Going green in Macau

With responsible tourism on the rise, here’s how to easily package eco-friendly touches while still ensuring your guests enjoy every moment of their holiday time.

Macau’s captivating skyline is filled with an exciting blend of old, new, and plenty of green pockets perfect for the eco-traveller. (GettyImages orpheus26)

Macau’s captivating skyline is filled with an exciting blend of old, new, and plenty of green pockets perfect for the eco-traveller. (GettyImages orpheus26)

Macau’s captivating skyline is filled with an exciting blend of old, new, and plenty of green pockets perfect for the eco-traveller. (GettyImages orpheus26)

With the global traveller increasingly taking more effort to leave a light carbon footprint while holidaying, destinations that champion positive-impact tourism are gaining momentum.

Here’s why Macau is one of the easiest destinations for agents to include elements of going green into guests’ itineraries, making travel better for everyone.

1. Dine from earth-to-table

Many Macau restaurants have embraced the earth-to-table trend. The Apron Oyster Bar & Grill for instance has turned to sustainability practices, offering meat substitute – otherwise known as the Impossible Meat. (Galaxy Macao)

Many Macau restaurants have embraced the earth-to-table trend. The Apron Oyster Bar & Grill for instance has turned to sustainability practices, offering meat substitute – otherwise known as the Impossible Meat. (Galaxy Macao)

Many Macau restaurants have embraced the earth-to-table trend. The Apron Oyster Bar & Grill for instance has turned to sustainability practices, offering meat substitute – otherwise known as the Impossible Meat. (Galaxy Macao)

Key names in Macau’s restaurant scene are turning their focus to sustainability practices and paring down on food wastage – while still whipping up delicious creations for guests.

Dragon Portuguese Cuisine at Broadway Macau, for instance, prepares their food from scratch daily, firstly to keep things fresh, while also limiting food wastage by using what’s necessary. Queues regularly form for the eatery’s homemade curry crab and Portuguese baked duck rice. Wong Kun Sio Kung restaurant believes in the same philosophy, while dishing out legendary dishes – made using a traditional bamboo pressing method – with shrimp roe, sea crab congee and other Cantonese delicacies.

Some restaurants have also embraced the new wave of using meat substitute – the Impossible Meat, designed to smell and even taste like actual beef – such as at The Apron Oyster Bar & Grill, Galaxy Macao. The restaurant also selects ingredients like oysters from regions with sustainable farming practices, and meat from herds committed to the care of their farm-to-fork operations.

At ROOT, Chef Anthony Sousa Tam grows many of the menu’s organic ingredients and sources local seafood. The restaurant even has its own in-house hydroponic system to reduce pollution and food waste. Similarly at IFT (Institute of Tourism Studies), fresh herbs grown from its aquaponic system and rooftop garden feature on the menu of the onsite Educational Restaurant, which aims to offer a deeper appreciation of food provenance and sustainability.

For vegetarian options, which are largely considered to be more sustainable, you won’t go wrong with The Golden Peacock – Asia’s first Indian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star – as well as contemporary Chinese restaurant Sum Yuen Vegetarian in Pou Tai Temple where vegetables harvested from the temple’s gardens are the stars of the menu.

Coloane’s also known as Macau’s green belt, filled with nature trails, beaches, as well as the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. (Macao Government Tourism Office USA)

Coloane’s also known as Macau’s green belt, filled with nature trails, beaches, as well as the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. (Macao Government Tourism Office USA)

Coloane’s also known as Macau’s green belt, filled with nature trails, beaches, as well as the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion. (Macao Government Tourism Office USA)

2. Explore nature’s abundance

Beyond the bustling Cotai strip and the main city’s hubbub is the charming Coloane in the southwest of Macau. Although just 10 minutes away by bus, travellers can see an entirely different side to Macau, thanks to the existence of traditional local ways, a thriving fishing community and serene temples that coexist with chapels. In addition, the island is home to Macau’s largest natural green areas.

With sightseeing easily done on foot within a day, a green itinerary could start with the leisurely and popular 2.6km Hac Sa Reservoir family trail, or the lengthier 8km Coloane hike that culminates at Macau’s highest point, Alto de Coloane, where a 20m-tall A-Ma statue stands in commemoration of the goddess who named the city.

