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Bamboo Straws Poolside at Anantara Golden Triangle (Credit: unknown via Mark Thomson)

Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts are proud to announce the decision to end the use of plastic drinking straws at all hotels and resorts in Asia from 1 January 2018. The first major hotel brands to announce a companywide decision to eradicate plastic straws at every single property across the Asia region with a view to extend the roll out to properties in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of the year.

In the serene mountainous region of Northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is working with a local artist, Khamchan Yano, who was shown by the village elders a fast growing wild bamboo, indigenous to the surrounds. Together they have perfected a way to keep the bamboo strong whilst also ensuring it is hygienic and reusable.

Read the full article on the initiative here.

By Mark Thomson on LinkedIn.


Water feature: Aqualagon with its amazing water slides is the main attraction. Photograph: Luc Boegly

There’s some weirdness attached to Villages Nature, the Disney-imagineered vision of rustic life, but the waterslides are amazing and there’s lots for kids to do

Welcome to the strangely disconcerting world of Villages Nature, 20 miles east of Paris and less than three hours on Eurostar direct from London St Pancras. All of this was once disused farmland until Disney and its partner, Pierre et Vacances (which owns Center Parcs Europe), transformed it into a 300-acre eco-resort; a “haven where guests can disconnect and feel at one with nature”. In other words, the polar opposite of the offering up the road – Disneyland Paris. Their hope is that families will be curious to try both these different worlds. It’s easy to see the appeal: when the children are done with Hyperspace Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, you can escape back here to the serenity of your Scandi-chic apartment, a gloriously Disney princess-free zone.

Read the full article to find out more about the features of Disneyland’s new eco-resort here.

By  for The Guardian.


On a recent holiday to Koh Samui, Thailand, PATA Marketing and Communications Intern Kaitlin Corbeil took the opportunity to hold an impromptu interview with Mr Korakot Nachalaem, Resort Manager at Six Senses Resort.

In this interview, Mr Nachalaem talks about the success of the resort’s sustainable practices, explaining how the property utilizes its island environment, transforms food waste into profit and highlights the need for sustainable habits both in the industry and in the lives of all individuals. He also took a moment to provide a guided tour of the property’s self-managed goat and chicken farm, a key component of the resort’s strategic sustainability policy.

Six Senses is just one example of how hotels can take steps to manage their food waste and environmental impact, providing an encouraging example that should inspire other hotel and resort properties to do the same.

Photographer: Wayne Lawrence for Bloomberg Businessweek

A mahout, wearing the traditional mohom outfit—denim, red neckerchief, and yellow straw hat—sits atop an elephant at Anantara.

Anantara Golden Triangle in northern Thailand is one of the only places where you can ethically interact with the country’s elephants.


I’m half-submerged in the Mekong River—the watery border that ­separates Laos from Thailand and Myanmar—sitting atop a big-eared, pink-spotted, 3-ton elephant named Poonlarp. Her skin looks soft from a distance, but it’s much coarser up close, covered in inch-long bristles. Her gait, which at first gives the appearance of flowing-through-honey movement, feels wobbly up this high. She’s alternately headstrong and playful. If you’ve ever walked a large, stubborn dog, you have an idea what it’s like to ride an elephant. This is the ­bucket-list item that brings people here to Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.


Read more about ethically interacting with elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort here. 




Credit: Shutterstock


June is a popular month in western countries for getting married. Couples who are approaching the final preparations for their big day have many things on their minds and therefore sustainability may be the least of their worries.


However, here are some tips to help wedding planners and venue operators show leadership in sustainable practices, making sure that newlyweds begin their lives together in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.


  1. Flowers

Choose flowers that are VeriFlora certified and grown without chemicals. Seasonally available and locally purchased flowers also mean a lower footprint. Flowers can also serve double duty – for the ceremony decorations as well as table centrepieces to help cut costs. Couples may also consider eco alternatives to flowers such as potted plants and EcoFlower, which often offers discounts for brides. After the wedding, consider working with organisations such as Rebloom to make sure the flower arrangements are reused.


  1. Catering

Food is a major element in every wedding celebration so consider purchasing organic and sustainable food or sourcing quality excess food from organisations such as Oz Harvest. Suggest vegetarian alternatives, seasonal and locally grown food, and sustainable options such as sustainable seafood which may reduce drastically the carbon footprint of the wedding. Read more on how to reduce carbon emission with the right catering.


  1. Decorations

Whether the wedding is on a beach or in an hotel or other indoor venue the decorations always play an important role. Consider purchasing decorations from a party rental service, – helping to trim costs and reduce waste. Look for high-quality equipment from a garage sale that gives a trendy ‘vintage look’ for the wedding. Make sure to save any purchased decor for other events.


  1. Create an eco-friendly wedding package

Assess activities that are successful and combine them into a beautiful eco-friendly package that is sure to catch the eye. Meeting the demands of young couples keeps you on track to market your services to an even wider audience.




