Phuket event makes a good PHIST of tackling sustainability

Phuket is set to push the sustainability agenda when it plays host to PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) come September 23, when the free-to-attend one-day conference organised by Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview takes place at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa.

Over 1,000 delegates – including more than 70 of Phuket’s leading hotels, retailers and other key stakeholders from across the region – are expected to attend the second edition of PHIST to discuss critical environmental issues and devise ways of tackling them head-on.

A key focus at this year’s forum will be on the tourism slump in Phuket, and how sustainable tourism can help drive recovery efforts. The event will be attended by Kanokkrittika Kritwutthikorn, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) director for Phuket, who will speak on how the TAT aims to ensure the island’s longevity by targeting more high-end, eco-conscious travellers.

From left: C9 HotelWorks’ Mr. Bill Barnett; Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Kanokkrittika Kritwutthikorn; Central Pattana Group’s Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree; Blue Tree Phuket’s Mr. Michael Ayling; and Phuket Hotels Association’s Sumi Soorian

“The recent drop in arrivals to Phuket shows just how damaging the boom and bust of mass tourism can be. More than 15,000 new hotel rooms are set to enter the market over the next five years, but who will fill them? Phuket, like all island destinations, needs to develop a sustainable tourism industry that works for the island, is immune to global economic volatility, and ensures the preservation of the island’s natural resources for generations to come,” said Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks.

Another important delegate will be Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree, senior vice-president of Central Pattana Group, who announced at last year’s inaugural PHIST their pledge to stop giving out plastic bags to their customers, resulting in the reduction of over four million plastic bags per month.

Guests at PHIST 2019 will work with the TAT and each other to concoct creative and original ways of managing mass tourism in South-east Asia’s island destinations. By day’s end, the participants will sign a collaborative pledge for the sustainable management of the tourism industry.

At last year’s PHIST, the Phuket Hotels Association’s 71 hotels agreed to remove single-use plastic water bottles from their properties, resulting in a 51 per cent reduction in 2019, and over 4.4 million bottles saved. In addition, Phuket Hotels Association is now launching the Great Big Green Guide, a collection of eco-friendly ideas and practices.

PHIST 2019 will also aim to engage the next generation with a series of children’s workshops and activities. The forum will also feature the finals of Green Beat 60, a film-making contest that invites eco-warriors of all ages to comment on critical issues.

Anthony Lark, president of Phuket Hotels Association, said: “At PHIST 2019, we want to push sustainability to the top of the agenda by tackling the key issue facing Asia’s island destination: The shift from mass tourism to a more sustainable future. We want all visitors to be able to experience our wonderful destinations, but this must be achieved without negatively impacting the environment.”

For more information about PHIST 2019, please visit

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