The hotel sector is considered the largest electricity consumer sector in the region.
On Saturday, CARCEP said the agreement, which was signed during the official ceremony of the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) here, defines the joint actions to be taken to “effectively address the sector’s needs primarily in the areas of energy policy reform, research and capacity development.”
This initiative is largely directed at beneficiary countries under USAID CARCEP’s mandate – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said CARCEP in a statement.
It said hotel owners in these islands be equipped with access to technical tools, training and other resources to help them understand and adopt energy efficiency best-practices to reduce their energy consumption.
CHTA’s director general and chief executive officer, Frank Comito, has pledged to work closely with USAID CARCEP to advance the work done under the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action (CHENACT) Programme, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and conducted through CHTA and its regional public sector counterpart organization, the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The agreement underscores CHTA’s commitment to providing -specific support to USAID CARCEP regionally and with designated countries, hotels, hotel associations and public sector tourism stakeholders,” the statement said.
“CHTA welcomes the support by the United States Government through its clean energy programme to assist Caribbean hotels and countries in becoming more energy efficient,” Comito said.
“The programme brings to the table new tools, resources and training, building upon the foundational work undertaken with hotels through the CHENACT .”
He added that the agreement “symbolizes the start of what will become a wider catalytic benefit for sustainable growth in the region, as reductions in energy consumption will deliver environmental benefits, as well as improve regional economic competitiveness.”
Approximately 2,500 hotels can profit from this initiative.
“CHENACT touched more than 150 hotels in the region,” Comito said. “Through USAID CARCEP, we will be able to significantly expand the number of hotels and countries which can benefit from the programme’s resources.
“Working with CHTA’s network of national hotel and tourism associations throughout the region, and with USAID CARCEP’s team, we look forward to advancing new opportunities for our industry and the region,” he added.
“Sound energy savings initiatives by hoteliers make good business sense and protect our rich natural resources, which are an essential part of our touristic appeal.”
Comito said the partnership has already resulted in the launch of an energy-benchmarking tool that followed the agreement signing at the forum.
The tool, which was developed by USAID CARCEP, will allow hotel operators to analyze their electricity, fossil fuel and water usage; compare the energy and water intensity with similar hotels in their area; and learn about energy and water efficiency strategies they can employ to reduce hotel operating costs.
“The deployment of this tool in the hotel industry, the biggest economic driver in the region, and the follow-on activities developing knowledge and awareness of energy efficiency will be a game changer,” said USAID CARCEP’s Energy Efficiency Promotion Specialist John Marcocchio.
“Energy consumption in the region is as much as three times higher per US$1 of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] generated than other regions of the world, putting this region at a real competitive disadvantage,” he added.
“Both for climatic and economic reasons, it is imperative that we reduce fossil fuel consumption and turn those savings into jobs and industry for the region that will drive economic development and future growth.”
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