THA seeks green incentives

THA seeks green incentives

The Thai Hotels Association (THA) will ask the government to raise environmental awareness in the tourism industry and offer incentives to prod hoteliers to develop eco-friendly hotels.

If the hoteliers develop or upgrade their properties as eco-friendly or green hotels, they can capture high-quality tourists, said Marisa Nunbhakdi, the THA's chairwoman for the environment.

"It's a global trend, but many Thai tourism operators are not aware of it," she said. "They prefer to give priority to profit over environmental concerns, even if it will help to sustain business growth in the long term."

The THA will meet the tourism and sports minister next week to offer its proposals, focusing on measures to protect the natural environment and tackle rubbish problems at tourist destinations.

"In order to promote green tourism, tax incentives should be offered to convince both tourists and tourism operators," Ms Marisa said.

For example, the government should give a personal income-tax deduction to travellers who stay in green hotels. Demand from travellers will pressure hoteliers to upgrade their properties with eco-friendly facilities.

Tourism is having a negative impact at many sites in Thailand, especially popular island destinations, as the increasing number of visitors is putting pressure on the environment.

The THA is worried about these crowded islands because most of the hotels in these destinations are run by local operators. Many of the hotels are also illegal, so they cannot receive any green hotel certification, Ms Marisa said.

Apart from government support, Ms Marisa said hoteliers needed to inform their clients about the benefits of green hotels and convince staff to be more concerned about the environmental damage caused by overconsumption.

The THA and the Green Leaf Foundation will organise the 3rd Green Hotel Supplier and Consumer Conference from June 4-5 at the Sukosol Bangkok hotel. Some 450 participants are expected.

The event will give the opportunity for hotels to meet local operators who produce green products and have energy-saving technology.

Future green events will be organised in Hua Hin and Phuket by the association and the foundation, Ms Marisa said.

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