SHTA-retreat discusses alternative energy

POSTED: 11/27/12 1:55 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association SHTA recently hosted a General Managers Retreat at the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort under the theme “Energy, Economy and the future of Country St. Maarten.”

The keynote address on energy was given by Loreto Duffy-Mayers, the project manager of Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action CHENACT in Barbados. The main message she brought was, while green or alternative energy is indeed an attractive investment for the future, it is important that steps are taken now to mitigate energy waste; this could already lead to energy cost reductions of up to 50%.

Duffy-Mayers said that there is an urgent need for hotels to move away from using R22 air-conditioning systems; they are too costly and not readily available any more. Her presentation included a brief discussion about water conservation and measures that can be taken to avoid waste.

The opening remarks for the retreat were given by SHTA President Emil Lee who thanked the member hotels for attending and gave a brief “behind the scenes” explanation of some of the work that SHTA was busy with for the benefit of the island and its membership. He explained the work SHTA has been doing to bring airlift to the island and the marketing initiatives it has undertaken. He said that the SHTA is strengthening itself as the umbrella association to include more businesses, which it could provide representation for.

Policy advisor on energy at the Vromi-ministry Kendall Dupersoy shared his minister’s vision for sustainable energy. In answer to questions raised by the GMs on whether there would be any incentives for businesses who invest in alternative energy coming from government Dupersoy confirmed that the Ministry of Finance is preparing a law that will allow tax based incentives for investments in alternative energy. He said this is part of the plans to stimulate green and alternative energy, reduce cost and at the same time making energy supply more stable.

Paul van Vliet, director of PriceWaterhouseCoopers spoke about the tripartite committee as it relates to the proposed new labor laws. SHTA Board Member and attorney Peter van Dort made brief remarks and fielded questions about the existing labor laws.

Executive Director for SHTA Alfred Harley gave a brief overview of the Dollar-a-Day program. He said that the SHTA has embarked on a strategy to improve the program based on the request of many general managers from different resorts that are Dollar-a-Day members. He announced plans to expand the program to include other businesses who wanted to contribute to the island’s social and economic development.



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