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1,000 delegates attend Phuket sustainable tourism event

1,000 delegates attend Phuket sustainable tourism event
September 24, 2019

Bringing South east Asia’s tourism industry together in a spirit of collaboration to tackle the critical environmental issues facing resort destinations across the region, PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) 2019, Asia’s largest sustainable tourism event, opened in Phuket yesterday (23rd September).

A year on from the inaugural edition of PHIST, 1,000 delegates are attending this year’s event, being held Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa.

The brainchild of the Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, PHIST is dedicated to generating fresh ideas and fostering a spirit of cooperation, and includes a series of expert panels and discussions covering a range of vital topics, including destination management, development, ocean health, overtourism, hotel operations and community tourism.

There event also features a series of practical workshops for green champions, hotel developers and social enterprises and more, plus an exhibition area showcasing green solutions, allowing hoteliers to interact with eco-suppliers.

Speakers included local and international experts, including Raini Hamdi, Asia Editor, Skift; Sharry Sun, Global Head of Brand, Travelzoo; Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific; Ang Choo Pin, Expedia’s Senior Director of Government & Corporate Affairs; Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas; and Franck Droin, Hotel Manager, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.

This year’s PHIST also celebrated the launch of the Great Big Green Hotel Guide, an important collaboration between the 74 members of the Phuket Hotels Association. Featuring real-life examples of environmental best practices and case studies, this guide serves as a practical user manual for hotels in resort destinations all across Asia.

Ideas remain the biggest single challenge to the sustainability journey, and by sharing success stories, the Great Big Green Hotel Guide can help hotels take their first steps towards a greener tomorrow. This is not just about sowing the seeds of change; it is about reaping the benefits of a unified approach. While the road ahead is long, if every hotel and resort can adopt proven measures to ease the pressure on their destination, Southeast Asia’s island communities will be able to breathe more freely and move forward with renewed confidence.

Introducing the event, Anthony Lark, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, advised “PHIST is becoming one of the most important events on the tourism calendar. 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.

Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, added “the only way to tackle these problems is through a collective approach; by working together we can make a difference. The release of the Great Big Green Hotel Guide is one of the ways the industry is crafting long-term, workable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

“Global tourism is growing at an unprecedented pace, and this is putting unprecedented pressure on resources, communities and the environment. At Six Senses, we’ve been pushing the environmental agenda for many years, but it’s fantastic to see the hotel industry now taking a proactive approach to these critical issues. We all want the world to visit and experience our beautiful region, but something needs to change. By joining PHIST 2019, we want to create a viable future for Southeast Asia’s tourism industry.”

PHIST has already shown that it can make a real difference; at last year’s inaugural edition, more than Phuket Hotels Association’s 74 member hotels agreed to remove plastic water bottles from their properties.

In the 12 months since this pledge was made, member hotels experienced a 51% reduction, which equates to over 4.4 million bottles not ending up in landfill sites, or worse, the ocean.

PHIST 2019 also aims to inspire the next generation, with a series of children’s workshops and activities. The forum featured the final of Green Beat 60, a film-making contest that invited eco warriors of all ages to have their say on critical issues, won by Thai rappers Rattanachot Srikhongmuang and Kanthep Srikhongmuang for ‘Refill Not Landfill’. 

By engaging with all stakeholders and members of society, from proven industry experts to the brightest young minds, PHIST 2019 is taking a ‘blue sk’y approach to the sustainability agenda. In doing so, it will strive to ensure a bright future for many generations to come.

For more information on the Great Big Green Hotel Guide go to

Image shows industry leaders at PHIST 2019 (from left): Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts; Jesper Palmqvist Area Director for Asia Pacific STR with his daughter Maylea Palmqvist; Marissa Sukosol, Executive Vice President of Sukosol Hotels; Anthony Lark, President, Phuket Hotel Association and Co-Organiser of PHIST 2019; Kanokrittika Kritwoottigon, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office; and Thai rappers and winners of the Green Beat 60 competition Rattanachot Srikhongmuang and Kanthep Srikhongmuang.

Related Articles

28th July 2019 - Phuket to push sustainability agenda during PHIST 2019 conference

20th June 2019 - Thailand resort manager launches Eco Blueprint for Tropical Resorts 

10th May 2019 - PATA reports on food waste in Asia’s tourism industry

28th February 2019 - EVANZ backs Tourism Sustainability Commitment

2nd February 2019 - World Tourism Association launched to combat overtourism

27th February 2019 - IHG expands wellness offerings with acquisition of Six Senses resorts

24th November 2018 - Phuket launches ground breaking ‘No Foam No Plastic’ environmental initiative

21st November 2018 - New UNWTO Report helps cities manage impacts of ‘overtourism’

3rd October 2018 - Overtourism leads to indefinite closure of iconic Thai bay

16th October 2017 - Eco-friendly Banyan Tree resort to open in Singapore’s Mandai wildlife precinct

9th March 2016 - New Maruia Hot Springs resort owners look to expand in international wellness market

12th October 2015 - GSTC and Asian Ecotourism Network Sign Memorandum of Understanding

20th March 2014 - Tourism and sustainability experts highlight need to address Asia’s looming water crisis

4th October 2013 - Conference to explore ecotourism and global tourism megatrends

21st February 2013 - Massive shift in Phuket’s tourism patterns

24th April 2012 - Coastal development destroying Phuket coral reefs

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