February 14, 2013 | 3:43 pm | Print
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A new programme in the Bahamas will help the country’s hotel sector go green.
The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action-Advanced Programme, which launched this week, aims to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized hotels through improved use of energy, increased use of renewable energy and micro-generation.
The plan is the product of a partnership between the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association and the Ministry of Tourism.
“Energy-related costs represent 15 to 20 percent of a hotel’s operating budget; therefore, the programme is timely and welcomed,” said Glenn Sampert, senior vice president of the BHTA and general manager at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort. “There is every reason to believe that this is not going to change by itself. It will take more aggressive and determined efficiency and conservation measures by hotels, policies which encourage the use of energy-saving equipment, and bold new approaches to energy generation.”
The first phase of the project will involve energy audits of participating hotels, along with recommendations on how to improve energy savings.
The audits will then be transformed into financial proposals that could be presented to international or local banks to obtain funding for implementation.
The programme will fund up to $1 million worth of energy audits for participating hotels in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas “cannot afford for the cost of energy to price us out of the market,” said Charles Albury, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism.
“While sun, sand and sea will attract visitors, the high cost of doing business will drive them away,” he said.
Jamaica will launch a similar initiative this month. Barbados was the first country to execute the plan.
The programme is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, executed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization with the technical support of several other agencies.