Thailand: Centara Turns Up The Holiday Cheer With Fun-Filled Festive Programme 2021

Bangkok, Thailand – Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, invites travellers to celebrate the festive season with loved ones at Centara hotels and resorts across Thailand, Maldives, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE.

From beachfront resorts and city hotels to family entertainment destinations and adults-only hideaways, the holidays just got a little more merry with special Christmas dinners, New Year’s Eve countdown parties, and month-long activities for children.

Travellers are also invited to rejoice in the holiday spirit and receive surprise gifts and treats for every stay booked directly with Centara from today – 10th January 2022.

For Centara Reserve Samui’s debut festive season, the new luxury resort offers guests a taste of the holidays with gastronomic Christmas Eve and Christmas experiences at Act 5. Salt Society Beach Bar & Kitchen has also curated a festive programme including a Christmas Day Brunch as well as a special New Year’s Eve lunch and dinner at a stunning beachfront location.

On the last evening of the year, celebrate new beginnings on the beach, or dance into the night at a pool party under the night sky. Revellers can also indulge in a gala dinner overlooking the shimmering city lights and countdown to midnight from the rooftop of Centara Grand at CentralWorld when elaborate fireworks displays light up the Bangkok night sky.

During the most wonderful time of year, families can relive the wonders of the holidays through the eyes of children. The festive programme includes Christmas lighting, plus Santas and Santarinas to share the magic of the season with younger guests. A line-up of family-friendly activities includes Christmas carol singing, themed arts and crafts, pizza making, and local experiences such as batik painting to ensure fun for all ages.

Guests travelling over the festive season also receive one gift voucher upon check-in for every room booked directly with Centara. Gifts can include a free upgrade, complimentary afternoon tea set, discounts or buy-one-get-one offers for spa and culinary experiences. To receive festive gift vouchers, travellers can book directly with Centara for stays from now until 10th January 2022.

For more information, contact the Centara Contact Centre at ccc@chr.co.th and +66(0) 2101 1234, or visit www.centarahotelsresorts.com/place-to-be-festive

Thailand: S Hotels & Resorts Collaborates with Phuket Marine Biological Center to “Save Our Sharks” at Marine Discovery Centre in Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

BANGKOK, THAILAND: S Hotels and Resorts PCL, the global hospitality company from Singha Estate PCL, continues to advance the marine conservation agenda with the launch of an important new collaboration with Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) to breed, care for and release bamboo sharks in southern Thailand.
 
Hosted by the Marine Discovery Centre at SAii Phi Phi Island Village, the free-spirited lifestyle resort on the idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi, the new SOS (Save Our Sharks) programme will see S Hotels & Resorts work hand-in-hand with experts from PMBC. Together, they will oversee every stage of the bamboo sharks’ development, from incubating eggs and nurturing them at the resort’s Shark Nursery Pond, to releasing the juveniles back into their natural environment.
 
This is the latest in a series of campaigns led by the Marine Discovery Centre, an innovative facility which serves as the nerve centre of SAii Phi Phi Island Village’s environmental efforts. This interactive hub houses indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, video rooms and aquariums, presenting a fascinating window into the underwater world and driving key projects such as coral propagation, mangrove planting, and breeding and release programmes for native fauna.

The Marine Discovery Centre will nurture the bamboo sharks in its Shark Nursery Pond, before releasing them back into their natural environment.

Dirk De Cuyper, Chief Executive Officer of S Hotels & Resorts, said: “We are proud to join forces with Phuket Marine Biological Center on this critical project. Bamboo sharks are classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so the SOS programme will play a crucial role in safeguarding a keystone species. This forms part of our company’s pledge to the planet, which is guided by our support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the SDG14, ‘Life Below Water’, which focuses on the world’s oceans, seas and rivers.
 
“Our Marine Discovery Centres at SAii Phi Phi Island Village and SAii Lagoon Maldives play a crucial role in the preservation of their underwater ecosystems and the protection of wildlife. Led by resident marine biologists, they also educate our guests and local residents in our communities about the importance of conservation. We look forward to cooperating with our friends and colleagues at PMBC to save southern Thailand’s bamboo sharks,” Mr. De Cuyper added.
 
