PHIST 2019, Asia’s largest travel and tourism sustainability event, was hosted on September 23, as Southeast Asia’s hospitality industry came together in a spirit of collaboration to tackle the critical environmental issues facing resort destinations across the region.
A year on from the inaugural edition of PHIST, the event is catching fire. A record attendance of 1,000 delegates attended this year’s full-day event, which was held at Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa. PHIST is the brainchild of the Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview.
Dedicated to generating fresh ideas and fostering a spirit of cooperation, the action-packed forum included a series of expert panels and discussions covering a range of vital topics, including destination management, development, ocean health, over-tourism, hotel operations and community tourism. There was also a series of practical workshops for green champions, hotel developers and social enterprises and more, plus an exhibition area showcasing green solutions, allowing hoteliers to interact with eco-suppliers.
Speakers at the PHIST 2019 event included local and international experts, including Raini Hamdi, Asia Editor, Skift; Sharry Sun, Global Head of Brand, Travelzoo; Jesper Palmqvist, STR’s Area Director for Asia Pacific; Ang Choo Pin, Expedia’s Senior Director of Government & Corporate Affairs; Guy Heywood, Chief Operating Officer, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas; and Franck Droin, Hotel Manager, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.
PHIST has already shown that it can make a real difference; at last year’s inaugural edition, Phuket Hotels Association’s 74 member hotels agreed to remove plastic water bottles from their properties. In the 12 months since this pledge was made, member hotels experienced a 51% reduction, which equates to over 4.4 million bottles not ending up in landfill sites, or worse, the ocean.