While French-influenced Lao cuisine and moderately priced hotels lure travellers to Vientiane, Laos’s capital city, it’s the story behind a disadvantaged community living 400km south-east of Vientiane that left a lasting impression on Best Western hotel owner, Paul Hodda recently.
As part of Best Western’s ongoing partnership with World Vision Australia, Hodda travelled to the Xaybuathong district to see how a $30,000 donation from Best Western’s World Vision Laos sponsorship fund would improve the standard of living for a group of 50 children.
Hodda has owned the Best Western Ascot Lodge Motor Inn in Queensland’s regional town of Goondiwindi for eight years and has contributed to various fundraising campaigns to support local schools and charities.
“In Laos, I met some amazing children who showed me around their schools and several building projects that World Vision is funding in the district. It really makes you see how much of a difference one dollar or one hundred dollars makes for these kids who struggle each day to make a better life for themselves,” Mr Hodda said.
“With help from Best Western and guest donations, we’ve raised about $27,000 for these kids in Laos. It’s just short of the amount we need before year’s end.”
Best Western raised over $10,000 towards the fund through a charity auction open to hoteliers, staff and accommodation industry suppliers at the recent Best Western Australasia Convention.
“An extra $3,000 in donations by December will help us meet our $30,000 goal. It will be nice if we can reach this amount for World Vision in time for Christmas,” Mr Hodda said.
To help reach this target, Best Western is giving guests the chance to book a special World Vision rate on its websites at bestwestern.com.au, bestwestern.co.nz and bestwestern.com.fj before 30 November 2014.
The rate is based on each hotel’s standard flexible rate with an extra $2 donation added towards World Vision.
Book the World Vision Charity Rate at any of Best Western’s participating hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji before 30 November 2014 to see your $2 donation added to Best Western’s World Vision Laos sponsorship fund.
Laos remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Subsistence agriculture accounts for 80 percent of total employment, infrastructure like roads and telecommunications is inadequate and health and education services are limited. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation means diseases including malaria are major causes of illness and death, especially in young children.
For more information on Best Western supporting World Vision, go to bestwestern.com.au/partners/world-vision-australia.