Thai Garden Resort environmental award reflects hotel philosophy, investments

Thursday, 14 July 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 28 By  Peter Kühlwein

From eliminating individual packets of butter to installing solar panels, the Thai Garden Resort’s award-winning commitment to environmental conservation is a mix of management philosophy and financial investment.

The Pattaya hotel recently was awarded the Travelife gold-level award from British travel association ABTA for a “very high commitment” to sustainable tourism and the hotel’s encouragement of others to do the same. General Manager Rene Pisters said winning the certification was a grueling process, but worth in the end.

Thai Garden GM Rene Pisters takes guests out for a morning ride.Thai Garden GM Rene Pisters takes guests out for a morning ride.

“Travelife conducts comprehensive hotel checkups,” Pisters said. “There are unannounced visits by the Travelife inspectors, who check the energy invoices, do interviews with the hotel staff and survey the use of chemical agents at the hotel, to mention only a very small part of the tests.”

Showers and toilets are checked for their water consumption and as the circumstances require, measures have to be adopted to lower the water expenditure, he said. Sometimes the measures are as simple as putting liter-bottles of water inside a toilet’s water tank. In other cases, water-pressure is lowered to drop consumption.

“But of course it won’t work without some investment,” Pisters admitted. “We installed solar panels on our roofs and are able to provide the whole resort with hot water from the solar system. We lowered our gas consumption by 80 percent.”

Water is also heated by the hot air churned out by compressors on the hotel’s many refrigerators and freezers, something normal households could do, he said. The resort also collects and filters shower water to its gardens, lowering water use further.

Then there’s simply the decisions of management: Small, individually packed portions of butter, marmalade or cosmetics have been banned from breakfast tables and restrooms due to the copious amount of plastic waste involved.

The new solar panels on the hotel roof.The new solar panels on the hotel roof.

“We are just one hotel business out of many in Pattaya and we can only contribute our own share to protect the environment,” Pisters said. “But imagine what savings potential there is in all of the city’s 703 hotels?”

By utilizing Travelife tools, which ABTA promotes to help hotels and tour operators monitor and manage their social and environmental impacts, the Thai Garden Resort encourages guests to get involved in conservation. Towels and bedding are only changed on demand. An extra key must be used to turn on power.

“If you are on a day trip, you don’t let the water run in your room all day long. So, why should the electricity be turned on during that time?” Pisters asked. “We purchased the best Daikin air conditioners available for our guests and cooling a room down to the desired temperature requires just a few minutes.”

Hotel staffers are proud of having won the Travelife recognition and realize many holidaymakers are looking for “green” hotels. As part of its membership, Thai Garden Resort must promote the Travelife product on its brochure.

“Travelers study their travel brochures and check for the hotel category first. But they also look for other aspects to make up their decision and environmental aspects are fundamental and a growing issue in this decision making process,” the general manager said.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:15
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