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Experts discuss sustainability of luxury tourism at WTTC summit


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Experts discuss sustainability of luxury tourism at WTTC summit

By MANOTE TRIPATHI
SPECIAL TO THE NATION

 

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Chadatip Chutrakul, second from left, CEO of Siam Piwat Co, discusses luxury travel alongside other experts at this week's WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok.

 

WITH LUXURY tourism in Asean poised for further growth, leaders of the hospitality, tourism and retail industries have stressed that sustainable development and social responsibility are keys to the segment’s resilience.

 

They came together at the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) Global Summit in Bangkok, which ended on Thursday, to discuss “The Traveller of the Future – Luxury Travel” in a session moderated by Peter Greenberg, travel editor for US network CBS News. 

 

Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive of Siam Piwat Co, which operates several of Thailand’s leading shopping malls including Siam Paragon in Bangkok, said her company’s customer-centric policy helped encourage luxury travel by customising shoppers’ emotional experiences.

 

“Siam Paragon has visitors from around the world. They come to enjoy themselves besides shopping. We manage customers’ emotional experiences: We make sure they come and get everything. Luxury by definition is about customising experiences,” she said.

 

Chadatip said Siam Piwat practised sustainable development through cooperation with residents of nearby communities, retailers, boat operators and hoteliers to maintain the landscape around the company’s soon-to-open IconSiam, a Bt50-billion mixed-use property that will host shopping complexes, among other things, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

 

“We’re joining hands with those people to create a river association to make sure that the river and its connecting canals are clean. With IconSiam, we want visitors to travel to the area and experience local charms,” she said. 

 

Technology is an integral part of luxury travel, said Clement Kwok, managing director and CEO of Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, citing the role of nifty high-tech devices in boosting luxury travellers’ hotel experiences. 

 

“Luxury tourism is about personalised experiences, pampering guests with technology. Frequently guests [communicate] with our hotel staff with apps like WhatsApp. Increased connectivity in the guest rooms in the form of high-tech controls of the in-room entertainment systems is very important,” he said.

 

Kwok added that sustainable luxury was part of the hotel group’s core values and was delivered through the group’s “Vision 2020” that sets out a range of economic, social and environmental goals to achieve by 2020. 

 

“We practise sustainable development by finding ways to build environmentally friendly hotels, avoiding certain seafood like shark fin, and promote less energy consumption and more waste recycling,” he said. 

 

Waste recycling comes right to the fore in the sustainable-luxury policy of Silversea Cruises, said its chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio. 

 

“In Alaska, waste releases coming out of our cruise ships are cleaner than seawater,” he boasted, adding that luxury travellers increasingly spend money to buy experiences rather materials. 

 

However, emotional fulfilment takes precedence over technology when it comes to luxury lifestyles, said Deepak Ohri, chief executive of Lebua Hotels & Resorts in Bangkok.

 

“Luxury is about surprises, emotional connections and going back to the basics. Luxury travellers are knowledgeable. They know that what they experience is what matters. 

 

“Those who don’t care much about technology care about their emotional connections. Luxury lifestyles run counter to mass trends. Luxury travellers create their own niches. At Lebua, we ban smoking in guest rooms, and the ban will be extended to our restaurants, which is our next step,” Ohri said.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/business/EconomyAndTourism/30313705

 

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-04-29
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5 hours ago, rooster59 said:

Technology is an integral part of luxury travel, said Clement Kwok, managing director and CEO of Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels, citing the role of nifty high-tech devices in boosting luxury travellers’ hotel experiences. 

Yes, and these things have to work all the time for people who pay for such things.

 

IMO Thailand needs to offer four and five star holidays to those who would not normally treat themselves to such things by making it financially attractive.  The jetset are not going to spend much time in Thailand, as they probably do not find it a place that will sustain them financially or intellectually.  Open up the doors to business, and you may entice those with money.  

 

Back packers are less threatening to the Thai elites and they are better for the  Thai economy. 

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7 hours ago, rooster59 said:

“We practise sustainable development by finding ways to build environmentally friendly hotels, avoiding certain seafood like shark fin, and promote less energy consumption and more waste recycling,” he said. 

 

Waste recycling comes right to the fore in the sustainable-luxury policy of Silversea Cruises, said its chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio. 

