Thursday is World Tourism Day, and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty used the occasion to call for what she termed a renewables revolution that will encourage the international community to make efforts toward reducing climate change.
"By investing more in renewable energy technologies and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, we can protect the environment and create a more competitive tourism business environment with lower operating costs and greater efficiencies," Doty said in a press release issued Tuesday.
Miguel Quinones, a program specialist at the V.I. Energy Office, said the territory is making progress in these areas. “Hotels both large and small have made significant investments and moved into energy efficiency and renewables,” he said.
While larger hotels are becoming more energy efficient by replacing their airconditioning and lighting systems, Quinones said some small hotels are now also using solar hot water heaters.
Doty called for a united approach to further sustainable energy development across the Caribbean because each island has important lessons to share.
“Failure to act now could contribute to unstable climatic conditions, which in turn would lead to severe damage to our regional economic system," Doty said.
She said those in the region must stand united since Caribbean islands contribute the least to climate change but are impacted the most by it.
World Tourism Day 2012 has the theme Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the tourism sector is at the forefront of some of the world's most ambitious and innovative clean energy solutions.
For example, the aviation industry is implementing cutting-edge technologies to make aircraft lighter than ever before. Commercial flights are beginning to use biofuels in their fuel mix.
Key card systems and energy saving light bulbs are increasingly being implemented in hotel rooms worldwide, and tour operators are asking for energy efficiency throughout their supply chains.
"One of the world's largest economic sectors, tourism, is especially well-placed to promote environmental sustainability, green growth and our struggle against climate change through its relationship with energy," said Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, as he welcomed this week's global celebrations.