Green Leaf pushes Thai hotels to ban smoking by guests, staff

Friday, 07 October 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 40 By  Manoon Makpol

Academics, bureaucrats, business executives and environmental advocates are encouraging all of Thailand’s hotels to become no-smoking zones, arguing that the country’s 2008 public-smoking ban has been surprisingly positive for tourism.

At a Sept. 29 meeting sponsored by the Green Leaf Foundation at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Jeerapol Sinthunawa, an environment and natural resources assistant professor at Mahidol University, said hotels that have become “smoke free” have seen their bookings increase.

Hotels owners feared negative fallout from the 2008 law, which theoretically bans smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places, but is generally unenforced.

Jeerapol Sinthunawa, an environment and natural resources assistant professor at Mahidol University, is encouraging hotels to ban smoking by guests and staff. Jeerapol Sinthunawa, an environment and natural resources assistant professor at Mahidol University, is encouraging hotels to ban smoking by guests and staff.

“But it turns out that hotels received positive responses from tourists. It is expected that Thai and international tourists would rather choose health-conscious hotels, reserve smoke-free rooms for their stay, dine in smoke-free restaurants and visit hotel-destinations that are smoke-free too,” he said.

Shashawan Suphotyanotn, vice president of Green Leaf in Thailand, which works with hotels to adopt recycling, energy conservation, alternative fuels and health-conscious business practices, said more needs to be done to make hotels truly smoke-free and healthy.

He said resorts should promote health and services including the participation of employees and people staying in the hotels. Green Leaf has identified nine areas to focus on, including health massage and spa; gym, swimming pool and field-activities; cleaning employees; kitchen and restaurants; health conscious and environment friendly engineering; health promoting meetings and healthy tourism.

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