Dr. Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, Director of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, commented: “Our center has trusted in the capability and expertise of Singha Estate in terms of marine life conservations considering the company’s experiences from the past projects. Besides, the company has employed many marine scientists and staff at Marine Discovery Centre, who have capabilities to take care of Bamboo shark eggs until they become juveniles”
 
S Hotels & Resorts and Singha Estate have collaborated on many successful marine conservation campaigns. The “Phi Phi Is Changing” project is aiming to solve the issue of coral bleaching, while the “Toh Wai Wai” is helping to release clownfish, propagate coral and plant mangrove trees in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. In addition, a new partnership with Kasetsart University is using drones to monitor and photograph the coral reefs in the area. Earlier this year, the Marine Discovery Centre at SAii Phi Phi Island Village rescued and rehabilitated an injured bamboo shark and lionfish.

S Hotels & Resorts’ Marine Discovery Centres are interactive hubs that aim to educate guests and local residents about the importance of conservation

In the Maldives, coral propagation efforts by the Marine Discovery Centre team at SAii Lagoon Maldives led to a ten-fold expansion of the local reef, and the return of hawksbill sea turtles, scalloped hammerhead sharks and bottlenose wedgefish to the area. A pregnant Olive Ridley sea turtle was also found nesting on the beach in 2020 – the first recorded sighting of this species nesting in the Maldives.
 
S Hotels & Resorts has committed to abolishing single-use plastic, reducing waste, recycling water and championing the use of sustainable and biodegradable products. With so many initiatives ongoing, it is no surprise that the group has won multiple awards, including the “Green Leadership” title at the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2020. SAii Phi Phi Island Village was the “Marine & Nature” winner in the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) UK Responsible Thailand Awards 2020, while Santiburi Koh Samui was awarded the 2020 – 2021 Green Hotel Award’s “Gold Level” – the only resort in Samui to achieve this level out of over 100 properties that applied.
 
For more information about S Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.shotelsresorts.com or follow them on FacebookInstagramYouTube or LinkedIn

Thailand: SMASH IT! Phuket kicks off Thailand’s tourism recovery with sports focus

Phuket is playing a leading role in the recovery of travel and tourism in Thailand, by using major sporting events and outdoor activities to woo overseas guests back to the kingdom, a high-energy webinar has heard.
 
Held on 9th November 2021, “SMASH IT” was a dynamic virtual event that heard from key players in Phuket’s sports tourism sector, including organisers, operators, hoteliers and more. Co-hosted by C9 Hotelworks, Delivering Asia Communications and Laguna Phuket, the session heard how this exciting sector is set to surge in the coming months and years, as visitors seek healthier ways to live.


Sports tourism has played a major role in putting Phuket on the global map, with major annual events such as the Laguna Phuket Marathon and Laguna Phuket Triathlon. But while COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to the travel industry, sport is providing an opportunity for the island to fight back.
 
The webinar’s keynote speaker, Dr. Nittaya Kerdjuntuk, Director of the Sports Authority of Thailand, revealed how the launch of the innovative Phuket Sandbox programme in July 2021 gave the island “first-mover advantage” and allowed it to capitalise on the return of sporting events. These include the Asian beach volleyball championships at the end of November, two Asian Tour golf tournaments in November and December, and the world under-19 and under-21 beach volleyball championships in December, all of which will be shown on TV in a minimum of 37 countries.

“As Phuket was the first province in Thailand to open to international tourists, it has been able to attract not only tourists, but also events,” Dr. Nittaya explained. “This was a great starting point as it helped us to initiate and plan many events. By keeping everything within the Sandbox we can work in line with specific [health and safety] measures. This really helped us to bring sporting events back to the country.”

Paul Wilson, Group Director of Laguna Phuket, the fully-integrated leisure destination spanning 1,000 acres on Phuket’s central west coast, agreed that hosting major sporting tournaments can help Phuket regain visitor confidence.

“Televised events are a great destination marketing tool and put Phuket front-of-mind for sports fans,” he said. “I think there’s huge potential for mass participation events. To be part of that whole experience, the energy and buzz – people crave that. From our virtual events over the last 18 months, we’ve seen that the demand is there. We definitely think that international destination events will come back stronger than ever in future.”

Golf is set to be an important driver of the tourism recovery. Phuket already boasts some of Asia’s finest courses and Mark Siegel, founder of GolfAsian, explained that the sport has many attributes that make it attractive for post-pandemic travel – both for the players and the destinations.

