The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) is putting a big effort into strengthening hotel operators' ability to survive in the highly competitive industry after the opening of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
In one of the schemes, DASTA intends to encourage the hotels to reduce carbon emissions. It will define a standardised framework with four criteria for them to follow, and those that qualify will be certified by the Green Leaf Foundation.
The areas in which they will have to make progress are |wastewater treatment and |water recycling, garbage disposal, and efficient use of water and energy.
Nalikatibhag Sangsnit, DASTA’s director-general, said this was aimed not only at promoting competitiveness by local hotel operators, but also strengthening their brand image. Furthermore, the scheme will help reduce operating costs and increase income.
For example, garbage can be turned into fertiliser and cooking gas, while leftover food and dead leaves are turned into eco-friendly dishwashing and toilet-cleansing liquids. He said a study had found that such practices could cut operating costs by 20 per cent. Meanwhile, the hotels would also earn additional income from recycled garbage, while polishing their public brand image. This is a way to sustain business in the long run.
DASTA hopes to attract 32 hotels in six provinces to join the programme this year.
This will follow the success story of Koh Chang, which has positioned itself as a low-carbon destination, especially among European tourists.
Pattaya is in focus as well. Before the AEC is implemented, Nalikatibhag said his agency would strengthen the resort city via training programmes and development projects, with total budget of Bt4 million. Boating service is one area in focus, with 500 people to be trained professionally to adhere to international standards.