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PHIST – Asia’s largest online tourism event, returns this September

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PHIST – Asia’s largest online tourism event, returns this September | Thaiger

PHIST, the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism, is set to break down boundaries again with a “virtual” version of Asia’s largest sustainable travel and hospitality event on September 7. Over 1,200 of the industry’s leading figures are expected to attend this socially-distant online gathering. The online event will include keynote addresses, interactive sessions, educational workshops and a green exhibition.

The original edition of PHIST 2020 was scheduled to take place as a conference in Phuket but this was before the global pandemic caused disruption to the travel landscape. In the spirit of innovation and resilience, this conference is now moving into the digital domain with a unique single day schedule. You can become involved from wherever you are – participate and become involved in developing Phuket as a sustainable and desirable destination.

Like the two previous editions of PHIST, the fast-paced, high-energy event will challenge the status quo and drive the agenda for environmental action. Running from 9am to 6:30pm on September 7, the free-to-join, conference will see Asia’s top travel professionals come together to shake up the industry, ask difficult questions, and listen to young voices who want to change the world. By the end of the day, PHIST will have created a set of resolutions that will set Asia’s tourism and hospitality industries on the path towards a brighter, cleaner future.

This year’s keynote speaker is Bill Bensley, the Creative Director at BENSLEY and a rock star of hotel design. The mastermind behind many of Asia’s most eclectic and eye-catching properties, Bill will discuss the subject of sustainable hotels in his own inimitable style. He will be joined by the eminent marine biologist Dr. Thamrongnawasawat, who helped to save Thailand’s Maya Bay from ecological disaster, the CEOs of two leading luxury hotel groups, Neil Jacobs of Six Senses Hotels, Resorts & Spas and James Riley of Mandarin Oriental, President of the Phuket Hotels Association Anthony Lark, and many others.

The agenda will embrace the new era of travel and hospitality, in a post-Covid-19 world. Delegates will hear about the post-crisis efforts to prevent over-tourism, the dynamic shift away from mass markets, strategies to conserve natural attractions, the quantification of green travel, farm-to-fork dining, rewilding, renewable energy and more.

“This time last year, nobody could have imagined the situation we now find ourselves in. Covid-19 has turned the industry on its head, but every crisis creates opportunities and this situation could spur a revolution in sustainable travel,” said PHIST co-founder Bill Barnett.

“Making PHIST a virtual event has allowed us to break down geographic barriers and actually attract a larger audience. One of the most heart-warming aspects of the lockdown was seeing how quickly the environment regenerated without people. This shows us clearly what can be achieved, and maybe it was the wake-up call the world needed. At PHIST 2020, we will see how travel industry is rising to the challenge and using green solutions to solve our manmade problems.”

An immersive all-day forum, PHIST 2020 will include talks from trailblazing figures on the latest travel trends, educational masterclasses on renewable energy, post-Covid-19 hygiene, green meetings and corporate sustainability for small hotels, an interactive “Virtual Green Groove” exhibition showcasing eco products and services from tech providers, and plenty of digital networking opportunities with speakers, experts and other delegates.

PHIST 2020 is organised by the Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks, with support from the American Chamber of Commerce Thailand, QUO and Delivering Asia Communications. Attendance is free, including sessions, the exhibition and networking with pre-registration required.

This year, participants are also being encouraged to donate during registration to the Phuket Hotels Association’s Green Planet Learning Hub initiative, which will teach environmental practices to over 5,000 Thai schoolchildren per year.

To learn more about PHIST 2020 and to register your place at this must-attend event, please visit HERE.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    Yawn, why bother?
    Phuket’s tourist industry is dead and will remain dead for a long time to come.

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Environment

Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation

Maya Taylor

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Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation | Thaiger
PHOTO: Alex Berger / Flickr

As Thailand accuses a Netflix documentary of using outdated and inaccurate information about the country’s fishing industry, a number of global environmental experts are echoing similar criticisms. According to a report in Coconuts, Seaspiracy has been slammed for being full of inaccuracies and twisting the science behind the damage to the world’s oceans, minimising the role of climate change and plastic pollution.

