Published on Monday, February 9, 2009

Top Thai Hotel Goes for Green Veggie Growth

Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok has unveiled its secret garden, "Park Organic Veggies"

The green scheme was initiated in 2008 utilising vacant land, near the hotel"s 247 yd. Golf Driving Range, for a more innovative purpose. Here, vegetables are grown without the aide of chemical fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides. The patch is, as its name suggests, wholly organic. A number of hydroponic items are also being grown under carefully controlled conditions, using only natural rainwater and sunlight.

Located in the 9.8 rai (4 acre) land that makes up the Chaophya Park Hotel"s spacious grounds , the leafy garden also houses a mushroom nursery surrounded by herbaceous shrubs of Chinese kale, celery, cucumber, lettuce, spinach and many other greens and herbs. A substantial portion of this top quality produce is transferred to the hotel kitchens ready to be proudly served in various outlets throughout the hotel while a selection will be elegantly packaged under the Park Organic Veggies own label. Plans are in hand to produce a wide range of food and meat produce and also sauces, under the same brand.

Said General Manager Andrew Wood "We"re saving approximately US$12,000 per annum and the skies" the limit. The cross exposure of the hotel name and then to establishing this as a quality brand is virtually priceless."

"It is early days yet. We have a team of 600 looking after the hotel and we draw down the manpower for our garden project, from this pool. For instance the hotel already employs 12 gardeners. Eventually we see this as a separate business, employing scores of people."

"The challenge has been acceptance by my team that no matter how small a contribution we can make to a global effort, if we all make a start then collectively it WILL make a huge difference to the way people behave towards the planet, its people and its resources."

"We introduce a 32 page booklet on Tips for Sustainable Tourism to all guest rooms to our our two Bangkok hotels (402 rooms+ 60 rooms) and to our 5 hotels in Koh Samui , with tips on reponsible tourism and the 4R's : reduce; reuse; recycle; replace. It has been reprinted 2 times already with the help of sponshorship from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)"

"People have choices and one of them is to stay in hotels that care about our children's future and the planet. We are responsible…and WE CARE. "

"We hope that this scheme gets replicated both locally and regionally and with help of publications such as VISION on Sustainable Tourism - internationally too. The hotel is a member of Green Green World, which is a green website for customers to search on-line for Eco friendly hotels and tourism companies. We are receiving many inquires this way. We are also receiving interest from Assumption University, or local University here in Bangkok, who we work very closely with."

Chaophya Park Hotel is a member of the Thai Hotel Association"s Green Leaf programme and was the recent recipient of the Environmentally Friendly Hotel award from the Minister of Tourism.

Valere Tjolle

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