I’m facing a bit of a challenge when writing this text. Here it is: how to present a hoteliers’ conference in an exciting, captivating way. After all, it doesn’t get much duller than a conference room filled with high ranking managers, does it? Well, yes, but maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye?
The conference that I’m talking about is the recent 8th Members Meeting of the Phuket Hotels Association, which gathered approximately 60 members of Phuket’s diverse – when it comes to nationalities – and uniform – when it comes to gender (that is, predominantly male) – hotelier’s community. And it might not sound like it, but this is where things get more exciting – especially if you care about Phuket (and you do, don’t you?!).
Now, 60 hoteliers might not seem like a lot, especially on an island with hundreds of hotels and resorts, but it’s not just how many, but who. PHA’s Members Meetings are the place to be if you want to meet the GM’s and other high ranking officers from the most luxurious, prominent and simply best hotels on the island. Everybody’s there! And I mean everybody! If by any chance you’re a GM of a big hotel and you haven’t found the time to attend the recent event, you should consider hiring a better personal assistant to manage your meetings’ calendar. There simply isn’t a better place to catch up on the latest trends, news and gossip from Phuket’s hospitality universe.
To have all those powerful men (and a few women) come together in one room to discuss things vital to our island’s well-being, is already an achievement, but why would you – that is if you’re not an hotelier, just a Phuketian with the island’s best interest at heart – care? Because if there is anyone in Phuket who can make a change, it’s probably the people in the room I’m writing about – all of them representing an industry with a massive impact on the island and all powerful enough to point it in the right direction, if and when they work towards it together.
Sure, there are plenty of people in Phuket who care, who’d like to see our island change for the better. Many try, in their own way, to do something about it. They feed stray dogs, pick up trash on their beach walks, remind their friends to wear helmets when riding motorbikes – there are as many ways to make a change as there are people in Phuket. Yet few of us have the power to make an actual difference on our own. No matter how much trash you pick up, there’s always more to collect, no matter how many stray dogs you feed, there are more hungry ones waiting. Even if you join forces with some friends for a bigger impact, even if you have time and energy to volunteer with one of the islands well-established aid organizations, it never seems to be enough.
That is because Big Problems – and some of the issues that our island is facing are huge – can only be tackled by the Big Guys. And not each to their own, but working together in unison. Phuket Hotels Association I exactly that. Blessed with official support (the last meeting was attended by the Governor of Phuket and the representatives of the Tourist Authority of Thailand) and a clear vision of the most pressing issues that our island faces, they have the actual power to make a change.
And they’ve already begun. Through PHA efforts Phuket’s brand receives some much needed professional treatment; their previous charity events such as this year’s PHAB fundraiser, pumped a respectable amount of funds into local community through educational programmes; and the upcoming ones, including an island-wide beach clean-up on September 16 and a Gourmet Food Festival in November, promise to be no less grand.
For anyone who’s been on this island longer than for a two weeks’ holiday but not long enough to turn into a die-hard cynic, anyone who’s seen or personally experienced how much time and effort goes into improving the state of things here, anyone who dreams of a cleaner, safer, better managed Phuket, this opportunity for change has to look promising. For the rest of us –dreamers, idealists and believers – it’s nothing short of exciting.
Learn more on Phuket Hotels Association’s website