From left: Kevin Deisser, CEO & Founder of Invest Islands; Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association; Hope Uy, Managing Director of South Palms Resort in Panglao; and Eric Ricaurte, founder & CEO of Greenview. — Photo by Phuket Hotels Association

PHUKET, THAILAND - PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism), Southeast Asia’s biggest and best responsible travel and hospitality forum, returned on Monday 26th September to deliver a knockout blow to unsustainable tourism in Southeast Asia! Back as a live, in-person gathering, this fast-paced event tackled the key topics impacting the region and supported the green recovery of hotels and tourism operators following the global pandemic.

Hosted at ACES, Angsana Laguna Phuket, the theme of this year’s PHIST was Muay Thai, the high-energy, culturally-rich sport of Thai boxing, which has gained fame and popularity around the world and represents the battle to preserve authentic art, heritage and tradition. Muay Thai fighters from Australia, Brazil, Thailand and the USA faced off in the main hall of ACES on Monday in a series of “super fights”.

Following these physical battles, keynote speakers delivered verbal blows as they provided unique insights on the critical issues facing the industry, including community tourism, green operations, ocean health, destination management, post-COVID trends and more. This included the “Rumble in the Jungle” – seven verbal bouts between two speakers, culminating in a battle of the heavyweights.

A series of expert-led workshops focused on practical subjects such as “Green Finance for Hotels,” “Zero Waste” and “Materials for Sustainable Tourism,” and a Green Expo presented a comprehensive selection of innovative, eco-friendly products from approximately 30 exhibitors. Finally, delegates were able to discuss the day’s events with evening networking drinks.

Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks and the co-founder & co-organiser of PHIST, said: “We are so pleased that PHIST returned this week as a live, face-to-face event. The global pandemic disrupted every aspect of our lives, but perhaps if it had one positive outcome it is that it forced the world to live, work and think more sustainably. At PHIST 5, we dug deep into the most important trends effecting the industry and delivered practical, workable solutions that hoteliers and business owners can use to boost their operations at this challenging time – and future-proof them for years to come.”

Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, commented: “Last year, even when many businesses were struggling to stay above water, we saw the travel trade come together at our virtual forum to advance the cause of sustainability. This week, as 500 delegates from across Southeast Asia met face-to-face at PHIST 5, we were able to share more ideas and put our pledges into action. Collaboration is the key – when people come together, great things can happen. What we decided at PHIST can drive positive benefits for your business and the entire region. It was great to see everyone jumping in the ring and getting involved!”

Hope Uy, Managing Director of South Palms Resort in Panglao, stated: “Islands such as Panglao and Phuket feel environmental and social issues even more acutely than other destinations. Fresh water, waste disposal, coral bleaching; these are not only concepts – they impact our lives and operations on a day-to-day basis. The only sustainable solution is to work hand-in-hand with communities and to create a circular economy. I was delighted to come together with like-minded people at PHIST 5 to share our experiences and offer workable solutions.”

Kevin Deisser, CEO & Founder of Invest Islands, added: “In a diverse archipelago such as Indonesia, preserving the integrity of island life is at the heart of everything with do. Every development we undertake must have a positive impact on local people, and, if undertaken in the right way, this will drive long-term benefits to all parties. In Indonesia and across Southeast Asia, indigenous people have already established highly sustainable ways of life. As outsiders, tourism providers and developers need to work with the islanders and learn from them.”

Eric Ricaurte, founder & CEO of Greenview, concluded: “Prior to the pandemic, traveller mindsets were already changing. Now, with travel and tourism at a crossroads, people are wanting more authentic experiences that connect them with their chosen destination. Our PHIST workshops were designed to create best practices for hotels that will not only strengthen their sustainability objectives, but also bring them closer to the local community. Tourism plays a pivotal role in the development of islands, so it is critical that we act responsibly.”

An exciting new feature at this year’s PHIST was the inaugural award for “Sustainable Design Innovation”, which was presented to Patrick Keane, founder of Enter Projects. Founded in 2005, Enter Projects has created myriad award-winning projects and continues to gain global acclaim for its eco-master planning, architecture and interior services.

A collaboration between the Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks, with support from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, American Chamber of Commerce Thailand (AmCham), QUO, Creative Concept AV, Delivering Asia Communications, Banpu NEXT, Indorama Ventures, Junkyard Theatre Phuket, GIZ, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Blue Tree Phuket, XCO2, ZeroWater Thailand, Revolution X, AustCham Thailand, Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Thaiger, Travel Daily, Teak Timber Phuket, Mbs Thai, Cocktails & Co, Wine on Tap, FullMoon Brewworks, and Kombuchawow.

