Hong Kong’s single-use plastics ban will saddle motels with further prices, might deter patrons: trade chiefs – Go Well being Professional

Objects lined within the coverage embody bottled water, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toiletry kits, shaving razors, in addition to nail recordsdata, combs and bathe caps.

The second stage will ban the free distribution of earplugs and dental floss picks. Environmental authorities have mentioned the latter stage will likely be carried out as soon as alternate options can be found.

Glass bottled water on show at Mira Resort in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photograph: Xiaomei Chen

David Leung Tai-wai, founder and chairman of the Hong Kong Visitor Homes Affiliation, which represents 700 of the town’s 1,300 visitor homes and hostels, mentioned some patrons have been hesitant to just accept adjustments introduced on by the approaching ban.

“We tried providing hand wash and bathe gel in massive bottles, however our visitors didn’t like them. They didn’t know whether or not the earlier visitor carried any ailments,” he mentioned.

Leung mentioned visitors paid extra consideration to in-room cleanliness following the Covid-19 pandemic, with disposable merchandise thought-about extra hygienic.

He expressed issues that the coverage may exacerbate native motels’ already struggling occupancy ranges.

“The financial system is horrible. Our common occupancy price is 40 per cent,” he mentioned. “The visitors might discover us miserly as a result of they anticipate every little thing to be free.

“I’m most afraid they are going to complain about us on journey web sites. If that turns into the case, we will likely be doomed.”

The sector returned to pre-Covid occupancy ranges through the Lunar New Yr break, however continues to wrestle to interrupt even after three years underneath the pandemic.

Harbour Centre Improvement, which owns The Murray and Marco Polo motels, recorded a lack of HK$107 million (US$13.6 million) final yr, with an underlying internet lack of HK$201 million.

The corporate mentioned in March that its native lodge operations confronted growing strain from neighbouring Shenzhen, with geopolitical and financial uncertainties casting a shadow over the trade’s outlook.

Regal Lodges, which has 11 motels in Hong Kong, additionally issued a revenue warning that month, saying it anticipated losses for final yr to succeed in HK$1.8 billion, up from HK$358 million in 2022.

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Leung, who owns a 10-room inn in Tsim Sha Tsui, mentioned the ban would enhance the burden on hoteliers as wooden and paper-based alternate options have been costlier.

“A plastic toothbrush prices HK$1.5, however a wood toothbrush is between HK$2 and HK$2.5,” he added. “A plastic comb is about HK$1, and a wood one is no less than 50 HK cents extra expensive.”

Winnie To Wing-ki, the supervisor of the 65-room Yesinn@YMT hostel, which will likely be renamed Mov.Inn Youth Hostel in July, additionally expressed issues institutions may give off a financially tight-fisted impression to visitors.

“Resort charges in Hong Kong are comparatively costly in Asia, however we can not present a full set of facilities,” she mentioned. “The visitors should query why some gadgets, akin to disposable towels and slippers, are free whereas others usually are not.”

To mentioned her hostel would promote gadgets lined by the ban in merchandising machines, in keeping with laws set out by environmental authorities.

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Some pundits recommended hoteliers may decrease their room costs and add an choice for facilities as a separate billing class to take care of a constant price price.

However Jack Cheung Ki-tang, a director at CTS HK Metropark Lodges Administration, which has seven motels in Hong Kong, mentioned reserving web sites have been unlikely to again the transfer as a result of it will have an effect on the division of income.

“Web sites akin to Agoda and Reserving.com, can solely assist with the room rental,” he mentioned.

“If a visitor comes into my lodge and I inform him we don’t embody toothpaste and toothbrush units or bottled water without cost, the shopper will all the time really feel they’re paying further.”

Cheung additionally mentioned his motels had sourced a lot of the various gadgets, along with shifting from serving water in plastic bottles to utilizing paper cartons.

Alexander Wassermann (left), Miramar Group’s head of motels and serviced flats, and Caspar Tsui, government director of the Federation of Hong Kong Resort House owners, at Mira Resort in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photograph: Xiaomei Chen

Alexander Wassermann, head of the Mira Hong Kong lodge, mentioned the institution’s 492 rooms had beforehand used as much as 500,000 plastic bottles yearly, with the corporate already beginning to introduce eco-friendly facilities final yr.

He mentioned water was now served in glass bottles and rooms got here geared up with countertop water purifiers.

Wassermann mentioned a troublesome problem was discovering a substitute for the toothpaste and toothbrush units, as authorities had beforehand rejected the lodge’s earlier kits resulting from their plastic lining.

The lodge later discovered some that used an aluminium sachet that was 70 per cent costlier than the unique packaging, he mentioned.

“However all issues thought-about, there’s not a lot influence on the fee,” the hotelier added.

Wassermann additionally mentioned all the institution’s rooms now used press bottles as a substitute of particular person vials for shampoo, bathe gel and conditioner. He famous the lodge had not acquired complaints in regards to the transfer being unhygienic.

“We should always make this to our profit, selling that Hong Kong motels are going inexperienced,” he mentioned. “I believe for us, it’s a nice slogan to the world.”

Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, government director of the Federation of Hong Kong Resort House owners, which represents practically all 300 of the town’s motels, mentioned the federal government ought to enhance selling the coverage to incoming travellers.

“It isn’t that we are attempting to cost our prospects extra. It’s extra about sustainability,” he mentioned. “A number of mainland lodge operators are coming to Hong Kong to see how we’re doing this.”

Tsui mentioned authorities had additionally helped motels discover suppliers to verify the alternate options have been certified.

He added that they have been “90 per cent prepared” for the ban, except some merchandise akin to bathe caps and razors.

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Vacationer Lennart Wysk, a 21-year-old pupil from Germany, mentioned the coverage was “good for the setting in the long term” as Europe had launched related insurance policies for a number of years.

Because of this, he introduced his personal toothbrush and toothpaste when travelling, Wysk added.

Some potential guests, nonetheless, mentioned the ban would harm their impression of Hong Kong motels, particularly since room charges have been already excessive.

“Hong Kong motels are recognized for being small and costly,” mentioned Teddy Liu, 25, a copywriter from Guangzhou, who deliberate to go to Hong Kong for a weekend getaway.

“Now even the conveniences supplied without cost will likely be cancelled.”

She added that she would have most well-liked to remain in Shenzhen, however her visa had a journey restrict.

Wei Yuqing, a 24-year-old pupil from Guangxi province, mentioned motels in Hong Kong ought to cost much less if they can’t provide freebies.

“If they can’t present plastic provides [for free], they need to decrease their costs,” mentioned Wei, who was planning to go to the town for 3 days subsequent month.

Kenneth Cheng Kin, an assistant director with the Environmental Safety Division, mentioned authorities deliberate to extensively promote the ban at motels, journey reserving web sites and border crossings.

Promotion efforts would prolong to checkpoints akin to the town’s airport, the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminus and the Lo Wu crossing, he added.

Cheng careworn that authorities wouldn’t ban plastic toiletries at motels outright, however would require patrons to pay for such gadgets.

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