The project has worked cooperatively with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thai Hotels Association (THA) towards the objectives of preserving the environment and promoting sustainable tourism in the long run.
The THA is one of several tourism-related bodies that signed a memorandum of understanding with the TAT last July to reduce single-use plastic materials by 50% by 2020 under a campaign called ‘National Cleaning Declaration’.
To attract hotels to the campaign, some incentives have been outlined. Those hotels that achieve the criteria will receive perks such as placement in international tourism trade shows and roadshows organised by the TAT overseas, said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
Moreover, the names of the hotels will be published and promoted through public relations media of the TAT and the THA, and the certification can be used for other environmental assessment standards.
THA president Supawan Tanomkieatipume said that under the Thai Hotels Plastic-Free Project there are several requirements for hotels to follow, such as reducing the use of plastic containers and replacing them with locally made biodegradable products instead.
Other key conditions include cutting the use of plastic bottles and drinking straws in hotels and using a cooler to provide drinking water for guests or participants in the seminar room.
The idea is to handle plastic materials at all stages, from use in restaurants and hotels to plastic rubbish awaiting disposal.
Furthermore, building awareness of reduced plastic use among hotel workers, clients and owners will be carried out.
Mrs Supawan said legal hotel operators can apply for the project from now to Dec 31. More details are available at www.thaihotels.org.
Mr Yuthasak voiced confidence that the project could help reduce plastic waste at hotel properties and tourism destinations, and that tourism service providers could use the campaign as a selling point because many tourists, especially Europeans, are concerned about environmental protection.
Thailand has huge amounts of plastic waste. The country’s 66 million people use two plastic bags a day on average, according to the Plastics Institute of Thailand.
In one year, Thais use 9,750 plastic cups, 8,000 plastic bottles and 5,000 plastic straws, the institute said.
Thailand received about 38 million foreign visitors last year and aims to receive 40.5 million this year.
Mrs Supawan said the waiver of the B2,000 fee for visa on arrival for 21 nations until the end of April will boost arrivals for next month to 3.8 million, up from 3.5 million last year.
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