LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA A CSR activity and luxury vacation rolled into one – this is the idea behind The Andaman’s Reef & Rainforest Expedition (R&R Expedition), which will run from April 14 to 20 in 2013.
The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, sits tucked between the Mat Cincang mountain range and the Andaman Sea. It is nestled within a 10-million-year-old rainforest that is home to an abundance of wildlife and plantation.
The seven-day, seven-night activity is designed for travellers and incentive groups interested in doing their bit for Mother Nature. Participants will be given the opportunity to be personally involved in the on-going scientific study projects, which are aimed at preserving the nature of Langkawi. These hands-on experiences range from documenting the territories of the rainforest’s habitats and recording their population census, to helping map and grow the Andaman’s Coral Reef. After the day’s activities, participants can look forward to unwinding and recharging at the 186-room resort.
In the rainforest, participants will be tasked to track and record the movements and activities of an assigned species.
“R&R Expedition participants will get muddy and dirty,” said general manager Anne Scott. “They will end each day exhausted and exhilarated over having completed focused eco-projects and tasks. As they enjoy 5-star luxury at the end of the day, guests will know that they have earned their rain shower, delicious dinner and 300-thread count bed linen.”
The eco-project will be led by a team of accredited scientific and conservation experts that include Dr Gerry Goeden, the resort’s consultant marine biologist; Irshad Mobarak, a self-taught naturalist and outdoor buff; and Mark Lawrence, an expedition supervisor. The resort has ensured safety measures for a smooth run, taking into consideration the choice of location, gear and equipment to be used.
Sixteen participants will be accommodated for the programme, priced at US$5,495 per person or US$9,495 per pair. Corporate groups may also register for a special rate that will depend on the number of participants and room accommodations. The package is inclusive of a Deluxe Rainforest Room, an eco-themed welcome dinner, daily breakfast and lunch, and a team recognition dinner on the last night. Booking closes on April 7, 2013.
Only one expedition has been scheduled so far, though The Andaman has plans of organising two rounds per year, eyeing October or November for a possible second run. Companies interested in doing the programme as a form of CSR may request a reef- or rainforest-only itinerary as well.
One task in the reef expedition will be to visually assess habitat zones and determine transect points.
“For a company to support this initiative by sending staff to participate will help the cause so much,” Scott told Mix. “Every reef ball made and given a home on the Andaman reef, and every mangrove sapling planted will help restore the natural balance for countless of lifetimes to come. The results of our endeavours will show within months and participants can read about the success they have helped create through regular updates on Facebook and blogs. In addition, the research that will be carried out post-expedition means that after the group has departed, their contribution carries on to make a positive difference.”
The Andaman is also exploring the possibility of adapting the R&R programme for larger groups. “We have, for example, done coral programmes for 50 and tree planting activities for 200. So although we have the R&R as the main activity, we can easily change and flex the dates, timing and content to suit the group and ensure it fits their requirements,” said Scott.
The resort is also home to a coral nursery for the growth of new coral and the rehabilitation of damaged ones. It is also a site for educational activities on the fragile ecosystem.
For more information, visit www.theandaman.com.