Anthony Lark, President of Phuket Hotels Association talked to TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific about the targets and the future investments of Phuket Hotels Association, as well as the sustainability practices the Association is taking into consideration.
TravelDailyNews: PHIST is an initiative of the Phuket Hotels Association for sustainable practices in hotels and in tourism management. How did you decide to take this initiative?
Anthony Lark: The Phuket Hotels Association's Environment working group and our entire 68-strong hotel membership are comitted operate our properties in environmentally friendly ways. However, in many cases they lacked information, access to suppliers of products and local examples of how to facilitate such changes.
The environment working group was also inundated by suppliers trying to get news of their products to hotels, so the idea to combine education opportunities (workshops and forums), with a trade show / exhibition evolved into the PHIST event, which was escalted to include forums, workshops and discussions to bring an alliance of change to Phuket.
TDN: Is there a specific list of actions that each hotel member of your Association has to follow and if yes which are those?
A.L.: There is no specific list of actions- the Phuket Hotels Association provides education to member hotels, support to facilitate change, best practice peer support between members and lists of suppliers with alternatives to single use plastic, sustainable products and methods. However, each members has pledged to remove plastic drinkiung water bottles from rooms and plastic straws as well, as a first step.
TDN: Which specific results have you observed until today and which are your targets?
A.L.: Appreciating the different brand requirements and circumstances of our membership we have decided to focus initially on two areas:- removing plastic drinking water bottles from guest rooms and removing plastic straws from member hotels. We have a plan to support member hotels to reach these goals in 2019, and whilst this is a first step, we hope to also help the membership with solutions to reduce plastic from kitchens and hosekeeping as well. The biggest changes we note is in the mindset of General Managers and owners, who are now all coming board to plan real changes that will make a real difference.
TDN: What is the level of investment and resources each hotel needs to allocate in order be 100% sustainable, if this is possible?
A.L.: That is a complex question to answer and the figures will vary from property to property. Each of our member hotels has different circumstances and often Brand guidelines to fulfill. Change is not just about willingness - we prefer to take this one step at a time and move forward slowly to a more sustainable operation. Some hotels have many initiatives and others are just beginning to embrace change. Our membership work together to offer support and advice to each other and our mutual goal - the preservation of Phuket.
TDN: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle plastic is your tagline. Do the hotels or Phuket have the relevant resources and infastructure to recycle?
A.L.: Hotels want to recycle - as well as significantly reduce the single use items we have in hotels. We are starting to look into this further and see if the existing infrastructure can support the ideas we have for recycling if there are gaps or other issues we can work together with the local authorities to improve. We are collaborating now with local government, non-government and private sector to analyse and get a clearer picture of recycling facilities and processes.