$50m loan for energy saving projects in small hotel sector

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is to make a $50 million interest-free loan available to the small hotel sector, for the purpose of retrofitting energy saving devices, such as LED lights and solar water systems that can significantly reduce energy use.

Making his sectoral presentation in Parliament yesterday, Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Dr Wykeham McNeill, said the money which will be used, in a revolving fund, was being allocated to select properties.

The project, tagged the ‘Small and Medium Hotel Efficiency Programme’ is a collaboration between the ministry, the Jamaica Public Service and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

Noting that last year the occupancy levels in the small hotels increased by 5.2 per cent, McNeill said, he and his team was working towards not only the survival of these resorts, but ensuring they strive.

“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,” he stated.

The JHTA is developing the criteria for selection, and will be involved in monitoring the programme alongside the tourism and entertainment ministry.

“This initiative will also support our efforts to position Jamaica as a green destination,” said McNeill.