“The nature of the sport, with wide open spaces and no big crowds, is almost made for this situation. Golf tourists generally come in groups of between four and 20 people, and they’re probably spending on average 10,000 to 15,000 baht (US$225-337) per day. They’re coming from long-haul markets such as Australia, US and Europe and typically staying for ten days to two weeks. They may stay in Phuket for their entire trip and play a variety of courses. Golf prices have dropped a lot recently, which will make Thailand hard to beat,” Mark stated.

Moving forward, Phuket is planning to move beyond traditional sports, and embrace new trends. Leading the way is Blue Tree Phuket, a comprehensive leisure destination with facilities for cliff jumping, ziplining, martial arts, skateboarding, beach games and more. Henk Sijtsma, the complex’s Commercial Director, said that he is seeing a desire for “fun” experiences that attract younger people. “We are seeing activities such as skating making a major comeback,” he said.

Co-organiser and C9 Hotelworks Managing Director Bill Barnett concluded: “Phuket pre-pandemic over the past two decades firmly established itself as a leader in big sports events such as marathons and triathlons. Covid-19 has seen a rite of passage, with Tokyo Olympic medalists using it as a pre-event training destination and now we are seeing incoming international events like beach volleyball championships return this year. The Phuket Sandbox laid a firm foundation for proof of concept for International travel and now there is a strong first mover advantage to kickstart the sector. 
 
SMASH IT was part of a series of virtual hospitality events by C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, intended to create forward-looking conversations, promote a critical rethink of the industry and offer learnings across a wide variety of subjects. The event also heard expert insights from Roman Floesser, CEO of GAA Events, and Andy Treadwell, CEO of Verventia.
 
For more information about Laguna Phuket, please visit www.lagunaphuket.com.

Thailand: Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket Pilots “Smart Tourist” 5G Programme in Partnership with True5G

BANGKOK – Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, is partnering with True5G to pilot the “Smart Tourist” integration of 5G solutions at Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket.
 
Starting from November 2021, the guest experience at the beachfront resort will be enhanced with advanced technology solutions including:

  • Digital guest solution: Access to hotel services, including ordering room service, booking a spa appointment, and exploring concierge recommendations, without the need to download an app.
  • TytoCare: 24-hour online doctor consultation using an innovative 5G-enabled medical exam device including otoscope, stethoscope, and tongue depressor.
  • 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA): Access to 5G speed anywhere without a 5G mobile with a portable plug-and-play device.
  • Ginger Lite: Contact-less service at Mare Italian Restaurant with an autonomised service robot equipped with touch screen and voice interaction.

“We are very excited to be partnering with True5G on the Smart Tourist project as we continue to innovate and look for ways to improve our guests’ experience. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and The Centre for Economic Situation Administration recently announced plans to promote Phuket as a world-class destination, and we believe Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is the perfect place to showcase the island’s technological aspirations which will also boost the confidence of travellers visiting the island,” said Markland Blaiklock, Deputy of CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts.
 
Piroon Paireepairit, Head of 5G Working Group, True Corporation Plc, said: “With the potential of True 5G genus network that covers nationwide along with digital technology readiness of True Group, we are strongly determined to support the government sector in opening the country and stand beside Thai tourism business industry. We are ready to bring 5G network and solution to drive tourism Smart Tourist Journey format, particularly in major destination like Phuket that is set to become a fully smart city. This time, we started pilot projects with Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket by bring True 5G solutions including 5G Robo-serve, True Digital Smart QR Code (DGS), True 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)and True 5G x TytoCare. This collaboration is another power from private sector to be part of enhancing tourism industry to continuously and sustainably move forward together at last”

Thailand: Game, Set & Match with SAii Laguna Phuket’s New Tropical Tennis Package

BANGKOK, THAILAND – SAii Laguna Phuket, the free-spirited lifestyle resort at Bangtao Beach, on Phuket’s stunning sunset coast, is inviting activity-seeking guests to combine their blissful beachfront break with professional tennis coaching with its new “Game, Set & Match” package.
 
Nestled within Laguna Phuket, the fully-integrated leisure complex, SAii Laguna Phuket is a haven of recreation with world-class sports facilities, including a dedicated Tennis Centre with four full-size tennis courts, overseen by a dedicated Director of Tennis. With such exceptional amenities, this is the ultimate destination for travellers seeking an ace sporting escape in paradise.
 
