Good News Phuket

Skift Talks About Phuket Sustainability

Asian resort chains claiming sustainability is their core value must be feeling chuffed these days as the travel industry worldwide faces greater scrutiny.

Brands that prospered and grew in Asia, such as Six Senses, Banyan Tree, Como, and Aman Resorts are pushing to be way ahead in eliminating single-use plastics, reducing waste, giving back to communities, promoting ecotourism, and all the other areas of do-good tourism.

This fact is often forgotten in the glare of massive hotel development in the region and its associated problems such as congestion, pollution, and tourist safety.

Six Senses, as our report below shows, is getting rid of plastics completely and is likely the only chain globally that requires owners to set aside a percentage of revenue toward a sustainability fund.

Phuket is leading a new movement for Asia’s tourism islands to be more sustainable. No wonder. Phuket is the most densely populated destination in the world, with 5,090 tourists per square mile, according to a just-released study by Columbus Direct, a travel insurance company. By comparison, the second most densely populated city due to tourism, Palma de Mallorca, has 2,918 visitors per square mile each day.

With more than nine million visitors each year, Phuket sees a total of 25,452 tourists filling its streets and beaches each day. While Bangkok has the highest number of tourists in the world at more than 20 million, the Thai capital receives just 91 tourists per square mile due to its size.

The Phuket Hotels Association, formed just two years ago, has birthed what is now Asia’s largest annual travel and tourism sustainability gathering, with the second event held last week drawing some 1,000 delegates. This included not just hotel general managers but rank-and-file staff and students, in a bid to draw in youths in green discussions.

Unlike somber sustainability forums, the recent Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism, co-organized by C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, had a happy island vibe to it, making a serious topic accessible and winning newbies over to the cause.

The association has also released a Green Hotel Guide featuring best practices from 56 of its 74 members that can help hotels take their first green steps.

Resort destinations are a critical component of Asia’s tourism. It’s a good thing hotels in Phuket, and other islands such as Bali and Boracay who were present at the gathering, have an anchor event to learn from each other.

Thanks to Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, for this feature. Find the full length newsletter here.