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New eco-friendly programme to make Bahamas hotels greener

A new eco-friendly programme has just been launched to improve energy efficiency in Bahamian hotels and resorts. This new plan will allow visitors to enjoy green holidays in Bahamas while reducing energy costs and contributing to a healthier environment.

New eco-friendly programme to make Bahamas hotels greener

Many Bahamas hotels and resorts will become more eco-friendly with the government’s brand new green initiative. The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action-Advanced Programme, which just launched this week, wishes to not only reduce energy costs but also contribute to taking care of the environment. Guests at any of the island’s participating hotels will now get the chance to enjoy green holidays in the Bahamas with eco-friendly accommodation that cares about the environment.

The plan, which was the result of partnership between the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) and the island’s Ministry of Tourism, aims to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized hotels and resorts throughout the country by increasing the use of renewable energy and micro-generation. The programme will take place thanks to the financial support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and will be executed by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation with the technical support of several other agencies.

The IDB highlighted the positive consequences that the new project would have for the Caribbean environment. “There will be positive impacts to the environment in terms of reduction of greenhouse gases and ozone layer depletion,” they stated. The IDB also clarified that the programme would aim to bundle the carbon emission reductions (CERs) from the Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica, as a result of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy applications.

Hoteliers are very happy with the new initiative. Glenn Sampert, senior vice president of the BHTA and general manager at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, thinks that the programme will boost Bahamian economy and that the new green Bahamas hotels and resorts will attract more travellers. “Energy-related costs represent 15 to 20 percent of a hotel’s operating budget; therefore, the programme is timely and welcomed,” he stated “There is every reason to believe that this is not going to change itself. It will take more aggressive and determined efficiency and conservation measures by hotels, policies which encourage the use of energy saving equipment, and bold new approaches to energy generation.”

As a first step in this difficult but beneficial task, participating hotels will be audited and will receive recommendations on how to improve energy savings. Later on, this audits will be transformed into financial proposals that could be presented to international or local banks in order to obtain funding for implementation. The project’s intention is to fund up to $1 million worth of energy audits for participating hotels in Bahamas.

Charles Albury, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Tourism, emphasised how energy costs were becoming a struggle for the tourism industry, and how this plan would help the sector greatly, while attracting more travellers to spend eco-friendly Bahamas holidays.

We cannot afford for the cost of energy to price us out of the tourism market,” he said. “While sun, sand and sea will attract visitors, the high cost of doing business will drive them away.”

The Caribbean is slowly following the same initiative, as Jamaica will launch a similar project this month, whilst Barbados was the first country to execute the plan.

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