Next, add a stop at Seac Pai Van Park, which houses the 3,000sqm Macau Giant Panda Pavilion – a sure hit for families with young kids. Apart from the adorable black-and-white family of four, red pandas may also lurk in the vicinity. It is recommended to reach before 330pm, since that is when feeding sessions begin – also the best chances to catch the pandas in action. As evening arrives, make plans for your guests to stroll along Hac Sa Beach, with its distinct black sand shoreline and numerous seafood restaurants perfect for dinner.

Even hotels are in on the green wagon. 19 of them received recognition at the Macao Green Hotel Award in June, as well as LEED certified hotels such as Galaxy Macau, pictured above. (Galaxy Macau)

Even hotels are in on the green wagon. 19 of them received recognition at the Macao Green Hotel Award in June, as well as LEED certified hotels such as Galaxy Macau, pictured above. (Galaxy Macau)

Even hotels are in on the green wagon. 19 of them received recognition at the Macao Green Hotel Award in June, as well as LEED certified hotels such as Galaxy Macau, pictured above. (Galaxy Macau)

3. Choose a green hotel

Look for certified green hotels. A credible recognition is the LEED certification, which measures a building’s construction, design and operations to maximise productivity, reduce waste, energy and negative environmental impacts. An example is Galaxy Macau. Not only is it the city’s first LEED Gold accredited facility, it’s also a highly convenient accommodation with 120 dining options and six hotels including brands Ritz-Carlton, Banyan Tree and JW Marriott found in one precinct.

Understanding today’s eco-traveller, Macau has made it extremely easy for travel agents to source hotels that have gone green, are making conscious effort in kitchen waste recycling, using electric vehicles, and embarking on other environment-caring measures. This June, a total of 19 hotels received recognition at the Macao Green Hotel Awards, hosted by the local Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA).

Here’s a quick list to get booking started for your clients: MGM Cotai, Okura Macau, Sands Macau, Broadway Hotel Macau, Morpheus Hotel, Harbourview Hotel and more swept the bronze to gold categories, while The Venetian Macao has also separately been awarded the highest accolade of the platinum tier by DSPA.

Pick an eco-friendly airline that makes green practices a key business priority. (Eva Air and Cathay Pacific)

Pick an eco-friendly airline that makes green practices a key business priority. (Eva Air and Cathay Pacific)

Pick an eco-friendly airline that makes green practices a key business priority. (Eva Air and Cathay Pacific)

4. Fly responsibly

Flying and carbon emissions go hand in hand, but there are still ways to reduce impact on the environment – and the quickest way is to pick airlines that commit to eco-friendly practices.

For international holidaymakers transiting through neighbour Hong Kong, not only is Cathay Pacific the city’s national carrier, the airline is also voted one of the world’s top 10 greenest airlines, thanks to practices such as offering an online carbon offset calculator so passengers can calculate what their journeys will use, plus the option to purchase carbon offsets.

Another way is to pick airlines with newer planes, since older aircraft use more kerosene. For instance, Eva Air – which flies directly to Macau – operates Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, boasting improved fuel efficiency and a larger plane body to allow more passengers as compared to an older plane. Also, pick economy whenever possible, since the carbon footprint for flying business class is three times higher according to a study by Worldbank.

5. Pick public transport or take a walk

Not only does walking reduce your carbon footprint overseas, it’s also a fantastic way to get to tucked away spots, such as quaint teahouses along Macau’s streets. (@celinelinarte)

Not only does walking reduce your carbon footprint overseas, it’s also a fantastic way to get to tucked away spots, such as quaint teahouses along Macau’s streets. (@celinelinarte)

Not only does walking reduce your carbon footprint overseas, it’s also a fantastic way to get to tucked away spots, such as quaint teahouses along Macau’s streets. (@celinelinarte)

Macau may be small, but it packs in a powerful punch of historical beauty, grand architecture, tantalising cuisine, luxurious treats, and exciting programmes all year round. And the best way to soak it all in? Walking. The city’s layout makes it easy to move about and zip in and out of small lanes quite possibly quicker on foot than hopping onto a vehicle, thanks to Macau’s many one-way roads.

Have clients that prefer moving about on wheels? Transport is getting more efficient as more internal links are being built, buses cover nearly all major attractions and out towards the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Otherwise, there’re plenty of free shuttle rides from major casino operators including City of Dreams, The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, Galaxy Macau, Wynn Macau, MGM Macau, and SJM Holdings Ltd which runs nine casinos and two hotels in Macau.

This article is brought to you by Macao Government Tourism Office.