It’s estimated that close to 10 million tourists visit the island of Phuket each year. That’s undoubtedly a large number and leads us to wonder whether or not such a high number of visitors has a negative impact on the local environment, particularly in regards to the consumption of fossil fuels on the island.
In this article, we’ll try to get to the bottom of this issue and see what its direct ramifications are. Also, we’ll propose a few solutions and how you can play your part in them.
The relationship between fossil fuels and tourism
Tourism is the primary source of income for the island of Phuket. At the same time, most of the power demands on the island are fueled by non-renewable energy sources such as coal and natural gas. This situation poses a problem, and we’ll highlight exactly how below.
- Tourists use more energy. Tourism, while good for the economy, is also widely accepted as the largest contributor to energy consumption on the island. Data shows that tourists consume power up to four times than locals.
- Phuket’s popularity is not slowing down. Recent trends indicate that Phuket will continue to dominate lists of the most frequently visited places in the world. It’s also estimated that tourist numbers will double by 2030.
- The Thai government is forced to rely on fossil fuels. To keep up, national agencies are looking to construct even more non-renewable power plants as alternative energy sources are still not completely viable nor easily attainable.
The problem becomes cyclical in nature, while simultaneously growing exponentially as more tourists arrive thus putting more strain on an already-struggling power situation.
What can be done?
There are a few solutions to this problem. Foremost is a heavy push towards renewable energy sources like solar and wind. This will take great efforts and resources from the government, and it may be at least several decades before Phuket is able to switch to completely sustainable energy sources.
With that in mind, the burden then falls to local businesses, residents, and tourists alike. For businesses, a shift towards more sustainable energy sources and practices will provide some key benefits. One, businesses that adapt to this eco-conscious mentality can cut down on overhead in the long-term, especially when outfitted with their own power sources. Second is that they’ll be able to take advantage of the ever-growing demand for sustainable accommodations.
For the people on the island, the problem can be addressed on the micro-level, meaning it becomes everybody’s responsibility to help reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources. Similarly, there are two ways to go about this. The first is to be mindful when using electricity. The mere act of switching off lights and appliances when they’re not being used will have a huge effect if performed on a massive scale. The second way is for people – tourists, specifically – to patronize businesses that have the same principles in mind.
What does this all mean? Basically, in order for Phuket to continue to thrive as a tourist destination, everyone on the island must contribute to more sustainable means of producing and consuming electricity. Whether you’re a local enterprise or just another face in the crowd, we all have an important part to play in the future of Phuket.
If you’re interested in purchasing a sustainable, energy-efficient property in Phuket, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help. If you’re looking for a residential villa in Phuket, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.