Artist, architect and icon of design to a million hoteliers across the world, Bill Bensley was the big top speaker at last night’s Thailand Tourism Forum (TTF) 2020, event.
Hosted on the fourth floor of the InterContinental Bangkok, the event — dubbed the Big Bang saw Bensley launch his self-penned whitepaper ‘Sensible Sustainable Solutions‘, an “open-sourced” action plan for Thai hoteliers to implement all the eco-responsible and, crucially, profitable wisdom that the artist has built over thirty years in the industry, to help fight climate change.
Speaking bluntly, to a rapt, thousand-strong crowd, Bensley said: “The key question is: do you want your children and grandchildren to live on a scorched planet, where the forests have been destroyed, the sea is full of plastic, the air is poisonous and wildlife has collapsed? Or do you want to work towards a fresher future, where buildings breathe, everything we eat is organic and the natural world flourishes? You decide…”
The profitable aspect of the whitepaper was backed up with insightful data in a fascinating presentation from STR, where area director of the Asia Pacific, Jesper Palmqvist put a positive outlook on recent Thai tourism figures. As well as outlining a case study detailing how wasteful, non-sustainable policies lead to a loss in revenue and future earnings for hotels, contrasted with a breakdown of a more environmentally responsible, and financially buoyant property.
That much of Palmqvist’s presentation was delivered through the medium of rap, made it all the more engaging.
Also taking to the stage was some of Thailand’s next-generation talents, who lead the debate on modern millennial issues. These included Bonn Paramacharoenroj, associate director of business development for YOO Worldwide, who urged Thailand to cash in on the cannabis tourism revolution, and Khongchanok (A-care) Paepipatmongkol, innovation project manager at Fuchsia Muang Thai Life Assurance, who discussed cross-industry collaboration, and how the Thai tourism industry can enhance the customer experience by working with other industries.
TTF host and co-organiser Bill Barnett, MD of C9 Hotelworks, said: “While Thailand continues to focus on the elusive target of 40 million international visitors, the industry continues to cannibalise itself by degrading and destroying the very environment that makes it so attractive. Alarm bells are ringing and we want TTF 2020 to be the wake-up call the country needs to stop it sleepwalking into disaster.”