Environmental Implications Of Hotel Growth In China

Cornell Study Issues Call for Sustainability in China's Hotels

Cornell Center For Hospitality Research

Even though growth in China has eased, the nation's hotel industry continues to expand at a rate far exceeding other parts of the world. However, many of the new hotels in China do not meet international sustainability standards, according to a new analysis published by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. The report, "Environmental Implications of Hotel Growth in China: Integrating Sustainability with Hotel Development," by Gert Noordzy, Eric Ricaurte, Georgette James, and Meng Wu is available at no charge from CHR.

"The Chinese government is on board with sustainability, and we believe hotel developers will eventually focus more specifically on green practices in building their hotels," said Noordzy. "But we see a number of issues that interfere with sustainability in China's hotels."

Noordzy is a hotel development consultant based in Asia, Ricaurte operates a hotel sustainability and research firm, James is a travel and tourism industry consultant, and Wu is an international hotelier.

The paper outlines the potential for and the importance of the industry improving the sustainability of its operations, particularly regarding carbon emissions, energy, and water consumption.

"Part of the issue is that sustainability just hasn't been an issue for China's hotels in the past," Ricaurte explained. "Many of the hotels are relatively small and capital for environmental upgrades can be limited. Additionally, builders are generally rewarded for efficiency rather than their investments in sustainability."

The report suggests four strategies to improve China's hotel sustainability: offer specific case studies of cost savings from sustainability, demonstrate the value of sustainability in a hotel's product life cycle, anticipate legislative changes, and be responsive to consumer demand for sustainable practices. 

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