Avana Retreat has been making sure its footprint is featherweight through its many green initiatives to protect its environment and the community.
Situated amid the mountains of Vietnam’s Mai Chau province, some of the resort’s projects include extreme tree planting projects, maintaining ethnic minority traditions, organic farming, neighbourhood trash-collecting partnerships with youth groups, and turning one of its star attractions – terraced rice fields – into a source of income for the community.
As a plastic-free establishment, Avana even has its own purifying and bottling facility on-site, which uses fresh mountain water and cuts CO2 emissions.
Vu Huy, founder of Avana Retreat, shared: “We have planted over 10,000 trees in the area since we started developing this land and the bird life, well, we’re seeing more and more return. In fact, the wildlife has flourished.”
Avana Retreat has prioritised re-foresting and working with the existing landscape, such as raised pathways to limit existing tree-cutting, narrow buggy and walking paths to minimise impact on the vegetation. The terraced rice paddies, within the resort grounds, are maintained by local ethnic groups who keep all the rice they harvest at Avana to eat or sell as they wish.
Earlier this year, Avana launched their own natural, pesticide-free garden, where they grow a selection of herbs and vegetables that appear on guests’ plates – there is also a free-range chicken farm of around 300 chickens which provides the resort with fresh eggs.
In addition, room amenities are refillable and made from natural ingredients and organic essential oils. The same goes for products used at the spa, as well as in the candle-making workshop available for guests.
At Avana’s museum, housed in a more than 50-year-old Thai style stilt house, guests can learn about the various ethnic groups that live in the area, and experience the culture hands-on with rattan weaving workshops, batik art classes, and more.
Huy explained: “We want to play our part in keeping those traditions and stories alive through our museum, experiences, and through classes with local artisans who are just as passionate about what they do as we are.”
More than 90 per cent of Avana’s staff are from Thai, Hmong, and Muong villages – they were provided with hospitality training, sustainable development education, and English lessons, as well as given health insurance, professional working conditions, promotion prospects, and additional job training for continual development.