Government is trying to see how it can help with the reduction of energy costs to the hotel sector, and could shortly be introducing initiatives to do so.
The suggestion of this came this evening from Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler at the launch of Williams everGreen Ltd, a new company focusing on the production of electricity from renewable means.
“You would have heard recently from the President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association about the difficulties local hoteliers are experiencing, predominantly because of high energy prices. The Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and myself, met with the hoteliers only recently to hear of their plight and to hear of the difficulties which they have encountered and are encountering in relation to the cost associated with energy bills, some of which could be startling when you hear of them.”
He said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who is currently in Canada, had also met with the hoteliers, who had shared similar difficulties with him.
“Today I am happy to announce that very shortly, and we are currently working on the details of it, the Government of Barbados, I should say the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism will shortly present to the Parliament of Barbados for approval, an initiative aimed at assisting those hoteliers and restaurants and other tourism related businesses to navigate these dangerous waters of increased energy prices.
“Ultimately we would like, and I believe in the presentation of the Financial Statements and Budgetary Proposals we spoke to the creation of a special fund designed to promote energy efficiency and hotel refurbishment for our hotel properties to make them more competitive in the market place. Ultimately we would like them and we would encourage them and incentivise them to take advantage of alternative energy sources,” said the minister, noting the challenges of relying on fossil fuels.
“In the short-term, the Ministries of Energy, Finance and Tourism will work to put together a Turf 2, a small fund that will assist those hotels and properties in the tourism sector which are most negatively affected by the increase in energy prices, particularly the increase in oil prices, to get them through their most important months of the winter season coming up,” he said.
In the middle of the recession, he explained Government had introduced a Tourism Assistance Fund, also called the Turf Fund to help with them, noting that word of part two of this initiative would be coming soon. (LB)