Leading tourists towards a whole new luxury travel and relaxation experience that is free from single-use plastic has become an ambitious goal for some of the world’s leading hospitality organizations. Luxury hotel chains are responding to the global call against plastic pollution across the world by implementing various means to avoid the use of disposable plastic.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is soon to eliminate all single-use plastic across its five-star hotels and resorts with targets set by end of March this year. The hotel chain has identified 23 of the most common items of single-use plastic which were being used across its hotels and have eliminated 86 per cent of these initial items. The group also encouraged its suppliers to provide sustainable alternatives that would be appreciated by its discerning guests.
Some of the organizations such as the Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas have committed to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative launched by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a signatory, the exclusive hospitality chain pledged to eliminate plastic and innovate to recycle, and circulate its use of plastics and target to reach these goals by 2025. Six Senses, prior to signing up to the initiative, has already made a commitment to become plastic-free by 2022.
Meanwhile, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, located in Malaysia, has been cutting the use of single-use plastic by promoting the use of reusable items across its property. Instead of offering individually wrapped toiletries, it uses dispensers in its bathroom amenities. Guests also get to take their drinking water from onsite water bottling system served in glass bottles. The hotel has also banned the use of plastic straws.
In Cambodia, more hotels are backing the trend. Clean Green Cambodia has led a conference #noplasticinmyhotel in 2019, which were supported by about 35 hotels keen to cut on their single-use plastic usage. They recognized that poor sanitation and waste management impact the industry’s revenue by USD 74 million per year. Some of the practices that the hotels intended to implement include switching to refillable shampoo, shower gel and using reusable laundry bags, among others. The sector also had a vibrant partners and suppliers who are keen to help the hotels shift to sustainable alternatives. Some of the hotels which committed to the campaign include SomWhite Boutique Hotel, Alila Koh Russy, Mulberry Boutique Hotel, and Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethraa, among others.
The UNWTO has reported that as of December 2020, 46 tourism companies, suppliers, business associations, NGOs, consultancies and certification schemes have signed up to the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative, indicating that these companies are keen to enable travelers enjoy a plastic-free holiday destination.