Thai hotels step up end plastic use

BANGKOK, 25 January 2019: The Thai Hotels Association and the Tourism Authority of Thailand are campaigning to reduce single use plastic in the tourism and hospitality industries.

A TAT Newsroom statement, released earlier this week, outlined campaigns to encourage hotels nationwide to reduce single use plastic plus.

The campaign also extends to encouraging tour companies, travel agencies and online travel agencies to support hotels that have a strong track record in banning single use plastic.

Thailand welcomed 38.1 million tourists in 2018 according to provisional figures quoted by the TAT’s Tourism Intelligence Centre causing a substantial impact on natural assets, the environment and producing a colossal volume of garbage.

While the THA represents only a small percentage of the registered accommodation sector nationwide the association said the campaign would embrace non-members.  

TAT Governor, Yuthasak Supasorn said: “We look forward to working closely with the THA on this important project. Thai hotels can play an important role both in raising awareness among their guests and reducing plastic waste in daily hotel operations.”

Nation-wide campaigns are already in force to wean Thai consumers off plastic bags, straws, food containers and Styrofoam classed as dirty garbage that is more costly to recycle and usually ends up in landfill.

However, the THA commitment to reducing plastic use in hotels is welcome and could herald other moves that will see Thailand turn its travel and hospitality into a more environmentally friendly business.

Initially, THA is recommending hotels nationwide to join the campaign and introduce the following measures. (Note THA is calling for reduction which falls short of an outright ban.)

Reduce plastic packaging used for bathroom amenities.

Reduce the use of plastic bags in hotel rooms (laundry or trash bin).

Use local products made with biodegradable packaging materials.

Reduce plastic water bottles; use reusable containers instead, especially for meetings and seminars.

No plastic straws.

Self-service corner for coffee/tea breaks during meetings and seminars.

Reduce single use plastic food or drink containers.

Separate trash bins on beach areas adjacent to hotels.

Create a sustainable ‘no plastic’ rate card for meetings and weddings customers.

Separate waste at the hotel.

Organise all departments within the hotel to reduce plastic.

Encourage guests, customers, clients and partners to join the ‘anti-plastic revolution’.

TAT says it will support all participating hotels when they participate in trade shows; such as, the ITB, TTM and WTM. 

However more could be done to identify green travel events and more pressure should be exerted on the event organisers to ban single-use plastic and reduce paper waste including printed newspapers at events and conferences.