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Hotels must utilize sustainability and understand "The Green Premium"

Hotels must utilize sustainability and understand “The Green Premium”

Leading players in the region’s hospitality business claim that hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia are failing to grasp the “green premium” and how to use it to draw in quality visitors. One of the key messages from PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism), Southeast Asia’s largest sustainability forum, held this week at SAii Laguna with over 1,000 participants, was that hotels and resorts are lagging behind peers in other regions of the world when it comes to leveraging the advantages associated with sustainable tourism.

“Unlike in Europe or North America, hotel developers in Southeast Asia have generally failed to make sustainability a requirement. It’s a significant divergence, according to Bill Barnett, general director of C9 Hotelworks, a hospitality and real estate advising firm that organized PHIST alongside Greenview and the Phuket Hotels Association.

Star designer Bill Bensley and KP Ho, the founder and executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts and Hotels, were among the other knowledgeable speakers at PHIST who urged resort owners to recognize the broader advantages of sustainable tourism.

Resorts can reduce expenses and earn goodwill by setting the standard for environmentally friendly or thoughtful activities that include farm-to-fork dining, sourcing organic food from nearby farmers, trash management, and energy reduction. By doing this, they may increase their attractiveness to customers who prioritize ethical, environmentally friendly, and — perhaps most significantly — distinctive experiences.

STR Global’s Area Director for Asia Pacific, Jesper Palmqvist, organized a roundtable at PHIST where representatives from prestigious resort brands like Six Senses and Soneva talked about future environmental best practices. He concurred that the Southeast Asian hospitality sector needs to be more proactive about making significant reforms.

It’s critical that the sector creates green champions, best practice guides, and training materials that hotels can customize, said the expert. Also necessary is to put pressure on hotels to obtain worldwide sustainability certification. This would demonstrate a greater desire to adopt new environmental criteria and remain on top of trends.

As some of the largest names in the region’s hospitality industry gathered for PHIST, other debates about how to take advantage of the potential provided by sustainable tourism came to the forefront. Laguna Phuket was transformed by KP Ho into Southeast Asia’s top integrated resort development from a bleak moonscape of scarred land abandoned by the tin mining industry and deemed uninhabitable by the UN.

Some of Asia’s most captivating sustainable tourism experiences have been curated by Bill Bensley. For instance, His Shinta Mani Wild in Cambodia provides upscale camping while using the money raised to protect the area’s protected nature sanctuary from logging, mining, and poaching. This year’s PHIST featured 16 interactive seminars, over 30 exhibitors, and a wide range of subjects for discussion, including the “green premium” and how to influence it.

The circular sustainable economy, green hotel loans and start-up funds, farm-to-table cuisine, environmental hospitality design, data collection, and measurement, greentech innovation, marketing sustainable hotels, water conservation, sustainable wellness, and other topics were discussed during the workshop. The Asia Pacific Outdoor Lodging Association (APOLA), a trade organization created to direct, promote, and structure the development of the region’s growing outdoor lodging industry, was established immediately before PHIST.

The goal of APOLA will be to define regional standards, create awareness, create an accounting system for project financing, and inform the sector about the benefits of this sustainable, low-impact hospitality model.

Source- Travel daily

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