I want a refund

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I have been talking about raising the bar on tourist quality for years but most Thailand operators know

along with our" Mistress of Tourism" that they are a little more discerning so opt to destroy this beautiful

country with hordes of cheap charlie tourists who just over pollute the little infrastructure that is in place.

As I have said before it is all about immediate short term greed.

When the high end operators get the green light & develop properly in places like Myanmar Thailand will

lose the top 30% of their top tier spending tourists (& residents) but they cannot see it

"Kill the goose that lays the golden egg"

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On 4/29/2017 at 6:49 AM, yellowboat said:

Back packers are less threatening to the Thai elites and they are better for the  Thai economy. 

 

How are they better? And how are Thai elites being threatened by non-back packer tourists?

 

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7 hours ago, lkn said:

 

How are they better? And how are Thai elites being threatened by non-back packer tourists?

 

Back packers are better for the economy as a whole as they purchase more locally made products in greater volume. 

 

Thailand is not friendly to foreigners doing business in Thailand, as they fear competition.  Very few of the Thai super wealthy are competitive to the outside world.  

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6 hours ago, yellowboat said:

Back packers are better for the economy as a whole as they purchase more locally made products in greater volume. 

 

Backpackers buy street food, beers at 7-Eleven, stay in hostels, ride songthaews, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if their daily budget is just a few thousand baht.

 

High-end tourists can easily pay 15,000 baht for accommodation alone (I’ve done that many times myself), add at least a thousand for dining (I’ve had many meals in Thailand that were a few thousand baht per person), then comes spa treatments, private tours, souvenirs, etc. A daily budget of 30,000 would definitely not be unrealistic (in fact for truly high-end tourists, this is pretty low).

 

But even if high-end tourists only outspend by a factor of 15, and there are 15 times as many backpackers, I would still argue that the value to the Thai economy is greater with the high-end tourists, the simple argument being that the Thais have to work 15 times as much for the same revenue when their customers are backpackers.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, lkn said:

 

Backpackers buy street food, beers at 7-Eleven, stay in hostels, ride songthaews, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if their daily budget is just a few thousand baht.

 

High-end tourists can easily pay 15,000 baht for accommodation alone (I’ve done that many times myself), add at least a thousand for dining (I’ve had many meals in Thailand that were a few thousand baht per person), then comes spa treatments, private tours, souvenirs, etc. A daily budget of 30,000 would definitely not be unrealistic (in fact for truly high-end tourists, this is pretty low).

 

But even if high-end tourists only outspend by a factor of 15, and there are 15 times as many backpackers, I would still argue that the value to the Thai economy is greater with the high-end tourists, the simple argument being that the Thais have to work 15 times as much for the same revenue when their customers are backpackers.

 

 

"My own research in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia since the mid-1990s shows that as backpackers tend to consume local products (food, coffee, beer, cigarettes etc), stay in small guest houses, and use locally owned ground transport, more of their expenditure is retained in-country than in conventional mass tourism."  theGaurdian :  backpacker-travel-benefit-poor-countries .   Also by sheer numbers there are just more of them.  Thailand should focus on business travelers, but Thailand has a funny attitude towards business. 

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15 hours ago, yellowboat said:

more of their expenditure is retained in-country than in conventional mass tourism

It sounds like you are talking about the package deals where the (foreign) operator owns the resort that the tourists stay at and where some of the staff may even be foreign as well. We are however talking about high-end tourists vs backpackers, not budget deals vs backpackers, furthermore, when you imply the expenditures are not retained in Thailand, I think you forget all the protectionism laws we have here.

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18 minutes ago, lkn said:

It sounds like you are talking about the package deals where the (foreign) operator owns the resort that the tourists stay at and where some of the staff may even be foreign as well. We are however talking about high-end tourists vs backpackers, not budget deals vs backpackers, furthermore, when you imply the expenditures are not retained in Thailand, I think you forget all the protectionism laws we have here.

No.  These are backpackers according to the Guardian.  Even though they live simply, they stay longer and are in huge numbers.  Khao San keeps growing.  Money is made by volume, not by a few wealthy tourists.  If Thailand wanted to fill more of its 4 and 5 star hotels, it should entice business.  Families with kids or well heeled couples are not going to find Thailand all that appealing. 

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