A new “switch off save big” energy water and energy saving project for hotels in the Caribbean has been launched by The Travel Foundation, supported by Virgin Holidays. The aim is to get more than 100 hotels to take part. The project is endorsed by The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
The campaign will help accommodation suppliers across the Caribbean implement easy and cost effective measures that will not only cut water and electricity costs but also make their properties more environmentally friendly.
The new project replicates a similar scheme launched in Cyprus in May 2008 and included 106 hotels. Over a six month period hotels achieved actual savings of up to 15.4% in water use and 9.2% in energy use, and one hotel saved 2,747 tons of water and 50,000 Euros cost per year.
A new project manager, Charmaine Sealey, who previously worked for Virgin Holidays in Barbados, has been appointed to co-ordinate the project. She will be training hotel staff and collating the data.
Sue Hurdle, chief executive of The Travel Foundation, said: “The supply, usage and treatment of water is a major issue for the tourism industry and the world. One of the Travel Foundation’s main goals is to raise awareness of the issues and put measures in place to reduce water consumption.”
Rachel McCaffery, Virgin Holidays responsible business manager, said: “As the UK’s largest tour operator to the Caribbean, Virgin Holidays is very proud to be supporting this vital initiative. Many hoteliers in the Caribbean region have already realised the advantages that operating sustainably can bring. With the launch of switch off save big, I am positive others will follow suit. The benefit to the bottom line, and of course the planet, is crystal clear.”
Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of the from the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association said: “The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association endorses this project and commends The Travel Foundation and Virgin Holidays for the partnering to develop the “Switch off Save Big” efficiency programme. This project comes at a time when our hotel industry is challenged to find ways to not only reduce costs but more importantly to be able to do so in a sustainable method which above all contributes to protecting our environment and natural resources. This project will make a major contribution in this regard and we encourage all of our CHTA member hotels to rake advantage of this opportunity”.
Julie Middleton, industry programmes manager, for the Travel Foundation has just returned from the Caribbean where she hosted a series of workshops for hoteliers:
– 37 hoteliers attended the workshop in Barbados
– 27 in St Lucia
– 15 in Antigua
– 20 in Grenada
The “switch off save big” Caribbean programme will include an initial water and energy audit; a plan for implementation and water saving targets; step-by-step guidelines and other materials to help with effective implementation; setting up data recording systems to record usage and savings; training tips for staff; and information on where to buy water saving devices & how to install & maintain them.
Julie Middleton, said: “There is a big lack of awareness amongst tourists that there are water shortages in the Caribbean. Barbados is listed within the top 15 water scarce countries of the world. We need to work together to educate guests and give hotels the information and tools to make practical changes.”