Now available for domestic and international visitors, the Game, Set & Match package is ideal for all ability levels, from beginners swinging a racket for the first time to advanced players seeking expert advice to improve their forehand or backhand. Guests can stay in a choice of spacious and stylish accommodation, ranging from 43-square metre Lagoon View rooms, which are blessed with bespoke SAii furnishings and signature creature comforts, to the Club Ocean View Rooms, which feature 54 square metres of space and panoramic vistas. An energising daily breakfast for two people provides the perfect way to prepare for a day on the court.
 
The resort’s professional tennis coach, Sean Panton, will be on hand to offer one hour of top-class, on-court coaching on every two days of the vacation. Sean, who hails from Wimbledon, trained at the highly acclaimed Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida with the likes of Andre Agassi and Jim Courier, before becoming a top coach and winning several awards.
 
His expertise, enthusiasm and can-do attitude make him incredibly popular with guests, who find his teaching methods both instructive and inspiring.
 
Following Sean’s tuition, players will be able to put their new-found skills to the test, with complimentary use of the tennis courts every day. Group activities are also available, starting from just THB 4,000 including tennis sessions, coaching and a mini tournament. Throughout their stay, sporty couples and families will enjoy unlimited use of the kids’ club, fitness centre, squash courts, table tennis and archery facilities, as well as non-motorised water sports such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Then at the end of an action-packed day, guests can settle down and sip sunset cocktails for two (one time only).
 
Naturally, every guest can unwind and soak up the full SAii journey, which is defined by a series of distinct touchpoints. Casual yet refined dining can be discovered at Mr. Tomyam, which showcases Thai-inspired dishes with live kitchens and alfresco seating, and Miss Olive Oyl, the vibrant Mediterranean-style seafood grill and bar. The fitness centre promises the perfect place to work out, while Lèn Spa will help to soothe any aching muscles with blissful body treatments.

Visitors who choose to book the resort’s Club Lagoon View and Club Ocean View rooms will also be treated to exclusive privileges at The Club, including daily breakfast, all-day non-alcoholic beverages, light snacks during the afternoon, and the chef’s enticing appetisers and handcrafted cocktails every evening.
 
“At SAii Laguna Phuket, we are fortunate to have some of the best tennis facilities the island has to offer. As part of our mission to create immersive, experiential stays, we are delighted to present our Game, Set & Match package, which blends the serenity of a beachfront retreat with the opportunity to improve your sporting skills. Whether you’re a complete novice or an aspiring Emma Raducanu or Rafael Nadal, we can create your ultimate sporting escape,” said Sean Panton, Director of Tennis, SAii Laguna Phuket.
 
The Game, Set & Match package is available from now until 23rd December 2021. Rates start from just THB 5,000 per night for a Lagoon View Room, and a two-night minimum stay is required. For more information and to convert your match point at SAii Laguna Phuket, email rsvn.laguna@saiiresorts.com,tennis.laguna@saiiresorts.com or call +66 (0) 76 360 600.

Thailand: Pimalai invites guests to discover Thailand via local experiences and island excursions

KOH LANTA, THAILAND – Pimalai Resort & Spa, the natural five-star retreat in Koh Lanta, is inviting guests to return to paradise this winter with an extended escape at one of Southeast Asia’s finest resorts. Amid the breath-taking scenery of Southern Thailand, travellers can reconnect with nature and rediscover the wonders of the Kingdom, far away from the tourist crowds.
 
Pimalai understands that the upheaval of the last two years has caused many people to experience elevated levels of anxiety and stress. During this period however, the closure of Thailand’s borders enabled the country’s tropical flora and fauna to flourish, without the negative impact of humans. Now, with Thailand having reopened to overseas visitors on 1st November 2021, Pimalai is ready to welcome international travellers back to Koh Lanta’s pure shores for small-scale, low-impact vacations that help them to restore their personal equilibrium.
 
To celebrate the return of its cherished international guests, Pimalai has unveiled its “Back to Paradise” package, which lets couples and families unwind for even longer at this iconic resort. This new six-night package includes outstanding accommodation in a choice of luxurious rooms, suites or pool villas, plus daily breakfast in the sea-facing restaurant, one exquisite à la carte Thai dinner by the beach, a 60-minute aromatic massage, and a shorter direct speedboat transfer from the mainland.
 
To fully immerse guests in this island paradise, this package also includes two newly relaunched excursions to the idyllic islets in Mu Ko Lanta National Park, which reopened on 15th October following a six-month rejuvenation. The “Koh Haa Sunset” tour transports visitors to Koh Haa, a gorgeous group of limestone karsts that enclose a turquoise lagoon, technicolour coral reef and pure white beach. Meanwhile, the “Fabulous Koh Rok” adventure takes travellers across the sparkling sea to a pair of islands lined with powder-soft sands and lapped by warm, shallow seas. With plenty of time for swimming, snorkelling and chilling out on empty beaches, these dreamy day trips will soothe the soul and inspire the senses.

