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Hotels to Become Environmentally Friendly
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China is set to have 10,000 environmentally friendly hotels by 2010 as part of effort to improve ecological awareness in the hospitality industry.

The Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and four other governmental departments called on industry bosses to conserve energy in their businesses in a circular issued recently.

It said a State standard on "green hotels" would be drafted and enacted soon. The circular added that 10,000 hotels were expected to be guided to set up eco-friendly managerial systems and facilities and adopt technologies that conserve water and energy and reduce waste.

The NDRC will work out policies that support the promotion of energy-saving technologies and products.

"By means such as taxes and expanded government procurement, energy-saving technologies and products will be promoted in the market," said Lu Wenbin, an official with the NDRC.

The China Hotels Association drafted and put into effect an industry standard of green hotels three years ago. According to the standard, green hotels should not only provide safe rooms and healthy food, but also conserve energy and be environmentally friendly.

There are currently more than 300 hotels that have come under the classification.

Zhang Jun, senior staff with the association, which will participate in drafting the new, stricter State standard, said the new regulations would strengthen the requirements on both energy conservation and environmental protection.

"It means that hotels should establish an effective managerial system to control energy consumption in order to comply with the new standard," he said. "It is much more complicated than stopping providing throw-away toothbrushes."

Many existing green hotels have themselves called for improvements in current energy-saving technologies and facilities.

Wang Li, from the State-funded Jianguo Hotel Managing Company, which runs 13 hotels, said that some existing energy-saving techniques were not feasible in the hospitality industry, such as using recycled water.

He said it required a huge investment to dig holes throughout the hotel buildings to install new pipes.

"We support the move of creating green hotels, but we need to be convinced that these new technologies or products actually deserve the money we put in," he said. Statistics with the China Hotels Association show that there are more than 200,000 hotels on the Chinese mainland.

(China Daily February 7, 2006)

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