On 10-11 May 2010, about 70 hotel operators from Phuket and nearby provinces joined this informative free seminar & workshop at Club Andaman Beach Resort in Patong on ‘Sustainability in Accommodation Sector: practical tools for integrating biodiversity practices in tourism businesses’. The event was hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and co-organized by the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP), Agence Francaise De Development (AFD), with technical support by Kenan Institute Asia (KIA).
The 1st day sessions centered on ‘sustainable management practices for the accommodation sector’; such as ‘tourism, hospitality and environment: impacts and solutions’, ‘environment management systems’ and ‘sustainable sitting, design and construction of tourism facilities’. An afternoon session discussed certification by the Tourism Sustainability Council and the Green Leaf Program presented by senior officials, plus practical sessions with the ENVIROTEL e-tools.
They also had a tour of Club Andaman’s impressive environmental programs set around its large tropical garden in the middle of modern Patong.
The 2nd day featured participating operators such as representatives from C&N Resort in KhoKao Island, Fair House Villa & Spa at Koh Samui, & Le Meridien hotel in Phuket who joined a panel of discussion and presented their operations in a session called ‘Tourism biodiversity and the accommodation sector’. Later panelists from World Wildlife Fund, Marine National Park Research Center in Phuket, UNEP and KIA discussed ‘biodiversity resources of Andaman coast and the threats they are facing’. In the afternoon Kasikorn Bank and AFD presented details of their credit line project to bring potential cost saving benefits through green sustainable policies.
When Phuketindex visited towards the end of the 2nd day, Mr Oines from Six Senses Resorts & Spas, including Evason hotels, was showing some of their award winning environmental ideas. All sessions were translated into Thai or English by interpreters.
Mr Stefanos Fotiou, Regional Coordinator for Resource Efficiency at UNEP, based in Bangkok, told Phuketindex that the seminar was successful in attracting a broad range of experts, producing good feedback and ideas for solutions to environmental problems, and ways to save natural resources and money, during these tough times. He said Club Andaman and Phuket was a suitable host and site, just as the local hotels begin their low quieter but green season, during the rainy monsoons. He also praised His Majesty the King’s sufficiency economy theories and practices which are applicable to sustainable tourism in Thailand.
He showed us the comprehensive handbook, containing all the extensive workshop material, multimedia CDs on ‘sowing the seeds of change’ teaching pack and ‘Green Passport’ mini-book for hotel guests & travellers, which were all freely given out to participants.
The Green Passport in particular has some very useful tips and ideas for Phuketindex readers to think about, to help make tourism a sustainable activity, that is not only respectful of the environment but that is also good for the economic and social development of the communities that may be your hosts. There are tips for every stage of a journey, including pre-departure planning and things you can do after your return. It may surprise some but for example it states:
” ….For each individual traveller, a 14-day holiday from Europe to Thailand may cause emission of 2.4 tonnes of CO2, …… In fact, the emissions resulting from a single holiday can greatly exceed the yearly emissions of an average world citizen (4.3 tonnes of CO2/yr)…”
For more details on this mini-book see www.unep.org/greenpassport/ and for details on future seminars in this region contact Stefanos.Fotiou@unep.org
Question for readers: How much do you think about the environment when booking a hotel or holiday?