The Phuket Hotels Association has announced a new annual international forum called PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism), which will be held on the island for the first time in September to support the region’s hospitality industry in its fight for a sustainable future.
The PHIST Forum 2018 will take place on 24 September 2018 at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa and is co-organised by C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, consultants to the regional hospitality industry. The event will bring together Southeast Asia’s key tourism and hospitality stakeholders – particularly those operating in island destinations – to explore solutions to Southeast Asia’s most pressing environmental issues.
“We simply cannot continue overlooking the impacts”
““Island tourism in Southeast Asia is at a critical juncture; we simply cannot continue overlooking the impacts. Risks are real and sustainability must be the driving force behind future growth. But how do we change and adapt to the challenges we face, then catalyse solutions across the region? Education is the key and PHIST will create a forum for positive action,” commented Eric Ricaurte, founder and CEO of Greenview.
PHIST forum is of particular relevance to hotels in tourist island hotspots such Phuket, Bali, Boracay and Koh Samui, as well as up-and-coming destinations like Phu Quoc. The programme will feature a series of expert panels, themed talks, technical workshops and roundtable discussions covering topics such as sustainable operations, destination development, ocean health, corporate sustainability, community tourism, and effective responses to over-tourism.
The event is expecting 500 delegates from around the Asia region, raising awareness and driving change within the industry. Due to the importance of the topics, all the sessions will be free to attend.
“A crisis without borders”
“Environmental destruction is a crisis without borders and the hospitality industry needs to collaborate, find answers, and come up with a regional action plan,” said Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks. “We can literally use PHIST to fight for our sustainable survival,” he added.
The Phuket Hotels Association will use PHIST 2018 as an opportunity to showcase its “People.Planet.Phuket” campaign, which aims to educate local island communities and visitors about the importance of the “Three Rs” – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The campaign brings together 70+ member hotels in an education initiative targeting Phuket’s schools, designed to promote environmental protection and support. The community-based programme uses specially created anime characters, including “The Phist”, a school teacher-turned-superhero who fights and defeats polluting enemies like plastic straws, plastic bottles and oil waste in the ocean.
“Sustainability is the most vital issue facing the tourism and hospitality industries across Southeast Asia in the 21st century. Action must be taken now to ensure the future viability of destinations in this beautiful region. Through PHIST, we aim to provide hoteliers and stakeholders with the knowledge and tools they need to face the challenges,” said Anthony Lark, president of Phuket Hotels Association.
PHIST is supported by major tourism organisations, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention and Events Bureau (TCEB) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AUSTCHAM).
Phuket governor Norrapat Plodthong will open the event, and speakers will include: Neil Jacobs, CEO, Six Senses Resorts; Willem Niemeijer, CEO, YAANA Ventures; Bill Barnett, managing director, C9 Hotelworks; and Eric Ricaurte, founder and CEO, Greenview.
Several major hotel groups have already signed up for PHIST, including Anantara, IHG, Hyatt and Marriott International. Other global organisations in attendance will include the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Bank, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The forum will also include a Green Suppliers’ Exhibition.