As Caribbean resorts gear up for the traditional winter tourist season, Richard Whitfield, Managing Director of Jamaica’s luxury Half Moon resort says no to a proposed energy surcharge being sanctioned by the island’s tourism lobby group, the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association.
The proposed surcharge gives hotels in Jamaica the option of adding a charge of up to US$10 per room to nightly room rates in an effort to combat rising fuel costs.
“We agree that the hike in fuel prices has a ripple effect on energy costs and other expenses. However, our focus to combat the potential increase in costs is to carefully and effectively manage our consumption resort-wide. This is not a charge we want to pass on to our guests,” said Mr. Whitfield.
In 2007 the 400-acre, five-star property experienced a five percent decrease in its energy bill thanks to several conservation measures implemented at the resort. Low energy bulbs replaced high wattage bulbs throughout the resort; solar water heaters were installed in selected areas of the resort, with a view to more in the future; and the consistent, regular servicing of equipment are measures Mr. Whitfield credits for the reduction in the resort’s energy bill.
“What we will ask of our guests is to join us in our efforts to conserve energy by turning off air conditioning when leaving their rooms, turning off lights when not in use and reusing their towels and linen to reduce daily laundering,” he said. “While the surcharge can assist in offsetting these rising costs, we believe that the long term solution is to pay particular attention to our operation and devise creative ways in which we can reduce our drain on the environment.”
One such measure is the resort’s waste water treatment plant, which generates over 130,000 gallons of water per day that is in turn used for irrigation at the luxury resort. Built in 2003, this plant saves the resort over US$100,000 annually in potable water costs.
The first hotel to be inducted in the Caribbean Hotel Association’s Green Hotel Hall of Fame, Half Moon continues to remain committed to preserving the integrity and sustainability of its environment.
Half Moon is nestled on 400 beautifully-manicured acres and features a two mile, white sand beach, recently renovated Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed 18-hole golf course, luxury accommodation including suites, cottages and villas, the newly opened Fern Tree, the Spa at Half Moon, 13 lit tennis courts, equestrian centre, fitness centre, superb cuisine, 51 swimming pools, recently constructed Anancy Children’s Village, water sports, dolphin lagoon, shopping village, including 24-hour medical centre and more.