“Upholding Responsible and Sustainable Tourism“
Rachael Harding, the CEO of Club Med’s ESAP Markets continues to propel forward the values Club Med, the most important one being upholding Responsibility as she drives company advancement and growth into matured as well as emerging markets.
When it comes to vacations, Club Med is the name that everybody associates with premium all-inclusive holidays and Rachael Harding is the CEO of its East, South Asia and Pacific (ESAP) Markets.
“Club Med is the pioneer of the all-inclusive model and has been perfecting its offering for over 73 years. It is committed to remaining not only the leader but delivering exceptional and experiential premium holidays for families and active individuals,” she states, continuing to say that since its creation in 1950, Club Med has never stopped reinventing itself to adapt to new customer expectations.
“We were the pioneers of the kids club, and one great example of evolution is our new Mini Club Med + Programme. Working with experts in Positive Psychology & Positive Education to design new framework that helps young children discover and develop unique character strengths around Creativity, Confidence, Connection, Cheerfulness, Courage and Cooperation; vital soft skills to being happy, staying connected and growing with confidence.
“During the pandemic, we still managed to open multiple new resorts including seven openings in 2022, accelerating our global footprint. In 2022, we were more profitable than pre-pandemic and the performance for the first half of 2023 has been very encouraging.”
Since their inception, responsibility has been one of their five values and as Harding says, “we live by this − ensuring where we build, how we build and how we operate work in harmony with the environment we are located in and with the community in which we join.”
Unrivalled Products, Responsible Tourism
Not only does Club Med offer unrivalled products such as their Mountain product range which provides premium all-inclusive snow holidays in the world’s best ski domains in North America, Europe and Asia on and off the slopes, Harding says responsibility of respecting the host country, its communities, landscapes, resources and support of its social development is woven through the Club Med DNA.
“This mindset continues to drive our all-inclusive commitment, for today and tomorrow. ‘Happy to Care’ is one of our five key strategic pillars that help to propel us forward.”
Club Med makes a priority to harmoniously integrate the resorts with their natural surroundings by keeping these beautiful spaces as untouched as possible.
“The built-up surfaces in all Club Med resorts cover less than 10% of the total site surface, allowing our guests to spend their holidays in incredibly well-preserved places.”
For example, 100% of Club Med resorts have been awarded Green Globe Certification for Sustainable Tourism since 2021. Having partnered with AGRISUD for more than a decade and with more than 400 ecological farms under the Green Farmers programme worldwide, Club Med is able to train and support small farms to help them develop in a viable and sustainable way in nearby Club Med sites.
Their efforts to preserve nature and doing their part for future generations does not just take place in the facade of their properties but also having all their resorts implement a waste management system and reliance on local agriculture so that local communities can remain self-sufficient. Other measures include ban of single-use plastics, reduce food waste and combat animal abuse.
“More than 15,000 G.O.s (Club Med Gentle Organiser or employees) are trained each year on sustainability and how to help preserve the environment. They raise awareness among our guests by bringing these eco-initiatives to life in the resorts,” explains Harding.
These initiatives include: Turtle conservatory in Club Med Bintan and Cherating, Bamboo Shark Nursery in Club Med Phuket, Mobireef and coral planting in Club Med Kani to raise awareness about the importance of these topics.