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Although Macao is often referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ it has much more to offer than casinos. Macao retains its Portuguese colonial legacy with European architecture and cuisine still evident throughout the city.

 

With the annual PATA Travel Mart taking place in Macao next week we share with you some tips to ensure a responsible and enjoyable visit to this fascinating part of north east Asia.

 

Enjoy local foods

 

Enjoying authentic fare will be easy in Macao as there are some amazing street food markets that offer local food. Explore the Red Market, where you can try many local snacks and Macanese specialties. Visit Coloane Market which offers all kinds of healthy and organic options. Check out the Food Street at Broadway Macao, located on a traditional Macanese hawker-style street market that offers many Asian and local specialties. Make sure you try the famous Portuguese egg tarts and other signature dishes.

 

Buy local souvenirs

 

Get your souvenirs at local shops, and try to ‘spread the wealth’ by shopping in different places. Remember, do not buy any souvenirs made from endangered species, which can be illegal to export. Download the Wild Witness app that enables tourists to report illegal wildlife trade by taking a picture of a product and sharing its location. Common products from endangered species include ivory, tortoiseshell, reptile skins, furs, corals and seashells.

 

Sleep green

 

More ‘green’ hotels are popping up in Macao. Make sure that you book a hotel that meets the appropriate sustainability standards by looking for the Macao Green Hotel Award label. You could choose one of these five Sands hotels that are Gold category winners: Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, Conrad, Sheraton Grand and Holiday Inn Macao.

 

Use public transport or walk

 

Try to avoid taking taxis and use public transport or walk. The Macao peninsula and the islands are easy to explore on foot. The bus system might be difficult for foreigners that do not speak the local dialects but most hotels offer free shuttle-bus services to take you to tourist attractions and casinos.

 

Enjoy nature

 

Macao has an impressive nature scene. Go cycling on Taipa Island and be rewarded with some amazing views. The larger island of Coloane, formerly a haven for pirates, is popular for hiking and cycling. Macao is also known for its gardens including the Lou Lim Loc Garden on the peninsula. Camoes Garden is also popular with locals and tourists.

 

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Ithaca, NY, April 2, 2014 – Hotels that have earned the ISO 14001 certification had higher guest satisfaction scores than those with no such certification, according to a study published by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). The study, which surveyed guests at 6,850 hotels in Spain, found that 4-star hotels particularly benefited from higher guest satisfaction scores when they held the ISO environmental management certification.

The study, “Environmental Management Certification (ISO 14001): Effects on Hotel Guest Reviews,” is available at no charge from the CHR. It was written by María-del-Val Segarra-Oña, Angel Peiró-Signes, Rohit Verma, José Mondéjar-Jiménez, and Manuel Vargas-Vargas. Segarra-Oña and Peiró-Signes are at Politechnic University of Valencia, Mondéjar-Jiménez is dean of Social Sciences School of Cuenca at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, where Vargas-Vargas is an associate professor. Verma is a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

“This is one of several studies that indicate clear benefits from eco-certification, and one of these benefits seems to involve improved operations,” said Verma. “In this study, we see that guests do appreciate those operating improvements. This is especially true for upscale hotels, where certification boosted guest ratings significantly.” The ISO 14001 standard, which can apply to any business, specifies a path for continuous improvement and control of a firm’s environmental performance.

The Spanish study found that the guests gave significantly higher satisfaction ratings to 4-star hotels that met the ISO 14001 standard than to their non-certified competitors. On the other hand, guest rating differences relating to certification in 5- and 3-star hotels were muted. Thus, the results imply that acquiring ISO 14001 certification may give upscale hotels a distinctive asset that leads them to a competitive advantage over similar non-certified properties. On the other hand, in 5- and 3-star properties, it appears guests are focused on other factors when they make their satisfaction ratings.

Originally published as Sustainable Hotels Earn Higher Guest Ratings, Says Cornell Study by The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR)

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