New Phuket forum spotlights sustainable island tourism in SE Asia

Hotels that have signed up include Anantara, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt and Marriott International

The Phuket Hotels Association will inaugurate a new annual forum to support the South-east Asian hospitality industry in its fight for a sustainable future.

Co-organised by C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, the first edition of the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism (PHIST) forum will be held at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa on September 24, 2018.

Hotels that have signed up for the inaugural forum include Anantara, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt and Marriott International

The programme will feature a series of expert panels, themed talks, technical workshops and roundtable discussions covering topics such as sustainable operations, destination development, ocean health, corporate sustainability, community tourism and responses to overtourism. All the sessions will be free to attend.

The forum will also include a Green Suppliers’ Exhibition.

Phuket governor Norrapat Plodthong will open the event, and speakers will include Six Senses’ chief executive Neil Jacobs; Yaana Ventures’ CEO Willem Niemeijer, C9 Hotelworks’ managing director Bill Barnett, and Greenview’s founder and CEO Eric Ricaurte.

“Island tourism in South-east Asia is at a critical juncture; we simply cannot continue overlooking the impacts. Risks are real and sustainability must be the driving force behind future growth. But how do we change and adapt to the challenges we face, then catalyse solutions across the region? Education is the key and PHIST will create a forum for positive action,” commented Greenview’s Ricaurte.

According to a joint statement from the organisers, PHIST is of particular relevance to hotels in tourist island hotspots such Phuket, Bali, Boracay and Koh Samui, as well as up-and-coming destinations like Phu Quoc.

Among the hotel groups that have already signed up for PHIST are Anantara, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt and Marriott International. Other global organisations in attendance will include the World Wide Fund for Nature, the World Bank and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Phuket Hotels Association will also use PHIST 2018 as an opportunity to showcase its “People.Planet.Phuket” campaign, which aims to educate local island communities and visitors about the importance of the “Three Rs” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

“Environmental destruction is a crisis without borders and the hospitality industry needs to collaborate, find answers and come up with a regional action plan,” said Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

The event is supported by major tourism organisations, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention and Events Bureau, the American Chamber of Commerce and Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce.

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