The IHB Secretariat is a gatekeeper for the Intimate Hotels Brand. For that reason, we are currently in the process of frame-working our CRS focus around several interests to enable us to continue to build the capacity of Barbados to sustain these locally owned hotels and ensure that there is a blueprint for sustainable small locally owned hotel growth in Barbados and the Caribbean. Consequently, this sustainability thrust has a development as well as an environmental focus.
In addition, to achieve this with any seriousness, we must focus on extending a helping hand where it’s needed. The IHB feels strongly about focusing on Social Sustainability to ensure the persons who work in hotels and communities are kept central to the sector’s development and are incorporated into actions which promote good practices. We are working closely with several partners: The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, The Barbados Community College Jean and Norma Holder Hospitality Institute and Work Consultancy Inc. all to equip the tourism industry. As a result, we accept student placements and offer internships.
In the area of Environmental Sustainability, we are currently pursuing two areas of emphasis. One such area, in its infant stage, is a food industry project; we are looking at swapping some imports with different local produce, for example, Irish/English potatoes with sweet potatoes. This work will be ongoing and encourages not only more innovation and showcasing of local produce, but it also incentivizes the agricultural industry to produce its product for a local captive market which in turn exposes indigenous recipes to a global palate. We have not done anything on this initiative to date.
To promote financial sustainability, we are pursuing funding to look at how to strengthen the organisation to become more sustainable by examining avenues where IHB can raise money to assist members in various ways that contribute to their own sustainability and development. Our intention is to be strategic with plans which direct the members on a path of reducing their carbon footprint, water management, supply chain efficiency and management and renewable energy. This step aligns perfectly with our environmental wish list for the hotels. To this end, we have a plan in place to invest in renewable energy by having a solar farm to assist the group’s members with the cost of electricity.
These are all a part of the IHB vision and we will pay close attention to engaging with organisations and groups who are already working in these areas of sustainability. The IHB also understands the need for practical walk out of our plans and therefore, we will also be acting as facilitators and solution initiators by onboarding members with our worthwhile initiatives.