Brian Kahn, a journalist with an MA in Climate and Society, has written a piece called, Don’t Watch Netflix’s Seaspiracy, in which he also accuses the documentary of resorting to racial stereotypes.

“The bad guys are Asians, specifically Japanese whale and dolphin hunters and Chinese consumers of shark fin soup. The good guys – in this case, the experts he cites – are mostly white.”

According to the Coconuts report, the Marine Stewardship Council in London agrees the documentary contains “several inaccuracies” and the Plastic Pollution Coalition says the makers have “cherry-picked” quotes that will fit with their narrative. Marine biology magazine, Hakai, has also weighed in on the matter.

“Though the film misleads viewers with oversimplified science, its real harm is that it ignores the history, culture, and systemic inequities that are entwined with ocean conservation.”

Seaspiracy had its global release last month and has become one of the top 10 most-watched offerings on the Netflix streaming service. Opinion is divided, with many praising British filmmaker Ali Tabrizi for highlighting the issues with the global fishing industry, while others have slammed it for being biased and scientifically inaccurate.

The Royal Thai Navy has also criticised its portrayal of the country’s fishing industry, claiming it’s based on outdated information. In 2015, reporter Thapanee Eadsrichai exposed the significant role human trafficking and slavery played in the industry. This led to a crackdown of sorts, although slavery is still suspected of playing a role, on a smaller scale. The EU then threatened to ban all Thai seafood when the Kingdom’s illegal fishing practices came to light, but backed down when Thailand took steps to rectify the situation.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Thailand

Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution

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Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the State of Global Air 2020 Report, around 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand, back in 2019, have been attributed to air pollution. The report cites the PM2.5 pollution particles as the main culprit as particles in that size range are the most likely to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.

Exposure to these fine particles can cause short-term health effects, such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. But the long-term effects of being exposed to the particles is much more sinister.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be more sensitive to PM2.5 particles.

In Thailand, it’s burning season in the north as farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to iqair.com

SOURCE: Sky News/Health.ny.gov

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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic

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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Phuket’s beaches are perhaps one of the only silver linings from the Covid pandemic, with marine life visibly rebounding after a long break from tourism, at least that’s what the Tourism Authority of Thailand says. The tourism officials say the huge reduction in tourist traffic has contributed to the Andaman Sea and coastlines becoming clearer than it has been in a long time, with local reservoirs teeming with fresh water.

But tourism officials didn’t mention the recent sea urchin phenomenon where hundreds of the red spiky sea creatures washed up on Patong Beach. A marine life expert in Phuket says wastewater being dumped in the Andaman Sea led to an algae bloom near the shoreline. Sea urchins moved to feast on the algae, but ended up getting stranded on the beach due to the tides. He says the sea urchins need to be in the ocean because they filter the water and serve as “cleaner of the sea.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand recently released a statement, hyping up the Phuket beaches and saying the beaches have been “revitalised,” just as the island province prepares to reopen in July to vaccinated visitors.

They say Kamala Beach is still a popular destination, with a family-friendly atmosphere that offers tranquility along with snorkelling and swimming. Surin and Bangtao beaches are quieter than usual but still remain an excellent choice for those tourists who wish to partake in the nightlife and clubbing scene, according to TAT.

Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Nai Thon, and Sai Kaeo beaches, in northern Phuket, are visibly rejuvenated areas to visit as well. The 4 beaches are part of Sirinat National Park, where Olive Ridley sea turtles and Leatherneck turtles have returned during the pandemic to lay eggs. The Olive Ridley turtles were seen laying eggs on Mai Khao Beach after 20 years of no activity. The Leatherneck turtles also returned to lay eggs after 10 years of being absent.

The process to compromise between tourism and nature, started a few years ago with the beaches only allowing 10% to be consumed by vendors, umbrellas, and beach chairs. The southern beaches of Kata, Nai Han, and Kata Noi have also benefitted from the 10% vendor zone rule, as all seem to be returning to their original, pristine conditions they displayed a decade ago.

SOURCE: TAT News| Phuket News

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