Through an integrated approach across property, hospitality, design and investment enterprises, as well as a standard-setting foundation, Hong Kong-based Song Saa Collective combines ethics-led business practices with needs-based social actions. Song Saa strives to honour the past, consolidate the present, and build a better future throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
Song Saa’s first venture, the award-winning Song Saa Private Island, opened in 2012 and pioneered conservation-based luxury tourism in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago, working with surrounding villages, the Cambodian government, financial investors, donor partners, and broader stakeholders to improve local livelihoods and preserve the region’s marine life and rainforests.
With this knowledge and experience, the Song Saa Collective has created a 21st-century business model that employs business as a positive-and-profitable agent of change. The Collective is currently developing an extensive 200+ hectare Eco-park near Siem Reap’s Banteay Srey. At the heart of this project is the appreciation that, while the prime economic activity is the construction and operation of tourist based facilities, the project entails a strong commitment to the regeneration, restoration and resilience of the project site and its surrounds. This includes a commitment to rewilding indigenous fauna and flora, the restoration of rainforest and wetland communities, the conservation of Khmer heritage and the sustained improvement of local livelihoods. This is all while partnering with the world’s best developers, hotel companies, designers, technologists, conservationists and thought leaders to create a pioneering destination for tourists to experience Cambodia’s unique cultural heritage, natural beauty and personal charm and be inspired to make a difference in the world.
Each Song Saa endeavour is committed to authenticity, integrity, creativity, innovation and beauty, along with a focus on the triple bottom line: delivering outstanding products and services, running a profitable business, and benefiting people and our planet. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, respect for cultural heritage and a design-led aesthetic, Song Saa seeks to empower people from around the world, reviving and regenerating local societies while fostering intimate connections between individuals and their consumption of items and experiences.
WHO IS SONG SAA?
PRESIENT & FOUNDER OF GSD CORPORATION
A successful entrepreneur and pioneer of sustainable development in Southeast Asia, Rory Hunter is the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Song Saa Collective, the developer and operator of the multi-award-winning Song Saa Private Island – consistently voted one of the top 10 resorts in the world – located in Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipelago.
In 2007, Rory and his wife Melita established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve, Cambodia’s first ever marine-protected area. The reserve has since expanded to 200 square kilometres and has gained the support of Monaco’s Prince Albert II. Inspired by a passion for Cambodia and a commitment to meaningful impact, in 2013 Rory co-founded the Song Saa Foundation, an independent NGO dedicated to preserving Koh Rong’s underwater sanctuaries. This furthered conservation and social welfare projects that the couple were already undertaking in the Koh Rong Archipelago including marine conservation and the provision of much needed healthcare and education to the communities surrounding Song Saa Private Island.
Passionate about the progressive role business can play in addressing social issues, Rory focuses on projects that bring about a transformational impact on a major scale. Following the triple bottom line approach, he directs all efforts into using commerce to drive positive societal change while delivering strong financial returns to shareholders. His latest project, the Song Saa Reserve, located adjacent to Banteay Srey Temple in Siem Reap on 200ha of land aims to set a global benchmark for high-end, environmentally and socially conscious tourism development with the region’s first ethically led mixed-use resort – www.songsaareserve.com.
A regular speaker at international conferences, Rory is always keen to impart his knowledge and passion regarding the obligation of business to serve society. In 2014, he was a guest speaker at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, sharing Song Saa’s story and his vision of ‘Tourism’s New Frontiers’. In 2015, he was selected to join the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders (YGLs) in recognition of his professional accomplishments and commitment to ecological economic development, and in 2017 he became a member of the prestigious Young Presidents Organisation (YPO).
Prior to becoming a leading entrepreneur, Rory was a successful advertising executive, working for multi-national firms including Saatchi and Saatchi. He’s a graduate of Harvard Business School, studied Sustainability and Resilience at Stanford University, and has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.
Rory’s unwavering fortitude and & go-getter attitude also extends to his personal life. He completed New Zealand’s Coast to Coast race, one of the world toughest multisport competitions, in 17 hours in 2015. He is also an avid offshore sailor, downhill skier and long-distance runner.
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder
Utilising design as a force for change, entrepreneur, designer, and thought- leader Melita Koulmandas is at the forefront of regenerative development in Southeast Asia.
Melita looks beyond sustainability to develop design initiatives that help restore, regenerate and revive communities, crafting beautiful products and spaces that celebrate heritage, embrace modernity and honour craftsmanship, all with respect for people and planet. Her work includes interiors, fine art, fashion and lifestyle concepts, landscapes and organic installations, and has been recognised with global travel and design awards. Her awards for Song Saa Private Island include Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold Standard, Condé Nast Traveler’s Most Soulful Spa of the Year, Condé Nast Traveler’s World’s Most Beautiful Resort Hotel and National Geographic’s Leaders in Sustainable Tourism title.
Melita, along with business partner Rory, established the Koh Ouen Marine Reserve in 2007, Cambodia’s first protected marine area. She then co-founded the Song Saa Foundation in 2013, dedicated to preserving underwater sanctuaries and providing means of livelihood and education to communities in the Koh Rong Archipelago and beyond. She is the foundations Executive Director and CEO of Song Saa Private Island.
Passionate about the progressive role business can play in addressing social issues, Melita focuses on projects, that bring about a transformational impact on a major scale. Following the triple bottom line approach, efforts are directed to drive positive societal change while delivering strong financial returns to shareholders and is currently focussing on the design and development of Song Saa’s pioneering new project in Siem Reap – The Song Saa Reserve.
London-born and Sydney-raised, Melita moved to Cambodia in early 2005, and studied design at Parsons School of Design. Melita is also a member of the Aspen Institute’s Alliance for Artisans Enterprise. She currently lives in Hong Kong with her children and their dog Jackson.