Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, is calling for innovation in the management of energy, as a means to sustain the tourism sector and the Jamaican economy.
The Minister, who was delivering the keynote address at a World Tourism Day ceremony, held on September 27, at Sandals Montego Bay, in St. James, emphasised that ways must be found to protect the viability of the industry and as the cost of energy remains unstable and at high cost, a "sustainable" framework must be developed in the sector.
"Energy efficiency is, simply put, finding ways to provide the energy services in the various spaces in which we operate, at a decreased cost. So, we have to be innovative and forward thinking in our efforts to implement energy efficiency measures and sustainable solutions," the Minister said.
He lauded the successful measures taken at Sandals Montego Bay, and at the Portland based hotel, Mockingbird Hill, to reduce traditional energy and rely on sustainable sources, mainly solar.
The Minister argued that tourism leaders should explore the use of alternative and sustainable energy sources, in a collective effort for the future sustainability of the tourism industry, and stressed that energy reduction strategies should be the focus for a significant part of each entity’s environmental management policy, which would impact positively on their bottom line.
"I am encouraging all our tourism partners to do what you can, incrementally and over time, to expand your energy options and increase your use of sustainable energy. We have entities of varying sizes, and I realise the initial costs involved may seem daunting, but it may be that you need to retrofit your bulbs, install solar panels, implement waste water management systems, plus a myriad of other solutions," Dr. McNeill said.
As part of the day’s activities, the Minister and other stakeholder leaders also toured the Eco-Village at Sandals Montego Bay, where they heard from energy experts at the hotel, outlining ways to implement alternative and sustainable energy.
The function was held under the theme: 'Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development'.