By THE NATION
A record attendance of 1,000 delegates attended this year’s one-day event, held at Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa.
PHIST is the brainchild of the Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview.
Dedicated to generating fresh ideas and fostering a spirit of cooperation, the forum included a series of expert panels and discussions covering vital topics including destination management, development, ocean health, over-tourism, hotel operations and community tourism.
There was also a series of practical workshops for green champions, hotel developers and social enterprises, plus an exhibition area showcasing green solutions, allowing hoteliers to interact with eco-suppliers.
Speakers included local and international experts like Raini Hamdi, Asia Editor, Skift; Sharry Sun, global head of brand, Travelzoo; Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s area director for the Asia Pacific; Ang Choo Pin, Expedia’s senior director of Government & Corporate Affairs; Guy Heywood, CEO, 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 Phuket Hotels Association’s 74 members.
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.
“PHIST is becoming one of the most important events on the tourism calendar,” said association president Anthony Lark.
“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. 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,” he added.
“Global tourism is growing at an unprecedented pace, and this is putting unprecedented pressure on resources, communities and the environment,” noted Six Senses COO Guy Heywood. “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. By joining PHIST 2019, we want to create a viable future for Southeast Asia’s tourism industry.”
PHIST has already shown it can make a real difference: at last year’s inaugural event, more than 74 hotels agreed to remove plastic water bottles from their properties.
In the 12 months since this pledge was made, the association’s member hotels experienced a 51 per cent reduction, which equates to more than 4.4 million bottles not ending up in landfill sites, or worse, the ocean.
PHIST 2019 also aimed 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. Thai rappers Rattanachot Srikhongmuang and Kanthep Srikhongmuang won for “Refill Not Landfill”.
You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMUV1p3Advw.