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Exhibitors: Royal Phuket Marina, Reddonatura India Private Limited, Sentinel Solution (Thailand) Co.,Ltd, Development Management Group Co., Ltd., Ecolab LTD, Reef Repair, OKLIN (THAILAND) CO., LTD, Hoteliers.Guru, CREATIVE MOVE COMPANY LIMITED, Green Footprint Solutions Ltd, PHUKET TEINTHONG, EHL Hospitality Business School, Good Drop Water, SensorFlow, Sustainable Maikhao, SOS, Zero water, Seeds of Change, Hobart Thailand, Smarter Enegy Solution, Diversey Hygiene (Thailand) Co.,Ltd., Sunsear Phuket, Banpu NEXT Co., Ltd., Blue Tree, and BAAN SAIJAI CO., LTD.

About PHIST 2022

The fifth annual PHIST 2022; Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism, to be held on Monday, 26 September 2022 at the ACES Angsana Laguna Phuket Resort. PHIST is an innovative event rallying the hotel industry and its stakeholders to discuss environmental sustainability and community benefit. Latest in person PHIST event in 2019 before COVID-19 pandemic drew over 1000 delegates and this year we’re estimating for similar number: with strategic partners such as TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and TCEB (Thailand Convention and Events Bureau) and other stakeholders also organising affiliate events and meetings in tandem.

The event will convene regional experts from the public and private sector from dozens of organizations and is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, intended to synergize global expertise with Thailand stakeholders. Co-organised by Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks; the Phuket Hotels Association is a non-profit organization with over 80 member hotels and resorts, comprising small boutique hotels to large luxury international chains who have joined together to promote Phuket as a destination, together with a number of important activities, each with its own working group of Hotel General Managers that oversee the following: Environment & Sustainability; Education and Destination Marketing.

About Phuket Hotels Association

The Phuket Hotels Association is a nonprofit organization comprising a broad spectrum of hotels. Our goal is to promote a well-rounded, dynamic picture of Phuket to travelers from around the world by celebrating the diversity of Phuket's natural resources and vibrant culture, while at the same time providing educational scholarships, environmental initiatives and other community-based activities to help nuture and develop Phuket's standing as one of the world's most sought-after destinations.

Phuket Hotels Association members are as follows: Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa, AMANPURI, Amari Phuket, Amora Beach Resort, Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas, Anantara Vacation Club Mai Khao Phuket, Andara Resort, Angsana Phuket, Angsana Phuket, Avista Grand Phuket Karon – Mgallery, Avista Hotels & Resorts, Baan Laimai, Baan Yin Dee Boutique Resort, Banyan Tree Phuket, Best Western Patong, Burasari Phuket, Cape Sienna Phuket Gourmet Hotel & Villas, Cassia Phuket, Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, COMO Point Yamu, Courtyard Marriott Phuket Town, Dewa Phuket Resort, DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Fisherman Way Beach Villa, Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort, Hilton Garden Inn Phuket Bangtao, Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, HOMA Phuket, Homm Bliss Southbeach Patong, Hyatt Regency Phuket Resort, InterContinental Phuket Resort, Island Escape by Burasari, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Kata Rocks Resort & Residences, Keemala, Koyao Island Resort, Kudo Hotel and Beach Club, Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa, Centara Boutique Collection, Mangosteen Ayurveda & Wellness Resort, Marina Gallery Resort-KACHA-Kalim Bay, Melia Phuket, Karon Residences, Melia Phuket Mai Khao, Metadee Concept Hotel, Mövenpick Myth Hotel Patong Phuket, Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket, My Beach Resort Phuket, Narai Mai Khao Resort, NH Boat Lagoon Phuket Resort, Nonnee Kata Beach Phuket, Novotel Phuket Kamala Beach, Outrigger Surin Beach Resort, Paresa, Phuket Graceland, Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach, Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach, Pullman Panwa Phuket, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Karon Beach Resort, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, Radisson Resort and Suites Phuket, Radisson Resort Phuket Mai Khao Beach, Rayaburi Hotel Patong, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, Rosewood Phuket, SAii Laguna Phuket, Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resorts & Spa, Selina Serenity Rawai Phuket, Six Senses Yao Noi, Stay Wellbeing & Lifestyle Resort, Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort, Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa Phuket, The AIM Patong, The Bell Pool Villa, The Boathouse Phuket, The Nai Harn Phuket, The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, The Pavilions Phuket, The Shore at Katathani, The Slate, Phuket, The Surin, The Village Coconut Island, The Westin Siray Bay, Tree House Villas Koh Yao, Trisara, Twinpalms Montazure, Twinpalms Phuket, V Villas Phuket, Villa Phukhao, Wyndham Grand Phuket Kalim Bay, Wyndham Grand Phuket Naiharn.