- The Young Adults from The Sangkheum Center for Children comes to perform traditional APSARA dance in the hotel’s restaurant every Friday. The performance is free of charge, but we encourage donations to the Sangkheum center.
- Sponsorship of charitable events, such as the yearly Giant Puppet Parade and Youth Football Tournaments.
- Various fundraising events is held in the hotel (or organized by the hotel) throughout the year.
To read more about some of the projects we support, click here.