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JHTA exec presses energy efficiency in tourism sector

Published:Thursday | March 4, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer


Richard Bourke, chairman of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's (JHTA) Montego Bay chapter, has declared that every Jamaican business must prioritise energy efficiency.

Burke made the statement to owners of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) during his keynote address at a workshop on energy efficiency for hotels and tourism-centred companies at the Half Moon resort in Montego Bay on Tuesday.

"The only constant in the world today is change, and there is no greater change taking place than in the areas of energy, energy usage, energy sources, etc.," Bourke told the business owners.

"The one thing that we know for sure is that there is no more oil being made, so at the end of the day, like any scarce commodity, the price of oil is going to continue to rise.

"There may be fluctuations, but if you look over time, the trend will be constant rising," he added.

The workshop, which was staged by the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), in cooperation with the JHTA and Scotiabank Jamaica, was held to assist and support Jamaican SMEs from the tourism sector in reducing energy costs.

The hotelier added that it was critical for business owners to re-evaluate their plans in terms of energy efficiency.

"All plans must have a very finite payback period. They must be very clearly documented, and demonstrable in showing savings," he noted. "This is a moral imperative. Energy efficiency is something that we have to do for ourselves, for the world, for our children in the future."

Greater energy efficiency

Carlos Serrano, senior financial specialist from the IIC, expressed confidence that the information shared at the workshop would encourage SMEs to practise greater energy efficiency, but admitted that there is still much work to be done.

"Doubts and questions, there are a lot, because one of the main barriers to implementing (energy) efficiency is the lack of information and the lack of enough knowledge," Serrano told
The Gleaner

"That's why we are here and organising this workshop - to bring information, to educate, to bring experts like the ones we have here today.

"I'm happy that these questions arise, because it gives an opportunity to provide information about the real situation. So we need to keep advancing and educating and providing information," Serrano said.