PHIST 2019: Protecting Phuket and the Planet

Last Updated
10 April 2020

Phuket has been drowning in discarded single-use plastics for years, but the tides may be turning. 

Yesterday, the second-annual Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism Forum (PHIST) convened at Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa. The event was attended by hoteliers representing the islands top hotel chains—coming together to discuss strategies that more promote more sustainable island tourism.

Topics covered certainly included the usual suspects—replacing plastic straws with paper and using glass water bottles on their properties among them. There was also a great deal of spirited discussion.

During a panel on plastic waste entitled ‘Let’s Talk Trash’, QUO CEO David Keen was joined by his daughter Ani Keen, a featured NextGen speaker, along with Guy Heywood, COO of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.

In their discussion, Guy noted the trickle-up effect of the sustainability efforts of smaller resort chains, mentioning the game-changing news that IHG plans to eliminate single-use plastic amenity bottles from all of their hotel rooms. Once rolled out, he noted that as many as 300 million bottles will be saved from landfills by this one decision.

David is doubly focused on this issue because of its connection to local culture. In his mind, culture is so strongly tied to the environment that it’s impossible to look at climate change issues without seeing their impact on local heritage. Protecting the environment is paramount to preserving culture, the basis of tourism in many destinations.

PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism) forum is one of Asia’s largest sustainability conferences with over 1,000 people attending the daylong event at Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa. Organised by Phuket Hotels Association (PHA), the event also covered green design, marketing sustainability and more, providing a chance for members of Gen Z – like Ani – to address today’s hospitality leaders and discuss issues with long-lasting impact. This year’s forum stepped up to start important conversations in the hospitality and tourism field – and left industry leaders with a lot to think about.

As the event’s promo video said, “Phuket’s brand is the beach. We need to take care of it.”

Interested in what else Phuket’s hotels are doing to go green? The PHA collected reports from 74 member hotels on their green initiatives to create the Great Big Green Hotel Guide. Full of environmental best practices and case studies, the GBGHG showcases the way to sustainability. The guide was put together with the help of QUO and launched at yesterday’s forum. 

Catch a glimpse of the Great Big Green Hotel Guide to see how Southeast Asia’s eco-conscious hotels are tackling hospitality’s biggest environmental issues.


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