Nestled within 100 acres of lush jungle, cascading gently down to a 900-metre stretch of white sand at Kantiang Bay, Pimalai is a haven of tranquility. Exotic plants and flowers blossom, native wildlife thrives and every aspect of the property is integrated with the environment. Surrounded by the wonders of nature, experience-seeking travellers can enjoy soothing therapies at the award-winning Pimalai Spa, savour world-class cuisine, or take part in a wealth of low-impact activities such as kayaking, windsurfing and paddle-boarding, along with beach games, yoga sessions, Thai boxing, fitness classes, tennis, badminton, bicycle hire and more. No motorised water sports are permitted at Pimalai.
 
Pimalai recently embarked upon an ambitious 10-year plan to protect the environment and establish Koh Lanta as a leading ecotourism destination. Launched in collaboration with Green Globe, these new goals include a 15% drop in electricity use, a 10% reduction of water usage, a 5% decline in waste consumption, a 5% increase in its use of responsibly-sourced items, and most importantly of all, a 20% reduction of its carbon footprint.


 
Pimalai is one of only 26 properties worldwide to form part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s (SLH) Considerate Collection, an exclusive community of socially responsible and environmentally conscious luxury hotels. With such a strong focus on sustainability and a dedication to delivering world-class hospitality, it is little surprise that Pimalai was recently named as the second-best resort in Southeast Asia in Travel + Leisure’s annual “World’s Best Awards”, which honour the finest travel experiences on the planet.
 
“With our blissful blend of seclusion, serenity and sustainability, Pimalai has always been popular with foreigners who want to relax in luxury, away from the crowds. Now, following the reopening of Thailand to international visitors, we want to let guests rediscover the magic of Koh Lanta and restore their own inner peace. The global pandemic was like a reset button for the planet, allowing ecosystems to be replenished. Following two years of lockdowns, we want to give individuals, couples and families the chance to achieve the same sense of personal rejuvenation with an eco-friendly escape in our island paradise,” said Patrice Landrein, Pimalai’s General Manager.

The Back to Paradise package is available from now until 31st October 2022, starting from just THB 72,545 net for six nights (based on Deluxe Room accommodation from now until 20th December 2021). Rates may fluctuate based on the room type or dates of stay. To book, email reservation@pimalai.com or call +66 (0) 2 320 5500. For more information about Pimalai Resort & Spa visit pimalai.com.

Thailand: The Slate Inspires Top British Fashion Designer to Create Exclusive Gender-Fluid Streetwear Collection, “THE SLATE X FRED”

From London to Phuket: This Is Fred specialises in avant-garde unisex streetwear, inspired by the angularity of architectural forms

PHUKET, THAILAND — The Slate, the whimsical resort on Phuket’s secluded northwest coast, is no stranger to avant-garde art and high fashion. Conceived by Bill Bensley, the maverick architect and interior designer, this eclectic retreat transports travellers into a world of dramatic dreamscapes, with original installations and sculptures that reflect the area’s rich industrial heritage. It is little wonder that this remarkable resort is a member of the illustrious Design Hotels collection.

THE SLATE X FRED collection is exhibited at Shades, the resort’s gallery space in Phuket

Now, The Slate is showcasing its creative credentials once again by collaborating with This Is Fred, an innovative and edgy London fashion label. Crafted by British designer Frederick (Fred) Morrison, who has presented his collections at the prestigious Paris and Berlin fashion weeks, This Is Fred produces pioneering gender-fluid urban wear, with striking designs that are inspired by the angularity of architectural forms and the fluidity of natural shapes.
 
Under the new collaboration, The Slate and This Is Fred have created this exclusive “THE SLATE X FRED” collection, which is influenced by The Slate’s own bold architecture and interiors. Based upon Bill Bensley’s aesthetic vision of monochrome accents and the convergence of hard and soft silhouettes, each hand-stitched item features black and white stripes that appear almost magically when the cloth is in movement. The unisex collection comprises trousers, tops, ponchos, jackets and more.
 
