Hotels with up to 200 rooms are set to benefit from a $50 million Small and Medium Hotel Energy Efficiency Programme, to be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment.
The initiative is expected to lower energy cost for these properties, so as to enhance their competitiveness.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who made the announcement during his Sectoral Debate presentation in Parliament on Tuesday, July 2, explained that a revolving fund will be established, where select properties can access interest free loans to purchase energy saving devices. These include LED lights, solar water heating systems, among others.
The Minister advised that the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) will develop the criteria for selection and be involved in monitoring the programme, alongside the Ministry.
Underscoring the importance of the initiative, Dr. McNeill, who spoke on the theme: ‘A Sector for the People: Making Tourism for Us All’,said that the aim is to significantly reduce energy use “so that these hotels, not only survive, but thrive.”
Noting that occupancy levels in small hotels increased by 5.2 per cent in 2012, he said that this is “very promising” for the accommodation subsector and the communities in which they are located “as their operations have a more immediate and direct impact at the community level.”
“These hotels account for approximately a third (30.9 per cent) of the rooms in our hotel sector. It is, therefore, crucial that we do what we can to ensure their continued viability. For this reason… we have been working closely with the JHTA and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to develop a programme that will assist with energy conservation and positively impact their bottom line,” Dr. McNeill informed.
Contact: Douglas McIntosh