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Post-Covid sustainable tourism development

The ECCT's Travel & Tourism and CSR committees jointly arranged a lunch on the topic "Best corporate experience sharing – challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism in the post-Covid era". The event featured guest speaker Elaine Chang, General Manager of the Palais de Chine LDC Hotels & Resorts Group (雲朗觀光集團張倚蘭副總經理).

At this event, the speaker shared her group's experience in running hotels, both in Taiwan and Italy as well as some of its cultural, social and environmental projects.

She began by describing Palazzo Portinari Salviati, an exclusive historical house in Florence Italy, which the LDC Group has meticulously restored. The property was originally a prestigious 15th century Renaissance home of Beatrice Portinari, Dante's muse, and the first residence of Cosimo I de' Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Today the Palazzo houses elegant suites with frescoes from the 1700's and luxurious apartments overlooking the heart of the city with views of the famous Duomo and its majestic Brunelleschi dome. Chang said that although to process to restore the building was painstaking, she is proud of the group's achievement in preserving an important cultural heritage, including painted frescoes, decorated ceilings, marble and original Tuscan terracotta floors.

The group's hotels in Taiwan are designed to inspire an appreciation of the world's multiple cultures and traditions. For example, the Palais de Chine in Taipei displays an 1881 lamp post from Paris, antique furniture and an ancient tapestry.

She went on to talk about the group's building Vakangan Park, together with Taiwan Cement Corporation, in Taitung County. The park is Taiwan's first project combining geothermal power generation, sustainable tourism, and local economic promotion. The concept of Vakangan Park is aligned with goal eleven of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, "Sustainable Cities and Communities", since the LDC group's project involves consultation with and support for the local community in Hongye Village, which consists of mainly indigenous Bunun people.

Chang introduced other sustainability concepts implemented by the LDC group. Speaking about the concept of a "green premium", many environmentally conscious travellers are willing to pay more for products and services if they are not harmful to the environment. Of course, the premium cannot be too high if customers are to accept it. Chang's own view is that not everything has to be profitable. If the cost of going green is negligibly higher, she always chooses that option. Only if the cost is 50% or more than the traditional version, will more consideration be needed. She said that she does not want hospitality to be just a transaction. It should create a meaningful experience that connects guests with nature and culture.