More than 1,000 players in the Phuket hotels industry have pledged to step up their fight to tackle environmental issues threatening the Thai island.

At the second PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) event, a record number of attendees gathered at Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa to be inspired by the innovative measures taken by the hotel industry to tackle climate change and the environmental issues sweeping across the globe.

A report released in September by specialist travel insurance intermediary Columbus Direct revealed Phuket has the highest number of visitors per square mile than any other tourist destination in the world. Welcoming 9.29 million visitors a year, that averages at 25,452 per day. This makes it increasingly important measures are put in place to protect the island’s delicate ecosystem – and the tourism industry is being urged to play its part.

Phuket Hotels : Tackling Environmental Problems Together

Phuket
Charlie Blocker, Founder & CEO – IC Partners Limited (left); Ang Choo Pin, Senior Director Government and Corporate Affairs, Asia Expedia

Anthony Lark, president of event co-organiser Phuket Hotel Association (PHA), said: “Climate change, plastic pollution, environmental degradation; these are issues that affect us all, and they are felt even more profoundly in island communities like Phuket. The only way to tackle these problems is through a collective approach; by working together we can make a difference.”

Organised by PHA, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, the now annual event is dedicated to uniting the travel industry to generate new ideas, share innovation and work together to ensure Phuket is not tainted by the environmental impacts of tourism.

“We can see travellers and consumers are starting to choose a destination and resort based on sustainability rather than price.”

The day-long event saw industry experts from across the region deliver a morning of workshops. These covered topics ranging from organising green events and showcasing green social enterprises, to how to design eco-friendly hotels.

The jam-packed afternoon itinerary saw a series of panel sessions and discussions take to the main stage. Issues tackled included destination management and development, ocean health, over-tourism, hotel operations and community tourism. An exhibition area featured innovative tourism-related green solutions.

 

“The next generation are passionate about sustainability and simply don’t want to stay somewhere full of plastic.”

With sustainability driving discussion, the travel industry was warned the environment is a becoming a key factor when choosing a destination, especially with younger generations. Jesper Palmqvist, STR area director for Asia Pacific, said, “We can see travellers and consumers are starting to choose a destination and resort based on sustainability rather than price.”

Jeannie Kwok, Hilton’s director of corporate responsibility, added, “The next generation are passionate about sustainability and simply don’t want to stay somewhere full of plastic. They have the future spending power and they are making demands.”

Great Big Green Hotel Guide

To encourage other hotels to follow suit, PHA launched its ‘Great Big Green Hotel Guide’ at the event. The downloadable guide features some of the most innovative environmental best practices from its 74 member hotels, with case studies.


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It is hoped the guide will serve as a practical user manual for hotels in resort destinations across Asia.

Organisers said PHIST has already proved working together can make a difference. More than 4.4 million bottles have been saved from landfill or the ocean since all PHA hotels pledged to eliminate them from their properties at last year’s inaugural event, and with Phuket resorts, such as Outrigger helping to turn the tide against plastic.


For more information on the Phuket Hotels Association

Visit https://phist.phukethotelsassociation.com/event/, or download the ‘Great Big Green Hotel Guide’ here. All photos courtesy of Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism (PHIST).

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