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Thursday 7 September 2023

Asian hoteliers urged to take "green" message on board

Hotels and resorts around south-east Asia are failing to understand the “green premium” and how to leverage it to attract quality guests, leading figures in the region’s hospitality industry heard this week.

The message that hotels and resorts are falling behind counterparts in other parts of the globe when it comes to capitalizing on the benefits associated with sustainable tourism was one of the major takeaways from PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism), south-east Asia’s largest sustainability forum. 

The event was held this week at SAii Laguna on Bang Tao Beach, where over 1,000 participants attended.
“Hotel developers in south-east Asia have broadly failed to make sustainably a must as they do in Europe or North America. It’s a massive disconnect,” said Bill Barnett, managing director of hospitality and real estate advisory group C9 Hotelworks and a co-organiser of PHIST, together with Greenview and the Phuket Hotels Association.

Other expert speakers at PHIST included star designer Bill Bensley and KP Ho, the founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels. They urged resort owners to become more cognisant of the wider benefits associated with sustainable tourism.

They were told a green message can enhance appeal to clients who place a premium value on experiences that are ethical, sustainable, and unique.

Jesper Palmqvist, STR Global’s area director for Asia Pacific, hosted a roundtable at PHIST where figures from top resort names such as Six Senses and Soneva discussed environmental best practices moving forward. 

He said the hospitality industry in south-east Asia needs to be more proactive about enacting meaningful changes.

“It’s important that the industry develops green champions, best practice documents and training modules that can be modified by hotels,” he said. 

“Furthermore, hotels need to be pressured into fulfilling international sustainability certification. This would show more ambition to adopt new criteria relating to the environment and thus stay ahead of the curve.”

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