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US-based cruise liner eyes China market with dedicated liner
by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) April 12, 2016

AccorHotels to plant gardens, cut food waste
Paris (AFP) April 12, 2016 - AccorHotels said Tuesday it would plant vegetable gardens at many of its hotels and aims to cut food waste by 30 percent as it improves the environmental sustainability of its operations.

Chief executive Sebastien Bazin said the group that includes the Pullman, Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis chains intends to "reduce food waste by 30 percent, in particular by sourcing food locally".

AccorHotels, which generates 25 to 30 percent of its revenue by serving 150 million meals and 130 million pastries per year, first plans to determine just how much food it is wasting.

Its restaurants will be required to weigh and record food tossed out in order to best determine how to cut waste.

With up to one third of food produced being wasted, according to estimates by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, there is ample room for businesses to save money while also helping reduce hunger and greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming and transport.

Amir Nahai, who heads of up the French group's food operations, said that changes to menus were also coming, as in some hotels they can offer up to 40 main courses.

"In the future we're going to have menus with 10, 15 or 20 main courses, with more local products," he told journalists.

Local could be very close, as the group intends to plant vegetable gardens in many of its 3,900 hotels.

"We are also going to support urban agriculture with the creation of 1,000 vegetable gardens in our hotels by 2020," said Nahai.

AccorHotels also aims to improve the energy efficiency in its buildings with the ultimate target of making them carbon neutral.

In its previous five-year environmental plan, AccorHotels said it cut water consumption by nearly nine percent, energy consumption by 5.3 percent and carbon emissions by 6.2 percent.

US-based cruise liner Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCL) is on track to venture into China next year with a ship tailor-made for the Chinese market, a company official said Tuesday.

Demand for cruises is rising in China, driven by the country's growing middle class, said Steve Odell, NCL senior vice president and managing director for the Asia Pacific.

About 2.2 million, or 10 percent, of the 23 million passengers who made cruise trips worldwide in 2014 came from Asia, with this figure only set to rise, industry data showed.

China accounted for about 50 percent of the cruise trips within Asia that same year, according to the data from the Cruise Lines International Association.

Odell spoke to AFP Tuesday as the firm opened an office in Singapore for the Southeast Asian market, with an eye also on the bigger Chinese pie.

Cruise operators are eager to grab a slice of the Chinese market, which could grow to nearly $10 billion in cruise package sales by 2018 from around $6.8 billion in 2013, according to data from Euromonitor.

In spite of the economic slowdown, NCL is going ahead with plans to launch the Norwegian Joy, a ship tailor-made for the Chinese market which will come into service in next March.

Based at ports in Shanghai and Tianjin, offers on the ship will be geared to Chinese tastes, including more Chinese food options, casinos, mahjong rooms and duty-free shopping.

The 20-deck liner will have a capacity of 3,900 passengers and joins 12 other liners that have homeports in China, nine of them foreign owned.

"If you think of things on the macro scale, there's a lot of confidence that (ships) going to China (are) going to get filled up. What will happen probably is that there'll be a lot more pressure on price than before, but that is normal supply and demand economics," Odell said.

With only about 1.5 million passengers making cruise trips in China last year, the potential is huge, considering the country's population of 1.3 billion, he said.

"We're still in the... infancy of developing a cruise market in China," Odell added.

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Previous Report
China regulator frowns on Anbang's hotel bids: report
Shanghai (AFP) March 23, 2016
China's insurance regulator is opposed to multi-billion dollar bids by financial conglomerate Anbang for Starwood Hotels and a stable of properties owned by hedge fund Blackstone, according to respected business magazine Caixin. Anbang has offered nearly $13 billion for Starwood, owner of the Sheraton and Westin brands, as well as $6.5 billion for the purchase of 16 luxury hotels from Blacks ... read more

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