This unique partnership gives guests and local residents the opportunity to view and buy This Is Fred’s stylish streetwear in Thailand for the very first time. The collection will be exhibited at Shades, The Slate’s bright gallery space, from 11th November 2021 onwards, and each piece will be available for purchase at The Stockroom, the property’s online and onsite retail stores.
 
“I discovered Fred in Shoreditch, a very creative and artistic area in East London where you can find one-of-a-kind vintage shops and independent fashion labels. I always prefer small independent brands to well-known international ones. His geometric cut and shape, use of materials and the gender-fluidity of the brand immediately reminded me of The Slate,” commented the resort’s co-founder and owner, Krystal Prakaikaew Na-Ranong (known to her friends as Khun Moo).
 
“This Is Fred has a similar brand philosophy to The Slate. Our brands have an avant-garde approach and a very bold way of thinking. I invited Fred and his partner to stay at The Slate at the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic, to discuss our collaboration. Fred was very much inspired by the resort’s architectural attributes and we decided to create THE SLATE X FRED collection together.”
 
Born in Scotland, Fred has been surrounded by fashion all his life. Having qualified in Design & Manufacturing from Glasgow’s Cardonald College, he moved to London to attend the prestigious Italian fashion school, Istituto Marangoni, and went on to work with acclaimed designers such as Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh before creating his own label.

This Is Fred’s gender-fluid, monochrome collection comprises trousers, tops, ponchos, jackets and more

This sartorial collaboration represents yet another milestone in The Slate’s mission to deliver unique in-stay experiences that blend design, art, fashion and cuisine, while capturing the authenticity of Phuket as a destination. This inventive hotel has previously exhibited works by talented young artists from Central Saint Martins in its “Artist in Residence” programme and hosted one of Thailand’s most famous “Sak Yant” tattoo artists for a three-month residency, which allowed guests to get their own traditional tattoos. Curious explorers can also learn the art of flower arrangement and southern-style Thai cooking or enjoy a unique treatment at the Coqoon Spa. Meanwhile, culture seekers who want to learn about The Slate’s extraordinary interiors and Phuket’s history can embark on the “Art Journey”, a QR code-enabled tour that reveals the vision behind the resort’s artworks and sculptures. Exclusive experiences and events will be launched in the coming months.
 
For more information and to start planning your journey into the world of art, design and fashion at The Slate, visit www.theslatephuket.com.

Thailand: HOMA forms partnership with Prince of Songkla University to inspire the next generation of hospitality and real estate professionals

PHUKET, THAILAND – HOMA Phuket Town, the pioneering new co-living concept, has formed an important new partnership with Prince of Songkla University (PSU), southern Thailand’s oldest and largest university, to engage with students about the critical issues of sustainability and community interaction in the hospitality and real estate sectors. To mark the start of this educational alliance, HOMA Phuket Town welcomed 30 undergraduates from PSU’s Phuket Campus, the International Education Hub for Innovation, Social Engagement & Sustainable Development, for an immersive and insightful full-day session which included an informative workshop, presentation and rooftop lunch. The group was led by Professor Kevin Fuchs, a senior lecturer from PSU’s Faculty of Hospitality & Tourism.

HOMA Phuket Town is an innovative new residential concept that integrates eco-friendly elements throughout the property. Rooftop solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting and advanced air conditioning systems will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 325 tonnes each year – the equivalent of planting almost 5,400 new trees or removing more than 70 cars from the road. These initiatives led to the property being awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, making it the first Thai serviced residence outside Bangkok to achieve this accolade.
 
Driving HOMA’s environmental efforts is Conor Brannum, the recently-appointed sustainability officer, who is an expert in the advancement of eco solutions in the commercial real estate sector. He welcomed the students to HOMA Phuket Town and presented a workshop on the subject of “Sustainability and Ethics in Real Estate” – part of PSU’s Real Estate & Alternative Lodging module.

“At HOMA, we strive to do things differently. Not only are we fully committed to operating in a highly responsible way and letting our residents embrace a cleaner, greener way of living; we also want to work hand-in-hand with the local community. This partnership with PSU provides the perfect opportunity for us to connect with the next generation of real estate and hospitality professionals, share ideas and advance the sustainability agenda. It was great to meet with the students and hear their ideas; I am confident that our future is in very good hands,” commented Conor.
 
“I would like to thank HOMA Phuket Town for inviting our students and allowing them to see sustainability in action. Meeting with forward-thinking companies like HOMA is really important, as they bring the theories of environmental design and operations into the real world. Meeting Conor and the team will inspire our undergraduates and give a significant boost to their academic studies,” Professor Fuchs added.
 
