Unicef targets hotel guests' spare change
Travellers are being urged to donate their spare change to the world's needy children when they check out of Hong Kong's hotels.
The UN children's fund Unicef is putting collection boxes and envelopes in hotels under a programme it calls Change for Children - based on Change for Good, a programme with eight airlines that has raised US$70 million worldwide since it was launch in 1987.
In its first attempt to raise money through hotels, Unicef is putting boxes in the lobbies and envelopes in the rooms of about 30 of the Hong Kong Hotel Association's 110 members. It aims to expand into more hotels in Hong Kong, the mainland and the world after two years.
'The point at which travellers have the most leftover money is the moment when they are checking out of a hotel,' said Kevin Yeung, chairman of a fund-raising committee for Unicef in Hong Kong.
More than HK$40,000 has been raised since the programme was 'soft-launched' at the end of April.
Cathay Pacific helped to raise nearly HK$12 million last year for the Change for Good programme and more than HK$100 million since the project was launched.
Yeung said he was confident that their new collaboration would bring more visitors into the charity pool, especially mainland visitors who do not travel on planes.
William Mackay, regional vice-president and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel, said such schemes were a good way to raise funds because 'once you have set it up, it doesn't involve much work ... we are spreading the net to the 140 to 150 people who check out from our hotel every day'.
Meanwhile, hotel operators are confident that an increase in room supply can keep up with the increase in visitors to Hong Kong.
The Tourism Board projects visitor arrivals will rise by one-tenth this year, to 40 million. An additional 1,500 hotel rooms will be available this year, and a further 2,500 in 2012, Hotels Association executive director James Lu Shien-hwai said. There are 60,000 hotel rooms now.
The number of children who died before their fifth birthday in 2006, according to Unicef, the first time the world figure fell below 10 million