The Caribbean tourism sector has taken a major step towards energy efficiency within the hotel industry. The region’s public and private sector tourism groupings, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) – through its environmental arm, the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) – have launched a 24-month project to help the Caribbean hotel sector move towards energy efficiency.
The US$2 million Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme (CHENACT) is meant to drive the Caribbean hotels to implement energy efficient practices and to generate their own renewable energy. This, in turn, is expected to improve their competitiveness through improved energy use.
One of the main components is the design and preparation of the energy efficiency programme and institutional strengthening. Using Barbados as a case study, this component involves performing detailed energy audits and understanding energy consumption patterns among Caribbean hotels.
Other key components include support for the preparation of policy in energy efficiency for the tourism sector; assessing Caribbean energy service companies and their potential to service the tourism sector; and energy consumption surveys.
The CHENACT project was conceptualized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is contributing US$1 million to the budget, with the remainder coming from a number of participating agencies and the government of Barbados.
The CTO will be the executing agency, while CAST will implement the project. “It’s an honour to be involved in such a programme which speaks so completely to the mission of the CTO. We hope as a result (of the project) the region will encourage everyone to increase the use of renewable energy, reduce the use of fossil fuel and increase our competitiveness,” Hugh Riley, the CTO’s Acting Secretary General stated at a signing ceremony at the Barbados Hilton on 24th March, 2009 to launch the project.
“It is an excellent example of public and private sector cooperation. I believe the CHENACT will lead to other collaborative projects. It’s the beginning of a journey which will lead us to reduce our carbon foot prints,” he added.
The chairman of CAST, Sir Royston Hopkin described the project as an answer to the region’s high energy costs. “I am proud to be part of the project, the end result of which will be a solution to the cost of energy,” Sir Royston said. “Both organisations are working together to ensure that the project goes down as a model for us in the region. It will benefit all of us in the region.”