China: The green destination of the future?

By Roger Simons on 06/12/2016

There are some exciting developments bubbling in China; the government has been focusing on soft power and investing more money in science and green tech industries than any other nation in the past years.

It is clear to us that China has set its sights on being a science and sustainability world leader. From building the world’s latest radio telescope with a 1,650 ft dish through to becoming the world’s largest investor in renewable energy last year, spending a total of USD 103 billion, or 36 percent of the world’s total – the evidence is clear.

Every day, the stories continue to mount. Most recently, the Chinese government announced plans to lower meat consumption to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030 and an ambitious plan to cover nearly a quarter of the country with forests by 2020, turning China into “an ecological civilisation”.

President Xi Jinping has pointed out that “green is gold”, and that moving towards a new era of “Eco-civilisation” and building a “Beautiful China” are key to realising the “Chinese Dream” of rejuvenating the nation.

An expanding global trend

So what does this mean for the business events industry? Well, no industry is immune from the power shifts and effects of globalisation or the era of sustainability. EarthCheck already has 30 projects under operation in China – from Langham properties through to Alila, Radisson and Banyan Tree venues, as well as integrated resorts in Macau.

MICE destinations in China are developing rapidly, but with a newly-discovered, environmentally conscious state of mind.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is focused very much on Wenjiang, a satellite feeder city of the main capital. Banyan Tree and Hong Leong Group are planning to invest SGD 2.5 billion (USD 1.8 billion) in this province alone. By 2020, the city will have a population of over 1.2 million lured by environment and business opportunities.

Mr Xiong Zong Hui, Vice-District Head of the People’s Government of Chengdu, Wengjiang district stated, “The quality of life is better here. We think it is important to preserve our ecology and environment, including our lakes and rivers. We want to turn Wengjiang into a garden city.” Watch this destination for sustainable MICE venues coming up online.

Elsewhere, Hainan has been the clear choice for environmentally-conscious planners in China with its lush tropical landscape, green environment and leading hotels, but it is not going to rest on its laurels.

Boasting a great history as the signing place of a key UNEP Sustainable Tourism declaration, the government is continuing to look into the future by delivering a strong sustainable tourism development plan with a green building focus.

Watch out for more developments in the pipeline, such as the 346-room Dhawa Bo’ao, the first hotel in Bo'ao offering quality spa with vibrant, sustainable design elements. With over half of its guest rooms facing the sea, the hotel will have extensive banquet and meeting facilities, a restaurant and pool.

The future is green and the future is definitely “Made in China”.

Roger Simons is Regional Sustainability Director (APAC) at MCI Group and Guest Editor of Biz Events Asia’s November-December 2016 edition.

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