The 505-key HOMA Phuket Town is the first in a series of co-living projects being developed by HOMA, a joint venture between Asia Capital Real Estate (ACRE), the global real estate private equity firm, and NOON Capital, a Thai multi-family housing developer. The group is aiming to invest more than US$250 million in six new projects across Thailand, all of which will be designed, developed and operated in a highly responsible and sustainable way.
 
For more information, visit homa.co.

Thailand: Asian tourism to move beyond sustainability and embrace purposeful travel at PHIST 2021

PHUKET, THAILAND: Resort destinations in Southeast Asia will move beyond sustainability and embrace a more meaningful and responsible way of operating in the post-pandemic era, a major event on the future of travel, tourism and hospitality in the region has learned.
 
PHIST returned on Thursday 28th October 2021 for a fourth consecutive year of shaking up the status quo and advancing the environmental agenda in Asia, with a fast-paced full-day virtual event. Over 1,000 online delegates were treated to a series of insightful and inspiring interactive sessions, including keynote addresses from industry leaders and sustainability experts. At the top of the bill was Ho Kwon Ping, Founder and Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and Laguna Resorts & Hotels, who spoke about the need to “embrace” the environment, rather than simply preserve it.
 
“It’s not just about protecting endangered species or preventing deforestation; it’s about showing people how beautiful the environment is around them. Because if you embrace the environment, then you protect the environment, you beautify the environment, you appreciate and understand the environment,” KP Ho told PHIST.
 
Discussing the future of travel and hospitality in the post-pandemic era, KP Ho said that alongside the obvious changes, such as strict cleanliness protocols and contactless solutions, the industry would start to move towards a more meaningful existence with a stronger human element.
 
“I’m actually very positive about tourism post-COVID, because I think it’s going to morph. During the global pandemic when people couldn’t travel, we began to realise that we’re actually very social animals. We need the human touch, we need friends to visit, we need to go out with our loved one. So I think that in future we’re going to see a lot more meaningful, purposeful and experiential travel, and that to me is very encouraging,” he added.

This view was supported, and even anticipated, by Aliza Napartivaumnuay, Co-Founder & CEO of Socialgiver – a pioneering lifestyle platform that allows customers to support good causes when they travel. A collection of hotels, restaurants, spas and activities are connected to local grassroots projects in Thailand, with part of the purchase price being channelled to these good causes. For example, by booking one night in a pool villa in Phuket, a guest can fund a child’s education for three years.
 
According to Aliza, this is not just about sustainability, but about “creating a net positive impact”. She believes that this concept can capture the imaginations of all travellers – not only those with a social conscience. “It’s not just about speaking to people who already care about social and environmental issues, but converting people and then slowly engaging them in more social projects,” she explained.
 
Fortunately, most people now understand critical important of sustainability. The question is no longer about whether we need to act, but how to act in the most effective way. Many of the solutions will be found by the younger generation who are naturally more eco-conscious and socially aware. With this in mind, PHIST listened to the views of students from the Asian Institute of Hospitality Management (AIHM) / Les Roches. With issues ranging from renewable energy to gender equality, these bright young minds offered insights into the main concerns facing young people today.
 
Nattawadee Rodsatra, a first year student at AIHM, spoke passionately about the importance of developing a sustainable mindset throughout the community. “Being sustainable should not be just a fashion trend, but the norm that society practices. We need to replenish the planet’s resources, rather than slowly destroying them,” she urged.
 
Concluding the event, Bill Barnett, Managing Director of C9Hotelworks and Co-Founder of PHIST told attendees to consider the global pandemic as a reset button – the chance to take a step back, evaluate how we’re living and working, eliminate harmful practices and embrace a new, responsible era.
 
“Asia’s resort islands have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get sustainable travel right the second time around. We have to take a long-term view of sustainable tourism,” he stated.
 
Organised by the Phuket Hotels Association, Greenview and C9 Hotelworks, in collaboration with multiple like-minded strategic and supporting partners*, PHIST 2021 was the latest edition of Asia’s leading sustainable travel and hospitality event. Other speakers included Matawee Mujchapan, Operations Manager of Centara Hotels & Resorts, Marcia Yu, Senior Investment Manager at International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Luca Dotti, Founder & Managing Director of HOMA, Conor Brannum, Sustainability Officer at HOMA, Jesper Palmqvist, Area Director Asia Pacific of STR, and Nikhom Jensiriratanakorn, Director of Horwath HTL.


