Industry pioneers KP Ho and Bill Bensely to headline PHIST 6, Southeast Asia’s largest sustainability event

PHIST (Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism), Southeast Asia’s biggest sustainability event for the travel and hospitality industries, is back with a bang this September with an energizing full-day forum headlined by one of the region’s most inspiring leaders: KP Ho, the founder of Banyan Tree Group and pioneer of Laguna Phuket. 

He will be joined in a Double Bill by community advocate, artist and “maximalist” hotel designer, Bill Bensley, who will be interviewed by PHIST organizer Bill Barnett. KP Ho will be interviewed by David Johnson of Delivering Asia Communications.

Passionate advocates of sustainable travel and tourism, KP Ho (left); Bill Bensley (right)

Organised by Phuket Hotels Association, C9 Hotelworks and Greenview, PHIST 6 will be staged on 4th September 2023 at SAii Laguna Phuket, returning to full capacity with approximately 1,000 travel and hospitality professionals expected to gather for a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity from across Asia Pacific.

KP Ho, journalist turned hotelier, understood the critical importance of sustainability before it became a buzzword. Having founded Banyan Tree, he was instrumental in the transformation of Laguna Phuket from a barren moonscape of scarred land – abandoned by the tin mining industry and declared as uninhabitable by the UN – into Southeast Asia’s leading integrated resort development. 

This set the stage for the first luxurious and eco-sensitive Banyan Tree resort in 1994, featuring the world’s first pool villas. The company has now expanded to over 100 hotels and resorts, either operating or in the pipeline. The Banyan Tree Global Foundation has also been set up to support conservation and community development.

Bill Bensley has for 30 years designed many of the most outstanding hotels in Asia, winning a small armoury of world-leading awards and accolades for the deep respect that has been paid to their environments and purpose-driven nature. Like KP he will share his personal story and philosophy for just 100 guests at each session. Registration is available on a first come, first served basis.

Phuket Hotels Association Executive Director, Jayne MacDougall 

In addition, guests can look forward to plenty of learning opportunities, with a series of 16 immersive workshops that will see industry experts share best practices on key and emerging green topics, including waste, renewables, certification, women leaders in sustainability and glamping. A “Green Think Tank” roundtable discussion will be led by Jesper Palmqvist, STR Global’s Area Director for Asia Pacific, with representatives from islands including Bohol, Bali, Koh Samui, Phuket, Phu Quoc, Singapore and the Maldives, while an “Eco Travel Show” will showcase eco-friendly products from exhibitors specializing in outdoor activities such as glamping. A “Farm-to-Table” workshop will let guests learn about the origins of food with two Michelin-starred restaurants in Phuket, and the “Women in Leadership”  session will highlight the issue of gender equality.

Jayne MacDougall, Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association, said: “We are delighted to announce the return of PHIST, Southeast Asia’s biggest sustainability event, for its sixth annual edition. This year, we’re back with a bang as we prepare to welcome 1,000 guests for a full-day itinerary that will shake up the industry, challenge traditional ideas and put learning centre stage. We are also excited to welcome KP Ho back to Phuket. As the man who did so much to stimulate the island’s tourism sector and advance the cause of sustainability, he is the perfect person to inspire our delegates. We look forward to seeing everyone at PHIST this September.”

Sponsors for PHIST 6 include: New Capital Energy Asia, Central CPN, Blue Tree, XCO2, Banyan Tree Phuket and SAii Laguna Phuket, with beverages provided by Greenery Water, JCD Coffee and FullMoon Brewery.

Support is also provided by like-minded partners including the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), Thailand Hotels Association (THA), Phuket Tourist Association (PTA), Thailand Organic Certificate Association (TOCA), American Chamber of Commerce Thailand, QUO, Laguna Phuket and Delivering Asia Communications.

For more information about PHIST 6, please visit 

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