Thailand announced a remarkable win when Phuket was selected to host a leading global event, 2026 Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC 2026). This event represents a milestone on the city’s path to becoming an international hub of sustainable tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions).

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is the leading organisation in the bidding, which is undertaken in cooperation with Phuket Province, Sustainable Tourism Development Foundation (STDF), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA). Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, TCEB President, said the achievement is strong evidence of close cooperation among TCEB and stakeholders, particularly Phuket, one of the first MICE Cities of Thailand. By winning the bid to host GSTC 2026, Phuket is putting a mark on Thailand’s MICE industry and sustainability on the global stage.

“Hosting GSTC 2026 in Phuket is a great victory for Thailand, setting a significant milestone for its sustainable tourism and MICE industries. TCEB believes that the bureau’s partnership with Phuket in destination marketing, attracting global events, upgrading MICE infrastructure and manpower, product development and undertaking sustainable initiatives will be strong fundamentals for the upcoming GSTC 2026,” Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya said.

The GSTC 2026 is scheduled for April 2026 under the ‘Regenerative Tourism’ theme. The conference and seminar will convene global and local tourism experts to advance sustainable tourism and travel. More than 700 participants from 60 countries are expected to be from state agencies, hotels, tourism and business events industries, online travel agencies, education institutions, development organisations, and other sectors. The global conference is expected to generate over 50 million baht in revenue.

Sophon Suwannarat, Phuket Governor, thanked all state, private and civil sectors, involved organisations and Thai people for supporting Phuket’s bid proposal to host GSTC 2026. “It is an excellent opportunity for Phuket to increase Thailand’s confidence on the global stage. The win is due to the plan to elevate Phuket to an international sustainable tourism destination by 2027.” He said this “will be undertaken through reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, and waste management, which will be beneficial and supportive of the future achievement in sustainable tourism development.”

“Phuket Province is ready to be the host of GSTC 2026. With our current available infrastructure including airport, hotels and other global standard facilities, all together with our unique local culture identity, we are ready to welcome GSTC members and visitors from around the world to Phuket,” Governor Narong said.

Bhummikitti Raktaengam, President of the Sustainable Tourism Development Foundation (STDF), said: “The foundation has a strong will to enhance the practical implementation of sustainable tourism and travel in Thailand. This can be carried out through the strategic master plan that emphasises cooperation between the tourism business and the public sector. The particular areas of cooperation are reducing carbon dioxide emissions, proper waste management, and adapting the tourism business sector to the pressures and challenges of global climate change factors, which affect the execution of tourism-related laws and regulations in many countries.”

“Hosting GSTC 2026 begins a journey to sustainable tourism in Phuket, Andaman region and Thailand. For Phuket, in particular, it is the first practical step to becoming a global sustainable tourism destination”, Bhummikitti Raktaengam said.

Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said that “hosting GSTC 2026 will show tourists worldwide the importance Thailand is giving to environmental conservation and protection. This will increase confidence and create a better image of Thailand’s tourism products and services, particularly among ‘high-quality tourists’ from Europe, America, Australia, and Asian quality groups. They are TAT’s main target groups and have significantly high environmental concerns.”

Moreover, the TAT governor said: “Thailand’s hosting of GSTC 2026 will be one of the integration models among the governmental, private, and civil society sectors in driving the government’s policy of targeting Thailand as an international hub of MICE tourism.”

Gp. Capt. Athikhun Kongmee, Director-General of Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration or DASTA, congratulated Thailand, especially Phuket, for being the selected host of GSTC 2026. “Thailand and Phuket will benefit significantly from the gathering of experienced participants and persons with knowledge resources in sustainable tourism from around the world.”

“DASTA has long adopted the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria as the fundamental guideline for sustainable tourism development in each of its designated areas and has exchanged a body of knowledge with the expert network of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC),” Athikhun Kongmee said. DASTA is currently achieving the development of an internationally recognised prototype of a tourism destination. Thus, DASTA hopes that hosting GSTC 2026 in Phuket will help spotlight a more robust image of Thailand’s sustainable tourism on the global stage.