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Virtual gathering at Asia’s largest sustainable tourism event pushes for environmental action

Virtual gathering at Asia’s largest sustainable tourism event pushes for environmental action
July 28, 2020

This year’s virtual one day Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism event (PHIST) will challenge the status quo and drive the agenda for environmental action.

The agenda will embrace the new era of travel and hospitality, in a post-COVID-19 world. Delegates will hear about the post-crisis efforts to prevent over-tourism, the dynamic shift away from mass markets, strategies to conserve natural attractions, the quantification of green travel, farm-to-fork dining, rewilding, renewable energy and more.

An immersive all-day forum, PHIST 2020 will include talks from trailblazing figures on the latest travel trends, educational masterclasses on renewable energy, post-COVID-19 hygiene, green meetings and corporate sustainability for small hotels, an interactive “Virtual Green Groove” exhibition showcasing eco products and services from tech providers, and plenty of digital networking opportunities with speakers, experts and other delegates.

Over 1,200 of the industry’s leading figures are expected to attend this socially-distant online gathering, which will include keynote addresses, interactive sessions, educational workshops and a green exhibition.

The original edition of PHIST 2020 was scheduled to take place in Phuket on 7th September, but this was before the global COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption to the travel landscape. In the spirit of innovation and resilience, this forward-thinking conference will now move into the digital world with a unique single day schedule.

Running from 9am to 6:30pm, the free-to-join, conference will see Asia’s top travel professionals come together to shake up the industry, ask difficult questions, and listen to young voices who want to change the world. By the end of the day, PHIST will have created a set of resolutions that will set Asia’s tourism and hospitality industries on the path towards a brighter, cleaner future.

This year’s keynote speaker, Bill Bensley (pictured above), the Creative Director at BENSLEY and mastermind behind many of Asia’s most eclectic and eye-catching properties, will discuss the subject of sustainable hotels in his own inimitable style. He will be joined by the eminent marine biologist Dr. Thamrongnawasawat, who helped to save Thailand’s Maya Bay from ecological disaster, the CEOs of two leading luxury hotel groups, Neil Jacobs (pictured below) of Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas and James Riley of Mandarin Oriental, President of the Phuket Hotels Association Anthony Lark, and many others.

PHIST co-founder Bill Barnett advises “this time last year, nobody could have imagined the situation we now find ourselves in. COVID-19 has turned the industry on its head, but every crisis creates opportunities and this situation could spur a revolution in sustainable travel.

“Making PHIST a virtual event has allowed us to break down geographic barriers and actually attract a larger audience. One of the most heart-warming aspects of the lockdown was seeing how quickly the environment regenerated without people. This shows us clearly what can be achieved, and maybe it was the wake-up call the world needed. At PHIST 2020, we will see how travel industry is rising to the challenge and using green solutions to solve our manmade problems.”

PHIST 2020 is organised by the Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks, with support from the American Chamber of Commerce Thailand, QUO and Delivering Asia Communications. Attendance is free, including sessions, the exhibition and networking with pre-registration required.

This year, participants are also being encouraged to donate during registration to the Phuket Hotels Association’s Green Planet Learning Hub initiative, which will teach environmental practices to over 5,000 Thai schoolchildren per year.

To learn more about PHIST 2020 and to register your place at this must-attend event, please visit https://phist.phukethotelsassociation.com.

Images centre keynote speaker, Bill Bensley - the Creative Director at BENSLEY and image above Neil Jacobs of Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas

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