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Thailand’s Pimalai Resort looks to establish itself as world leading ecotourism destination
Since it opened 20 years ago -Thailand’s Pimalai Resort and Spa - located overlooking the Andaman Sea, has been working to protect the pristine ecosystems in and around Koh Lanta. Now, this natural five-star retreat is embarking on the next exciting phase of its environmental mission - to establish itself as a world-leading ecotourism destination.
Having successfully achieved its previous five-year environmental targets, which included energy, waste and water reduction, Pimalai has now launched an even more ambitious 10-year plan to tackle the most pressing issues and establish Koh Lanta as a leading ecotourism destination. Set in collaboration with Green Globe, these new goals include a 15% drop in electricity use per occupied room, a 10% reduction of water usage per day, a 5% decline in waste consumption, and a 5% increase in its use of responsibly-sourced items. Perhaps most importantly of all, Pimalai is striving for a 20% reduction of its carbon footprint by the end of the decade.
Koh Lanta and the surrounding Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which covers 39% of the district, is a pure and peaceful corner of Thailand that is easily accessible – just a five-minute boat ride from the mainland – but feels a lifetime away from the country’s busy tourist resorts. Comprising four idyllic island groups and home to only around 30,000 residents, this enchanting area has developed at its own leisurely pace. When international borders reopen, visitors will be able to see Koh Lanta in all its glory following the annual six-month closure of the national park, which runs from May to October to help revive and replenish marine life.
Nestled in 100 acres of tropical jungle on the main island, cascading gently down to a 900 metre stretch of white sand, Pimalai is a haven of tranquility. The resort’s connection with the Earth is ingrained in its very existence; when founder Khun Anurat Tiyaphorn developed the resort, he took every possible step not to disturb the native flora and fauna; channelling rainwater from the mountains, retaining trees and dividing the project into phases to ensure that each area had time to recover.
In the two decades since its launch, Pimalai has grown in harmony with Koh Lanta and its community – on land and at sea. The resort has initiated numerous programs such as weekly garbage collections, organic farming, coral propagation, clownfish breeding, mangrove growing and coastal cleaning. International travellers can see these programmes in action during their eco-sensitive escape, while also immersing themselves in traditional southern Thai culture.
Pimalai works alongside islanders and supports local businesses such as Aunty Bee’s Eco Handicraft, which sells bags made from recycled products, The Local Gondola, which operates non-motorised mangrove tours, and Tung Yee Peng Market, which sells authentic arts and crafts. By working with Following Giants, Pimalai is also helping to return elephants to the wild, and regular collaborations with schools are helping to educate the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.
Its day-to-day operations are similarly sustainable; Pimalai has been a leader in abolishing polystyrene and single-use plastics, including food containers and vacuum wrapping in its kitchens, and has installing energy-efficient fixtures and fittings, such as lights, air-conditioning units and water pumps. It is successfully reducing food waste, water usage and paper, and it even provides waste management services for the entire island. Pimalai is also on track to complete a series of key projects, such as the adoption of new containers made of compostable or recycled materials and the digitisation of all front and back office processes, thus eliminating harmful electronic waste.
“Ever since our resort was founded, we have pledged to work in harmony with the entire island. Tourism needs to be sustainable; we cannot simply take away from our natural resources without giving anything back in return. We need form part of a circular economy that reduces our reliance on the planet and instead creates benefits for the whole of society. At Pimalai, we are proud to drive change in this direction. Our new 10-year targets will help us to establish Koh Lanta as a world-leading destination for responsible tourism and a beacon of hope for other communities, as we strive to create a better world,” said Charintip Tiyaphorn, the representative of Pimalai’s owner.
For guests, the results of Pimalai’s strategy are already clear to see; fresh white sand, crystal clear seas, native plants such as banyan trees, coconut palms, cashew nuts, jasmine, bird of paradise flowers, and even century-old, 80-metre-tall ton yang trees, and wildlife such as monitor lizards, eagles, hornbills and even dolphins. But the resort’s commitment runs much deeper than what can be seen with the naked eye; Pimalai is working hand-in-hand with schools, educating the next generation, and even enabling employment opportunities for students, including three- to six-month internships.
By engaging with local people, and especially with youngsters, Pimalai is striving to create a brighter future for the whole of Koh Lanta.
To learn more about Pimalai’s green targets, please visit pimalai.com/being-green.
To learn more about Pimalai Resort & Spa, please visit www.pimalai.com.
12th May 2021 - Thailand’s Banyan Village launches long stay wellness programs
31st March 2021 - Phuket first to open without quarantine in Thailand
12th January 2021 - Thailand’s tourism sector continues to reopen safely and slowly
6th January 2021 - Thailand welcomes the New Year with 25,000 eco-friendly firework display
23rd December 2020 - Thailand looks to slow and safe border reopening to international visitors
3rd December 2020 - New initiative sees Banyan Thailand expand its ‘Stay & Play’ golf promotion
13th November 2020 - Thailand’s Banyan Golf Club launches inaugural Golf Classic and Open Day
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