The fifth edition PHIST is set to return in autumn 2022, with a face-to-face event hosted in Phuket. Full details will be announced at a later date.

Thailand: Santiburi Koh Samui welcomes international travellers back to paradise with immersive, eco-friendly escapes

Koh Samui, THAILAND – Santiburi Koh Samui, the natural five-star retreat on Samui’s stunning north shore, is celebrating the return of international visitors to Thailand with an enticing new promotion that gives couples and families the chance to experience every aspect of this award-winning retreat, including plenty of added extras!
 
With a collection of spacious, multi-room suites and pristine pool villas all nestled among 23 acres of coconut palms and lotus ponds overlooking a 300-metre-long stretch of sandy beach, Santiburi Koh Samui is an eco-friendly paradise for all types of traveller. Fantastic facilities including the fully-equipped Sports Centre, floodlit tennis courts, a world-class Water Sports Centre, the heavenly Lèn Spa, and Panya & Yim’s Junior Camp ensure that all ages are kept active and entertained.
 
Under its unique Lèn Be Well programme, leisure seekers can choose from five distinct programmes – Adventure, Relax, Romance, Culture and Family – each of which blends serene spa treatments, immersive activities and delectable dining to enhance every aspect of the vacation.
 
These outstanding experiences are showcased in the all-new “Rediscover Samui” promotion, which is dedicated to providing returning international travellers with the ultimate tropical retreat. Complimentary use of the tennis courts, non-motorised water sports equipment and the high-tech fitness centre ensures that guests have endless ways to stay in shape, while free shuttle bus services can transport golfers to the 18-hole championship course at Santiburi Samui Country Club. Up to two children will be absorbed in a world of wonder at Panya & Yim’s Junior Camp, while also sharing a room free-of-charge with their parents.
 
All guests will be treated to a bountiful breakfast, elegant afternoon tea and freshly-cut tropical fruit on every day of their stay. And with early 9am check-in and lazy 4pm check-out, overseas visitors can maximise their precious time on this idyllic island.

The most attractive thing about the Rediscover Samui promotion however, is that the longer guests spend in Koh Samui, the more rewarding their vacation becomes! In addition to the aforementioned inclusions, travellers who stay for three nights or more will enjoy free roundtrip airport transfers, while those who book five-night stays will be treated to roundtrip airport transfers and one dinner, and seven-night reservations will receive roundtrip airport transfers, one dinner and a soothing 60-minute therapy at Lèn Spa.
 
“We are thrilled by the news that Thailand will reopen to international travellers from 1st November 2021. The last 12 months have put real pressure on people’s mental and physical wellbeing, but under Santiburi Koh Samui’s unique Lèn Be Well concept, we want to let our treasured guests stay and play together in their own way. In Thai, lèn means ‘play’, and we believe that wellness means much more than just physical fitness – it is a way of living and a state of mind. We can’t wait to greet travellers to Koh Samui with our famous warm hospitality and genuine Thai smiles,” said Alexandre Frenkel, the resort’s General Manager.
 
Fully vaccinated travellers from 46 countries or territories, including Australia, the UK, US, France and Germany, will be able to enjoy serene, quarantine-free stays in Thailand from 1st November 2021. Once the visitor has shown a “Thailand Pass QR Code” and returned a negative RT-PCR upon arrival at the airport, they will be free to travel anywhere in the Kingdom. Travellers from other countries can still visit Koh Samui under the new “Business & Leisure Ultimate Experiences (BLUE) Zone”.
 
Santiburi Koh Samui has achieved the TAT’s Amazing Thailand Safety & Health Administration Plus (SHA+) certificate, as 100% of staff members have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and it upholds the highest standards of health and safety. Eco-conscious guests can also rest assured that their vacation is not detrimental to the environment; Santiburi Koh Samui has achieved the Green Hotel Award’s ‘Gold Level’, as certified by the Thai government’s Department of Environmental Quality Promotion and Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment. This makes it only resort on Koh Samui to received Gold Level recognition, out of more than 100 applicants.
 
Rates for the Rediscover Samui promotion start from just THB 5,413 per room per night. To learn more and to book your stay at the award-winning Santiburi Koh Samui, visit santiburisamui.com/offers. To learn more about Santiburi Koh Samui, visit santiburisamui.com.