Travel Sustainably

    Photo taken by my scuba instructor, Opal Suthvanich at Koh Tao, Thailand

Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, I lived in a city that many people from around the world want to visit. They come for the intrinsic culture, beautiful beaches, intriguing activities, sunny weather or maybe just the great general hospitality of the people. Thailand has drawn more than 32.59 million people in 2016, generating tourism revenue of $71.4 billion. The tourism industry has flourished in the past 10 years, thanks to people around the world. I can’t help but smile every time I think back on how I have been able to meet so many people from around the world just in my backyard. Tourism indeed brings about good fortune to Thailand, as well as good memories for visitors and hosts like me.

       Newly Open Water Divers from around the world, Koh Tao, Thailand

Last year in March 2017, I went to Kho Tao, Thailand, in the Southern part of the country to learn scuba diving and to explore the underwater world for the first time. It was one of the most remarkable moments of my life. It reminded me how small we are in this world. It made me wonder: How can we prolong the beauty of nature? How we can maintain the ecosystem? How we can improve the life of the local people in the right way, instead of disrupting nature and ecosystems. It opened my curiosity to explore more sustainable practices within the tourism industry.

In my exploration, I found a lot of great examples of how the tourism industry is pursuing sustainable practices. For instance, Club Med Kani has successfully integrated renewable energy energy conservation thinking into resort operations, reducing its carbon footprint and its impact on the ecosystem of the surrounding areas. This resulted in Club Med installing 67,000 square feet of solar panels on top of the walk ways that connect each villa, making the resort independent of conventional energy generators.

Similarly, Accor Group has recognized the environmental impact from food & beverage waste, using product life cycle analysis of their food waste to develop new ways to make and use food throughout its shelf life. For example, marmalade at Accor sites is made from orange peels that are squeezed to make orange juice in the breakfast buffet. Unconsumed milk is transformed into cheese. Unconsumed pastries are made into puddings.

With the new era of tourism, 54% of the travelers are likely to book hotels or accommodation with the providers that adopt more sustainable and socially responsible practices, according to Trip Advisor. It has given me hope that if the tourism sectors can combine new sustainable technology and innovation to their businesses, they can elevate their practices and provide better solutions and experiences for their customers, community, and environment.

I am hopeful that sustainability can prolong and maintain ecosystems, improve travelling experiences, and enhance the well-being of the communities in all countries around the world that possess many incredible natural attractions, including Thailand.

 

 

Written by nuchwara

Nuchwara is a 2018 MBA with the sustainable business practices concentration. With her experiences in importing, exporting and logistics management background, she seeks to explore more of the efficiency operation and how renewable energy can help elevate the supply chain management in terms of, energy usage, water management and waste management. In her free time, she likes to explore more of how sustainability, innovation and CSR can improve the hospitality industry and business practices.