Hilton, the world’s first global hotel company, celebrated its milestone 100th anniversary in Lebanon, in the midst of the most dynamic year in the company’s storied history. The three Hilton hotels operating in Lebanon, Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand, Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace and Hilton Beirut Downtown, chose Ramlet Al Baida – the only remaining public beach in Beirut – to commemorate this momentous occasion with their peers who came from all over the world.
In a spectacular setting overlooking the alluring moonlight reflected upon the sparkling sea waves, under the auspices of the ministry of public works and transport represented by the general director of land and maritime transport Abdelhafiz El Kaysi, the cocktail reception featured a host of high caliber guests representing the hospitality scene including the Governor of Beirut Ziad Chbib, senior executives from Hilton Hotels among them Stijn Bastiaens, Vice President & Commercial Director EMEA; Wissam Khalek, Regional Director Sales KSA & Levant; Naif Zureikat, General Manager of Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand & Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace and Issam Ajouz, General Manager of Hilton Beirut Downtown along with business partners and members of the press.
“We affirm that starting today we will prioritize Ramlet Al-Baida beach. We will protect it, clean it and most importantly add it to our touristic attractions in Beirut”, said the Governor of Beirut Ziad Chbib. “We confirm that it will remain a public beach accessible for free to all citizens, and we will not allow any infringement to commercialize it or reduce its area.”
“We thank Hilton Hotels for their contribution in transforming this beach into a sport and touristic destination, allowing our people to have an enjoyable beach experience with the beginning of the summer season”, proceeded Chbib.
Being at the heart of the 100 years global celebrations taking place around the world, Hilton Hotels decided to mark this significant occasion by addressing the importance of public beaches in Lebanon and reinforcing the country’s positioning as the pearl of the Middle East. In this context, volunteers from the 3 Hilton hotels operating in Lebanon gathered in the early morning to clean up Ramlet Al-Baida public beach to make the beach experience more relishing. Adding to the cleanup initiative, Hilton Hotels in Beirut also offered to Ramlet Al-Baida beach volleyball court, football court, referee high chairs as well as garbage bins and signages. This initiative aligns with Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals which aims at driving positive environmental and social change across its operations, supply chain and communities.
“2019 marks Hilton’s 100th anniversary, a very momentous occasion”. Said Stijn Bastiaens, Vice President & Commercial Director EMEA. “Whilst we are incredibly proud of this achievement, we are also humbled by the fact that few companies reach this major milestone. We know we never could have made it without the help and support of countless people along the way. We owe our longevity to our loyal customers, suppliers, employees, press and of course the governments and communities we’ve worked with over the years.”
This cleanup is part of ongoing efforts of redefine sustainable travel. Beirut hotels have so far completed 240,955 volunteering hours, reduced energy equivalent to 908 houses powered, donated over 4,215 meals, donated 2,178 bars of recycled soap, reduced carbon emissions equivalent to 334 cars of the road, reduced water equivalent to 4 Olympic swimming pools and impacted the lives of 61,017 young people, 1,362 women, and 200 veterans.
“We’re pleased with the result after 4 hours of cleaning with over 50 Hilton team members from the 3 hotels here in Lebanon, removing nearly 50 bin bags and over half a ton of garbage from this beach”, said Bastiaens. “But it’s not perfect and never will be perfect as a beach does get dirty again, but maybe other companies here in the community of Beirut and Lebanon will hopefully follow in our footsteps.”
“My personal greatest satisfaction, and something that I will carry with me for a long time actually came at the end of our clean up when we saw 3 local boys Ali, Ali and Mohammed approaching our new football pitch and started playing on it straightaway. We joined them for a 10 minute game of football and of course they ended up beating us. No hard feelings against those boys at all for beating us of course because this is exactly the reason why we as Hilton wanted to clean up the beach. Giving local people access to a beach that they can safely play football or volleyball on, just relax on the beach or go for a run”, added Bastiaens.
It is worth mentioning that the Hilton Hotels now thriving in 113 countries had pioneered air-conditioned lobbies, in-room televisions, the computerized reservation system now. Hilton promises to continue leading the hospitality industry for the next 100 years with innovation and sustainability. By 2030, the global hospitality brand is committed to double investment in social impact and cut environmental footprint in half through responsible hospitality across their value chain.