The Six Senses Ko Yao Noi and the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism in Thailand (PHIST) both recently won coveted HICAP 2020 Sustainable Hotel Awards in the category of Positive Community Impact, showcasing how Phuket’s ecotourism efforts are meeting today’s sustainable development challenge.
The annual HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards are designed to recognise hotels in the Asia=Pacific region that create innovative new methods, strategies, and technologies, while providing tangible examples of sustainable best practices that can be replicated and adapted across the region.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, said the two awards show that Phuket is on the right track and can inspire Thailand’s travel industry to do more.
“We’re delighted the Six Senses Yao Noi and PHIST were recognised by HICAP for these two awards. It provides motivation and inspiration for other hotel operators around Thailand to continue to implement sustainable best practices.”
Six Senses Yao Noi shares an island with a community of about 5,000 people who lack a potable water source and are dependent on plastic bottled water, causing an influx of plastic waste over many years.
To address this, Six Senses expanded its Clean Water Project from Cambodia to Ko Yao Noi, and other provincial communities, providing free access to clean drinking water using on-site water filtration and glass bottling. Fifty per cent of the revenue generated from the sale of Six Senses drinking water to resort guests goes directly to clean water projects in the local community.
Cost savings were also realised by sending the hotel’s engineering team to install the equipment. This builds stronger bonds with the communities that are encouraged to utilise the clean water systems by refilling their reusable water bottles at no cost. To date, Six Senses Yao Noi’s Clean Water Project is active in more than 32 locations, including 15 filtration and dispensing units on Ko Yao Noi, improving lives by providing access to clean drinking water. Assuming an average of two bottles per person per day means over 73 million plastic bottles are eliminated annually by this programme.
The resort also addresses water stewardship holistically. All water used within the resort and host compound comes from the resort’s own water reservoir. Waste water is treated on-site and grey water is recycled for irrigation in landscaping. Community programmes have then helped improve local access to education and medical facilities that have involved habitat restoration in addition to eliminating plastic.
In the category of Positive Community Impact, the second winner is the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism (PHIST) in Thailand. Co-organised by the Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks, and Greenview, PHIST is a first-of-its-kind, innovative annual event rallying the hotel industry and its stakeholders for sustainability and community benefit.
Attracting over 1,000 delegates annually, PHIST serves as a model for sustainability gatherings, offering free admission and integrating local students and speakers of diverse age, gender and ethnicity alongside top hotel and travel professionals to challenge the status quo by driving an action agenda, not just talk.
During the first PHIST event, 71 hotels signed the ‘Phuket Pledge’ to eliminate single-use plastic bottles resulting in a 51% reduction and 4.4 million bottles avoided in 2019. The Great Big Green Guide, a collection of eco-friendly ideas and practices, was also launched during the event. PHIST also works to inspire the next generation with a series of children’s workshops and activities.
Supported and sponsored by Horwath HTL, HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific) has been the annual gathering place for the Asia-Pacific’s hotel investment community attracting the most influential owners, developers, lenders, executives, and professional advisors from around the globe. HICAP is the industry’s must-attend event (virtual in 2020) for those looking to make new contacts, strengthen existing relationships, or orchestrate new development deals.