Sustainability Can Mean Real $$$ – Punta Cana Exec.

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Punta Cana's Jake Kheel speaking at STC-14 on April 16, 2013. (CTO image)
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. April 16, 213: Sustainable tourism impacts the bottom line and can save companies and destinations thousands annually in costs.

Jake Kheel, the grandson of one of the lead developers of the world famous Punta Cana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic, reiterated the benefits of sustainability in real dollars today, April 16th, noting that investments in sustainability really makes economic sense.

Kheel told delegates gathered at first working day of the 14th Caribbean Tourism Organization Sustainable Tourism Conference in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, on Tuesday that his own company is a prime example of sustainability at work that cuts cost and makes money.

Kheel, the environmental director at Punta Cana, considered one of the most successful development companies in the Dominican Republic with a distinguished history in sustainable development, shared several initiatives his company has instituted, which has helped its bottom line.

Such initiatives as establishing a major recycling plan that has now become a significant money earner for the company; a water treatment plant that reuses water for the area’s golf courses and lawns leading to significant cost savings annually; worm composting that turns food garbage into compost that becomes part of the treatment of golf courses and power saving measures that is incorporated even into the architecture and building of houses, including thatch roofs.

“Sustainability is very much part of our economic model,” said Kheel, while urging that there needs be “some ownership of sustainability in companies.”

The Punta Cana executive also revealed that the company has invested in several new technology to keep pushing the envelope in newer and better sustainable options “since innovation is incredibly important as long as it generates real savings.”

Sustainability he summarized is “a very important piece of the puzzle” and its all about the integration of innovative concepts into the everyday lives and management practices of companies and destinations.

However, after the presentation, some local business owners who signed up as delegates for the conference, told News Americas that while Kheel’s presentation was good, the ideas are too capital intensive to be copied by small companies such as theirs.