Friday, 9 October 2009

Amex agent helps Cambodia flood relief

Thursday, October 08, 2009
Chris Gray

(Post by CAAI News Media)

A travel consultant on sabbatical in Cambodia has been helping with relief efforts after typhoon Ketsana flooded nearby villages.

John Palfrey worked with owners of a luxury hotel, the Sojourn (pictured), to distribute food to hundreds of families on the outskirts of Siem Reap, close to the temples of Angkor.

The hotel already had a close relationship with the village, Treak, because it organised trips for guests to see how families lived in traditional Cambodian homes, giving 50% of the tours’ proceeds to the villagers.

Palfrey, who is working at an orphanage on sabbatical from his job as a travel consultant at American Express in London, said the hotel and its sister property acted as distribution centres for relief after the flood.

He joined staff from the hotel to help divide food into family supply bags and distribute clothes and blankets.

“The floods have left the community under a couple of feet of water – survivable due to the construction of most Cambodian homes,” he said.

“But the food supply has been wiped out and those without employment now have nothing.”

Palfrey said the relief effort was an extension of the commitment Sojourn’s owners were already showing the local community.

“It’s an example of a travel company becoming part of the community it works in. This is tourism really making a difference.”

Typhoon Ketsana left a trail of destruction across south-east Asia last week, causing the most damage in the Philippines before hitting Vietnam and Cambodia.

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