"Please be environmentally friendly and help us reduce the frequency of washing towels."
These words will be seen on small cards by the end of 2007 in all hotel rooms that have signed a contract with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).
The polite reminder cards are just one of the measures taken by the 112 establishments identified as being "green hotels".
Any hotel failing to meet the standards required by the end of this year could have its contract terminated, said BOCOG officials at a press conference yesterday.
The environmental guidelines issued by China National Tourism Administration in 2006 say "green hotels" require eco-friendly managerial systems and facilities. They also need to adopt technologies that conserve water and reduce energy consumption and waste generation.
"BOCOG will invite experts to survey the hotels early next year. And those failing to meet the standards will be told to do so," said deputy director of BOCOG's Services Department Xiang Ping. Hotels that don't meet the required standards will be dropped from the listing.
Of the hotels involved in the scheme thirty-eight offer five-star facilities, 40 of them are four-star and the remainder carry three-stars.
The Beijing Tourism Bureau awarded the "green seal" of approval to 52 of 112 hotels including the Beijing Hotel and Kempinski Hotel, last year.
"We put in great efforts over the past year to raise our green standards and make our hotel more environmentally friendly," Kempinski public relations manager, Li Shuang said. The hotel now uses recycled water to flush toilets.
Upgraded electrical equipment and structural changes have helped these hotels reduce air and noise pollution and cut their energy consumption, say experts.
But other small changes are needed to show guests why a hotel has been granted the "green" tag. For example a hotel has to make it clear it doesn't serve the meat of animals protected by state law.
The listed hotels are expected to encourage their guests, through their services and suggestions, to lead a lifestyle that is environmentally friendly, Xiang said. For instance if a guest or a group of guests has ordered enough dishes and wish to order more waiting staff have to inform them as politely as possible that it's an avoidable waste.
These hotels would provide about 30,000 rooms to Olympic guests, Xiang said. The combined capacity of Beijing hotels is approximately 260,000 rooms.
Approximately 1,500 mainland hotels met the green criteria by the end 2006.
(China Daily February 2, 2007)