Phuket Tourism Commit to Plastic Free Future
The “Phuket Pledge” was signed by leading hotel and tourism groups at the Phuket Hotels for Island Sustaining Tourism Forum 2018 (PHIST). This pledge established a model for future development of islands throughout Asia, sets immediate goals and embraces sustainability for long-term change in the region.
Single-use plastic is the major target. The “Phuket Pledge” commits to reduce, reuse, recycle and eliminate single-use plastic in all hotels and resorts. The stakeholders also pledged to undertake a grassroots awareness approach by initiating a youth community education program. This would ensure that the community would receive awareness of the critical problems with plastic usage and disposal on the island.
“Plastic reduction has been at the core of our company sustainability efforts for over a decade,” said Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas President Bernhard Bohnenberger. “The industry is finally waking up to this issue, but we need coordination and action to make tangible change and see results. This is what we hope PHIST will go a long way to achieving.”
PHIST is supported by the Ministry of Sports and Tourism and was the largest hospitality event in Asia to promoted sustainability in region. Gathered at the JW Marriott Mai Khao in Phuket, over 550 delegates from countries including Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore where there to discuss key issues.
Adding an extra dynamic to the event, a Green Groove area was headlined for regional suppliers to promote and exhibit some of Asia’s newest technology of sustainable products for the tourism and hospitality industries.
Global press has focused on environmental and sustainability stories in the past year, a number of them focusing on Asian islands. Thailand’s thriving tourist industry stood up to the task by closing popular Maya Bay in Phi Phi Island and the Philippines closed Boracay to allow environmental regeneration.
The issue of sustainable tourism in Asian islands has become a top focus point in the region with 10 Bali’s campaign in Indonesia and the development of marine tourism in Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
“We need to fight for Phuket. It is as simple as that. And we can’t do it alone. We need to do it together,” said Phuket Hotel Association President and Managing Director of Trisara, Anthony Lark. “We have worked to build an inclusive coalition of public and private sector tourism groups who understand the critical need to act and think long term. We hope the Phuket Pledge will be a start and ultimately become a model for us and other islands regionally to come together for the sake of sustainable island tourism in Asia.”
The Deputy Governor of Phuket, Khun Prakob Wongmaneerung opened the ceremonies and the program featured experts on sustainability, marine and coastal tourism, community tourism and youth education. Included were Hotels Association Vice President & Environmental Chairperson Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, Central Pattana Senior Vice President Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau Senior Manager Pat Satkhum, Tajara Leisure & Hospitality Group CEO Cyndy Tan Jarabata from the Philippines and Horwath HTL Indonesia Matt Gebbie.
PHIST is co-organized by Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks led by Managing Director Bill Barnett and Greenview CEO Eric Ricaurte. Sponsorship and endorsement is from the Ministry of Sports and Tourism, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Thai Hotel Association, Central Phuket, BMW, Blue Tree Phuket, C9 Hotelworks, Greenview, AmCham, QUO and Delivering Asia Communications.