The Tourism Authority of Thailand is encouraging the people who operate a hotel, resort, or villa in Koh Tao and across the country to adopt a more environmentally friendly business model, as part of their push to promoting green tourism in the Kingdom.
This was main point in the TAT’s annual meeting in July, held in NakhonPathom province, which even had all of the TAT’s workers were asked to wear outfits from natural products in the country like silk and cotton, as well as to bring their own refillable bottles.
Tourism and Sports Minister WeerasakKowsuray says that if the country and its tourism sector is to embrace environmental awareness, the TAT should lead by example. He adds that the campaign is in response to the global trends as well as behaviour of tourists, with the aim of improving the country as a tourism destination.
Some of the TAT’s provincial offices have already adopted the green mindset, like the Loei office, which ran a related campaign for visitors to PhuKradueng National Park from May to June.
In the hotel industry, members have been adopting green tourism strategies, starting by lessening their plastic consumption. According to the Thai Hotels Association’s President, SupawanTanomkieatipume, hotels create tonnes of plastic waste in major tourism areas in the country, like Bangkok, Phuket and KohSamui.
The THA is working to encourage further green practices, not only for environmental reasons, but for economic and practical reasons. Customers are now more environmentally aware than ever, with tourists looking for ‘greener’ hotels and destinations. In particular, tourists from Europe and some Asian countries like Japan, are now only exclusively looking for green hotels. Tourism Council of Thailand President, Ittirit Kinglake, believes that this will be the way to go for Thai tourism.
On the financial side,Ittirit reports that embracing environmentally friendly methods for a hotel, resort or villa in Koh Tao or anywhere else in the country, can reduce operational costs 7-15% annually.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment Quality Promotion of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry continued with their Green Hotel campaign, launched back in 2015, which accredited hotels who meet their standards, promoting them for their environmentally friendly services and energy-efficiency.
There are three levels of certification; Gold, Silver and Bronze, which is valid for two years. The number of hotels with certification has gone up since 2015, which had 45 hotels in the Kingdom with certification, while 2017 saw 74 hotels receive that certification.
Tourism operators are being urged to upgrade their products and services to improve their competitiveness as well as to aid in the growth of inter-regional green tourism in the country.
Intra-Asean travel accounts for 42% of Thailand’s international arrivals back in 2017, with an average length of stay of around 7.98 days, and the ten member countries reporting a total revenue of about US$93 billion in that year.