Credit: Travindy

The annual HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards were launched in 2007 and are designed to recognize hotels in the Asia Pacific region creating innovative new methods, strategies and technologies to face today’s sustainable development challenges, while providing tangible examples of sustainable best practices that can be replicated and adapted across the region.

Burba Hotel Network (BHN), Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organisers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), are now accepting entries. The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2017.

The 28th annual HICAP will be held 18-20 October 2017, at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Award submissions will be judged by a specially selected panel of experts including:

• Robert Day, Senior Vice President, WATG

• Lyndall DeMarco, Managing Director, Only Sustainability Pty Ltd

• Prashant Kapoor, EDGE Program Lead and Principal Specialist Green Buildings, IFC

• Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview

• Masaru Takayama, Founder and Chair, Asian Ecotourism Network

Read more about the HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards here.

By Green Hotelier from Travindy




Ever wondered what happens to the half-used bars of soap you leave behind after overnight stays in hotels?

In some cases, the soap gets recycled, thanks to a nonprofit named Clean the World.

The organization, which is based in Orlando, Florida, works with hotel partners to collect used soaps and recycle them for distribution to those in need. Since the organization was founded in 2009, it has distributed more than 40 million bars of soap to over 115 countries. And those numbers continue to grow.

Founder Shawn Seipler, who spent years in the technology industry, says the group’s mission is twofold: To recycle soap and hygiene products and to distribute these products to prevent hygiene-related deaths, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage childhood development programs.


Read more about the idea on recycling hotel soap here.





Photograph by Josh Haner

In the Pearl River Delta, breakneck development is colliding with the effects of climate change.

GUANGZHOU, China — The rains brought torrents, pouring into basements and malls, the water swiftly rising a foot and a half.

The city of Dongguan, a manufacturing center here in the world’s most dynamic industrial region, was hit especially hard by the downpour in May 2014. More than 100 factories and shops were inundated. Water climbed knee-high in 20 minutes, wiping out inventory for dozens of businesses.

Next door in Guangzhou, an ancient, mammoth port city of 13 million, helicopters and a fleet of 80 boats had to be sent to rescue trapped residents. Tens of thousands lost their homes, and 53 square miles of nearby farmland were ruined. The cost of repairs topped $100 million.

Chen Rongbo, who lived in the city, saw the flood coming. He tried to scramble to safety on the second floor of his house, carrying his 6-year-old granddaughter. He slipped. The flood swept both of them away.

Flooding has been a plague for centuries in southern China’s Pearl River Delta. So even the rains that May, the worst in the area in years, soon drifted from the headlines. People complained and made jokes on social media about wading through streets that had become canals and riding on half-submerged buses through lakes that used to be streets. But there was no official hand-wringing about what caused the floods or how climate change might bring more extreme storms and make the problems worse.

Read the full article about the threat of rising waters for Chinese cities here.

By  from The New York Times


As predicted earlier, the buzzword “du jour” in tourism is fast becoming transformation. Its predecessor, sustainability, has through over and mis-use become meaningless and ineffective lacking the capacity to lift hearts, inspire hope and, ironically, sustain action. I am delighted but also very concerned.. Here’s why.

New buzzwords are favoured by a sector that, by its very nature, has to focus on quick fixes to short-term problems and thrives on novelty. Tourism is a phenomenon run by marketers and there is a good reason for that. Its suppliers sell dreams and fulfill fantasies. The customer cannot experience the “product” prior to its consumption. Hosts must defy gravity and inertia to lift their customers from their armchairs to a place far from home by stimulating desire and imagination. Hosts must paint pictures that trigger a desire strong enough to generate a “click,” then a booking and sustain interest and enthusiasm through the rigours and unpleasantries of passage to the source of the anticipated experience.

In my forty-four year career, I have observed first-hand how marketers have progressed from one promise to another as their customers became more sophisticated in their needs and demands. While I like to look forward, sometimes an understanding of context and history can be helpful.

Read the full article here.


By Anna Pollock from Conscious Travel


by Nicolas Dubrocard, Former Wild Asia Project Director, auditor for Travelife and Green Globe, and Director of Audit Diagnostic Solutions Tourism

Nicolas Dubrocard


I started my path on sustainable tourism exactly ten years ago in Morocco where I was supporting small accommodations and hotels to obtain the Green Key international eco label and to save water through Travel Foundation’s programme called Every Drop Counts.

From the beginning of this journey I discovered that there was an area where it is easy to implement changes with huge environmental positive impacts: the bathroom.

The reasons were obvious: more efficient showerheads and taps save substantial amounts of water and energy (used to heat the water or pump it around the building) as well as limits the volume of grey water to be treated. A showerhead is easy to change, low in cost and has a payback of a few months if the original one is very inefficient. I visited hotels with shower water flows between 20 and 22 litres per minute, which is twice the amount recommended by international eco labels!

