TEF to provide interest-free loans for small hotels
OWNERS of small-and medium-sized hotels across the island, who have for years been complaining about the high bills they pay monthly to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for energy consumption, may be able to breathe a sigh of relief in coming months as the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment is set to roll out an interest-free energy-efficient loan programme specifically for them.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer recently, tourism minister Dr Wykeham McNeill said his ministry was concerned about the high rates hoteliers are being charged, which he said greatly affected their net profit earnings and sustainability.
It was for this reason, he said, that the ministry, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund, conceptualised the interest-free loan.
"We are helping players in the sector to embrace environmentally-friendly practices, for instance, energy conservation and reducing electricity use through the establishment of the Energy Efficient Loan Programme for small-and-medium-sized properties, which will be launched soon," McNeill said.
"All of this will be funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund. We are going to go through the details of it in a week or two. It will be a revolving loan scheme targeting small to medium hotels. We will look at their energy efficiency and their savings and how we can give them loans to be more efficient," he added.
Minister McNeill said this was one of many solutions that the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment will be providing to reduce the burdens hoteliers face in Jamaica.
"We have a responsibility to our industry and this idea is one that will provide tourism enhancement. It will help to protect the environment and get our tourism more green. It's good marketing. It's all positive. It will be a revolving loan scheme, so that it will have sustainability," he said.
Under the loan scheme hoteliers with sustainable energy-efficiency plans for their businesses will be able to access money to purchase and install energy- saving bulbs, solar water heaters, solar panels and other products geared at reducing their energy consumption.