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Hotels Bin Disposable Freebies

More and more Beijing hotels are taking environmentally friendly measures, and although they risk offering poorer service, the hotels hope their guests will understand the reasons.


Both hotel entrepreneurs and the industry association have responded quickly to the new environmental practices.


However, travelers who notice the loss of better service may misunderstand the hotels' measures.


Thirteen hotels, including two five-star ones - all members of the hotel division of the Beijing Tourism Group - reached an agreement at the weekend that they will no longer provide disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste and razors in guests' rooms from next Monday.


Bed sheets and towels will not be changed every day if a traveler stays there for several consecutive days, the agreement states.


Known as the "Green Pronouncement," the move is to spare more than 5,000 items of daily hygiene articles and tons of water in these hotels, according to Zhang Rungang, deputy director of the group.


The hotels will not supply these items unless they receive specific requests from the guests.


The move also aims to use less detergent, which contaminates rivers each time the sheets and towels are cleaned and washed.


"Of course, the adoption of the new practice needs time to be accepted by our customers ... and customers are guaranteed to be informed upon check-in at the front desk," said Wu Zaidu, public relations officer with the Xiyuan Hotel, a five-star member of the Beijing Tourism Group.


What they intend to do is in accordance with the global trend in the development of a "green" hotel industry, Wu said.


A majority of the hotels in the United States and Europe took the lead in this aspect; and in the 1990s, South Korea and Malaysia followed the trend, he added.


However, hotel charges will not be reduced, Zhang said.


Liu Deqian, a researcher with the Tourism Research Center with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily that he appreciated the greener activity.


However, he warned the hotels should not make this green-orientated move to expand their profit margins.


Liu suggested cancellation of the disposable articles is not the only way to save resources, which are becoming more and more precious.


(China Daily June 8, 2005)

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