One can only imagine the amount of water and energy that could be saved annually!?

A quick calculation: let’s consider that a new showerhead can reduce the flow by ten litres per minute and the guest uses it only once a day for ten minutes (already a low figure) — the savings would be around thirty six cubic meters per year per room permanently occupied!

Most of the decision makers consider that this is not an interesting area for cost savings because water is cheap; they do not consider the real cost of water, including pumping, treatment, heating (keeping in mind that a hotel needs to heat a third of its water needs).

The financial savings is so considerable that it becomes ridiculous. It’s even inconceivable to still find that these older devices are still place, especially in destinations where the water resources are at risk; massive water wastage will lead to more tension between local communities and hotels.

So the first step for hotel managers, hotel engineering directors and even at home is to monitor and control the water flow in the shower. Don’t wait, do it now!

This part of the business is so easy, it should be mandatory and it’s a shame if a hotel’s owner or managing company is not following the sustainability experts advice during the hotel’s building phase; they would save so much time, money and natural resources!

After the technical aspects, I also had a look at the communication in the bathroom: the famous towel reuse programme. Again, the positive impacts are immense: water, energy, labour and chemicals are embedded in the towel cleaning.

Photo: Nicolas Dubrocard

Photo: Nicolas Dubrocard

What has happened over the past ten years? The initial situation was simple: no one cared about reusing towels. At some point, some hotels started to communicate about it, asking the guests to participate to the towel reuse programme. Then, every hotel started to create its own communication. Most hotels, at the time, believed they were doing something cool and positive but they have mostly been using guilt as a leverage: “Save the planet”, “Help save the environment”, “Do you know how much chemicals we use to clean your towels”… highlighting the negative aspects of having new towel every day. This kind of wording was analysed and there are now much better ways to engage the clients to participate, such as using social norms[2]. In a few years the messages to reuse the towel have flourished in bathrooms like Caulerpa Taxifolia in Mediterranean Sea. Looking at this trend, it is amazing to realize that the industry at large did make a move – but is it really a change?

I’m afraid it’s not.

Let’s look at one more aspect: the staff training. This is the Achilles’ heel of most hotels. It is very complicated to change the way housekeepers are working – what they have learned and even their sense of ethics (which dictates to change all towels in the bathroom). One can also not forget the limited amount of time to clean each room which really means that a housekeeper should not lose any time making a decision regarding the towels. As a consequence, it happens that towels meant to be reused are replaced, making the client very angry. Imagine that you already took time to review all the documentation (sometimes written so small that you need magnifying glass to read it!), to understand finally where to hang your towel and now very proud of yourself, you realize that these very towels have been replaced, destroying all your efforts to save the planet, to reduce the use of a significant amount of chemicals, while on vacation…you will feel bad, betrayed… It is enough to write a negative online comment!

And what should guests think about the resort hotels asking them to reuse the bathroom towel while offering a free flow of 2m X 1m beach towels?

I had the chance during my career to adapt and implement over a period of two years a programme called “Kuoni Water Champion” in Thailand, aiming to help 26 hotels to reduce their water consumption[3]. During this action we emphasized as much as possible towel reuse and we tried to introduce a new approach following the Make A Green Choice programme initiated by Starwood in Europe, Africa, Middle East division in 2015.

This programme has three advantages; firstly, by giving guests the choice to decline housekeeping services, housekeepers do not have to make the decision regarding towels in a room; secondly, it is rewarding guests who participate in the action (via a voucher, loyalty points or donation) therefore diminishing the feeling that when participating to a towel reuse programme the biggest winner is the hotel; and thirdly, it also means that there is real monitoring and follow up where guests are encouraged to participate in and are made aware of the programme upon their arrival. There are certainly some downsides to this system; it may in a mid or long term reduce the need for housekeepers and contribute to unemployment; however, at least there is an alternative to the towel reuse communication.

For each problem in the hotel industry, there is a solution. Some chains or individual hotels are really committing and doing their best. However, there is still a majority of industry players refusing to embrace the sustainability topics, keeping closed eyes on potential sources of revenue or cost efficiencies.

Photo: Nicolas Dubrocard

Photo: Nicolas Dubrocard

When will the hoteliers and hotel owners understand that sustainability is not a gadget but the best way to manage a hotel and increase their benefits? When will the architects stop building inefficient buildings?

Should we wait another ten years to realize that we could actually shape right now – with a little investment, repeated trainings and a lot of good will – a more sustainable industry where the hotels will not be seen as energy and water squanderer and where tensions with local communities are avoided?




[1] For the person interested in monitoring their water flow in the shower, here is a short video in English and Thai

[2] A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels, by Noah J. Goldstein, Robert B. Cialdini , Vladas Griskevicius

[3] Free manual to download