To most westerners, the first week of October is nothing special. In China, this time is known as the Golden Week. From October 1st through 8th, Chinese get an unprecedented 8 days off work to celebrate the country’s founding. Most, though, spend it traveling.
According to China’s largest tour provider, Ctrip, this year over 650 million Chinese will travel domestically. A glance at some of the pictures coming out of 2016’s Golden Week shows just how packed China’s biggest tourist sites can get. Tack that on with the more than 6 million Chinese traveling overseas and it’s clear why Golden Week is also a golden opportunity for business.
It’s also a missed opportunity.
Think of all the planes, boats, and trains moving these masses around. What about the hotels and restaurants serving their needs? Rather than just sit back and rake in the cash, these businesses could proactively work on both their profitability and positive environmental or social impact in big ways during Golden Week.
Australia, for example, is one of the hottest destinations for Chinese tourists. That’s a big opportunity for the national carrier, Qantas, in a number of ways. Aside from their Change for Good campaign, why not consider educating flyers on the environmental protection Australians are rightfully proud of? Or, going the extra mile, create an emission-offset scheme passengers automatically contribute to?
Then there are the IHGs, Hiltons, and Marriotts. By now we all know to hang up our towels to save water. What about downstairs at the buffet? This is often the epicenter of Chinese tourists behaving badly, overloading their plates with enough food for an army, only to waste most anyway. A responsible hotel chain would put together a campaign tackling both overeating and food waste all at the same time.
What an amazing opportunity for the right organization to really make a difference and position their sustainability work beyond the competition. Imagine the next Qantas sustainability report and its data on emission’s reductions. Or how much food (and money) Hyatt saved by encouraging more responsible eating. This Golden Week, consider how those hundreds of millions of tourists can translate into big positive impact on both your business and society.
This content originally appeared on the Fulcrum Insight page.