ATF 2014: Hotel awards are the first order of business

Kuching, Malaysia (eTN) – This year’s edition of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) has yet to be declared open, but it is already generating buzz-worthy events. A day before the official opening of ATF 2014, the ASEAN Green Hotels Award was held at Pullman Hotel with Malaysian Tourism Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Abdul Aziz delivering a welcome address.

According to the Malaysian minister, the ASEAN Green Hotel Award was first started in 2008 with Thailand as the host country. “At this ASEAN Green Hotel Award 2014, ASEAN will award 86 green hotels across the ASEAN member states.”

He added: “This ceremony is a recognition of the mutual benefits and opportunities derived through networking, collaborations and working partnership within the ASEAN member states, the private sectors and NGOs. I look forward to sharing the success stories and experiences which can help provide valuable lessons and guidelines that will have significant impact on the economy and tourism industry.”

What is a Green Hotel?
“[It] is a hotel which is environmentally-friendly and adopts energy conservation measures, while respectful of sustainable consumption of resources,” said Malaysian Tourism Minister.

He also acknowledged that “nowadays there is an increasing demand by tourists for hotels which adopt green practices. Studies have shown that this increase in demand is higher than the supply of green hotels. Hence, these green hotels fetch premium in their hotels rates. Beyond this, the green hotel management practices will, in the long run, also reduce the cost of operations and enhance revenue.”

In his welcoming speech at the award ceremony, the minister also said: “Recognizing this global trend, ASEAN has decided to develop the ASEAN Green Hotel Standard. This standard establishes a professional green hotel operation comprising an environmental plan, green products,human resource and environmental management – all of which enable all involved to reap benefits from a collective approach to operational professionalism. This ASEAN Green Hotel program is also seen as an integral initiative to support the current work of ASEAN to develop the ASEAN Ecotourism Strategic Plan, which promotes responsible tourism and green practice in the tourism industry.”

According to him, the primary purpose of ATF’s bi-annual Green Hotel Award is to provide the well-deserved recognition to hotels that go beyond conventional practices and embark on green and environmentally-friendly measures in support of responsible tourism.

Interestingly, during the awards ceremony, all ASEAN member states each received 10 awards with the exception of Brunei and the Philippines which had one and five, respectively. For Brunei, the sole winner of the Hotel Green Award is Ulu Ulu Resort. For the Philippines, The Manor at Camp John Hay, Bagiuo Country Club, Amarela Resort, Pangulasian Island Resort and Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort each collected a Green Hotel award.

In addition to Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, the ASEAN region includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as member states. All of the member states have sent their respective tourism ministers to this year’s ATF, which is being held in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign. Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, is also in attendance for the annual ASEAN conference.