Remarks by CTO secretary general Hugh Riley at the Signing of the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action – Advanced Program at Hilton Hotel, Barbados, 13 October 2011

Brief Remarks at the

Signing of the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action – Advanced Program

Thursday, October 13, 2011, 6:00pm

Barbados Hilton Hotel


Hugh Riley

Secretary General

Caribbean Tourism Organization


Honorable Ministers, Sir Royston Hopkin, members of the Diplomatic Corps, specially invited guests, members of the Press, distinguished ladies and gentlemen…….

Everyone here this evening is no doubt familiar with the overall objective of the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency – and Renewable Energy – Action Program, the CHENACT Project, but it is worth repeating:

In summary: to encourage and co-ordinate energy efficiency and renewable energy practices in the Caribbean hotel sector.

Not surprisingly, the outcomes of more efficient use of energy are many:

Environmental – in the sense that we decrease our carbon footprint while also aiding the sustainability of our industry, and economic:

To reduce our already high energy costs, is to increase our competitiveness, make our products and services more saleable, and enhance the appeal of the Caribbean.

So we save money, we create a more reliable energy supply system, and we reduce the incidence of harmful emissions.

But there’s another benefit.  More and more we’re seeing evidence that “being green” has a growing public appeal; discerning travelers around the world are seeking out vacation destinations that pay serious attention to the preservation of the environment.

Consequently, I believe there will come a time when the term ‘travel for green’ will become so ingrained in the psyche of vacationers,

that we in the Caribbean will be proud that we got onboard and paid attention to issues that affect the more responsible use of our resources.

Thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone.  The success of CHENACT 1 has given rise to this renewed and very welcome commitment on the part of the Inter-American Development Bank; the GIZ; the United Nations Environmental Programme; the Center for Development Enterprise; and the Governments of Barbados, The Bahamas and Jamaica, to fund CHEANACT 2, and for that we are most grateful.

As the Executing Agency for this project, the Caribbean Tourism Organization also wishes to express thanks to our hotel partners the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, of which the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism is a component.  Special thanks to the Chairman of CAST, Sir Royston Hopkin, for his leadership and continued dedication to the critical issue of sustainability of our livelihood here in the Caribbean.

Our wish at the CTO is that we can find ways of expanding these types of excellent programs and partnerships, to include a broader range of our member countries and thus improve the lives of even more of the 40 million people we have the honour to represent here in the Caribbean.

Programs that allow this Region to genuinely examine opportunities to reduce our dependency on traditional fuels are the ones that will have credibility and sustainability.  What we never want to do is to create schemes that purport to be in the best interest of a green economy, but in truth turn out to be simply revenue generators in disguise.  I’m referring of course, to the Air Passenger Duty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, sharing meaningful information and practical techniques with our governments, businesses, communities and individuals here in the Caribbean will help to ensure that we inculcate the principles of energy conservation and energy efficiency into the habits and the lifestyles of all our people.

The more these behaviours become the standard in our homes and in our daily life, the easier it will be to practice those habits at the workplace.  And when we do that, we guarantee the success of programs such as CHENACT.  We are then better able to educate the guests in our hotels so that they too can appreciate the value of our efforts, and assist in realizing our goals.

In short, to effectively change behavior on energy usage, requires a deliberate and ongoing interaction between energy experts and energy consumers; and in the case of the tourism industry, energy consumers are not only those in our own countries, but also those who visit us and with whom we exchange habits and practices.

In closing, Aristotle is quoted as saying “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

We can all agree that CHENACT is an excellent project. Its long-term success will be truly realized when the efficient use of energy becomes a habit throughout the Caribbean.

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