Thai Hotels Association Seeking Support for Green Hotels

Despite positive trends, resources are lacking to inspect and certify the sheer volume of properties

The Thai Hotels Association (THA) will seek support from the new government to help increase the number of properties that meet the Green Hotel standard.

The backing may come either in the form of providing financial support or having the THA lead the environmental inspection team.

“The verification process for hotels to get the standard will be sped up, resulting in a higher number of hotels meeting the standard,” said Samphan Panpat, the THA’s honorary adviser. “At present, the verification process takes some time and caters to 70 hotels a year, due to limited budget and a shortage of experts.”

The standard, initiated by the Environmental Quality Promotion Department of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry in 2015, is aimed at encouraging hospitality operators to take greater responsibility in improving society and the environment.

“Sustainable tourism has become more popular among Western tourists over the past few years and the trend continues to grow,” Mr Samphan said. “Hotel operators have to improve business to get the Green Hotel standard for better recognition.”

Applicants for the standard must pass key criteria to receive the G-mark certification either in gold, silver or bronze. Starting this year, the certification’s validity has been extended to three years from two in the past.

With limited budget and inspection from environmentalist teams, few hotels are able to be verified and obtain the G-mark each year.

As many hoteliers are in line to get the certificate, authorities solving the problem would benefit Thai tourism overall, Mr Samphan said.

The Green Hotel standard is the first step and the minimum requirement for registered hotels with business licences preparing for further environmental standards such as the Asean Green Hotel standard at the regional level. There are some 12,000 hotels registered with local authorities.

The Green Leaf Foundation also issues the Green Leaf mark, considered the strictest and most difficult to obtain.

There are 200 hotels operating domestically that received Green Leaf certification. Dusit Thani Pattaya was the first hotel to receive five-leaf certification.

Mr Samphan said the association has been working with authorities for Thai hotels to embrace the three standards.

Based on THA statistics, in 2018 a total of 73 hotels nationwide obtained Green Hotel certificates. But there are a greater number of hotels that adhere to eco-centric practices in management and services.