SLHTA Elects New Executive Committee at 56 th AGM

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Monday 12 th April, 2021) – Following the hosting of its 56 th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually on Friday 9 th April 2021, a new Executive Committee has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA).

On Monday 1 st March 2021, nominations were invited for the posts of President, First Vice-President and Second Vice-President given that the Executive had reached the end of their term. Karolin Troubetzkoy, who served as SLHTA President from March 2010 to January 2016, and again from July 2018 to April 2021, did not seek re-election.

During Friday’s elections, Paul Collymore was elected unopposed to the post of SLHTA President. Collymore, who is General Manager at The Landings Resort and Spa, has a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector having overseen the general management of the Ocean Two Resort and Residences in Barbados.

Other members of the Executive elected at Friday’s AGM were First Vice-President John Mathurin and Second Vice-President Erwin Louisy. Noorani Azeez remains Chief Executive Officer (CEO) while outgoing Past President Karolin Troubetzkoy will lend support to the Committee.

The SLHTA’s 56 th AGM comes at a crucial time for the local tourism sector, which has virtually lost most of its business due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the Association says its commitment to bringing the sector back to prosperity is unwavering.

President Collymore stated in his inaugural remarks that, “Tackling those challenges will require a collective approach and support by all in order to achieve our common objectives. We need to equalize the tourism landscape, enabling communities and small and medium businesses to tap greater benefits from this industry that feeds over 15k workers
and their families, annually… Now more than ever, we need retention and participation of our members.”

He assured the membership that he plans to meet the challenges of this important leadership role.

“From us, you can expect a consensual and collaborative approach and effort to engage the full membership – including Past Presidents – on the existing strategic plan in light of the current emerging local, global and environmental challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic, La Soufriere volcano and climate change,” he said.

The new Committee will serve from 2021 to 2023.

TEF Donates to Two Healthcare Facilities

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Friday, March 26, 2021) – Two local public healthcare institutions were the beneficiaries of much-needed equipment recently, thanks to the generosity of the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) which donated a total of EC$38,000 to their cause. 

On Thursday, March 25, the TEF donated EC$28,000 towards the purchase of a 100-pound industrial washing machine for the Respiratory Hospital and EC$10,000 to the Lions Club of Saint Lucia for the purchase of three pieces of important equipment. 

The presentations were made at the Finance Administrative Centre at Pointe Seraphine. 

Donette Ismael, Programme Manager, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), said frontline workers have been tireless and dedicated in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and deserve all the support they can get.

“It is for this reason that the TEF is making a donation to the Respiratory Hospital to help the employees carry out their duties in a more effective manner and for the staff at the Pediatric Ward of the Owen King EU Hospital to provide effective care to our children.”

Nancy Francis, Executive Director of Victoria Hospital and OKEU Hospital who was on hand to receive the donation, said an upgrade at the laundry room at the Respiratory Hospital has been long overdue. She added that the current stock of industrial washers is aged, breaks down frequently and requires regular spare parts replacement and maintenance. 

“As a result, our linen services have been compromised, resulting in damages, downtime and an inadequate supply of linen,” said Francis.

Francis said that during a visit to the facility by SLHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy to make a donation of linen, she informed Troubetzkoy that among the facility’s pressing needs was a 100-pound industrial washer. 

A few days later, Troubetzkoy contacted Francis and requested more information. Noting that a new washer had been a priority for which sponsorship was hard to come by for quite some time, Francis said the TEF’s intervention with the generous donation speaks volumes.

“We value and treasure this gift,” she said. “I want to assure you that we will take very good care of this expensive machine because we understand the significance of having a deficient laundry service at the hospital in order to be able to provide freshly laundered linen on a daily basis for patient care.”   

The Lions Club of St. Lucia was also provided with a grant of $10,000 EC dollars towards procurement of an EKG machine and two SdO2 monitors for the Pediatric ward of the OKEU Hospital. Consultant Pediatrician at the facility, Dr. Martin Plummer who received the donation on behalf of the ward, noted that “many times, we had to go to the adult ward and take machines that were designed for adult patients, but when we get these machines, we can specifically use them for our children.”

Since adopting the Pediatric Department at Owen King EU Hospital, the Lions Club of Saint Lucia has been mounting efforts to improve the quality of care at the facility. The latest partnership with the TEF is testimony to that commitment, said Lions Club representative, Mervin Philbert.

“On an annual basis, the Lions Club of Saint Lucia (Zone 3B) adopts a project that we believe would help Saint Lucia as a whole,” he said. “This year, we identified the Pediatric Ward at OKEU Hospital and thought it fitting to identify what the needs were and help to meet them.” 

“We recognize that sometimes the children are forgotten,” said Philbert. “So we want to thank the SLHTA for this gesture and will move with haste to procure the equipment that will assist our patients at the Pediatric Ward in being a little more comfortable.”  

Meanwhile, TEF Chairman, Winston Anderson, said challenging times require being our brother’s and sister’s keepers. “As stakeholders, we at the SLHTA understand only too well the need for a united and mutually beneficial partnership between the tourism sector and all our communities.”

Anderson added: “It is only right that the sector, through the TEF, supports these critical efforts to improve the health and well-being of our citizens and, very importantly, our children. We all should ensure that all of our partners – taxi drivers, farmers, entertainers, fishermen, vendors, tour operators and other stakeholders – are able to get their fair share of the pie. Today is another example of what can be achieved when we get that partnership right. So the TEF gives its solemn commitment to work hard to ensure that we deepen the linkages among all tourism stakeholders.”

SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund Gifts Members Food Vouchers For Festive Season

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Tuesday, December 22, 2020) – The SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is spreading the Christmas cheer in a big way this season by rewarding its members with much-needed assistance.

Four hundred displaced employees who were severely impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic will be gifted food vouchers by the TEF. These employees will hale from the non-accommodation enterprises which are still experiencing look warm economic activity.

The generous gesture will cost the TEF approximately $80,000. However, the TEF believes that those who are the driving force of the tourism and hospitality sector deserve every assistance at this crucial juncture.

Within weeks of a partial shutdown in March this year following the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 15,000 employees within the local tourism and hospitality sector were laid off after the partial or total closure of many businesses. Some employees were forced to opt for either rotation or reduced pay. Despite a relaxing of the national shutdown since June and some employees returning to work, many are still off the job and without an income.  

On December 3, the TEF made a whopping $150,000. contribution to the Recover Saint Lucia initiative aimed at resuscitating the local economy. During that handover ceremony held at Bay Gardens Hotel, Chairman of the TEF, Winston Anderson, said any effort to resuscitate the local economy deserves every bit of support. He added that the tourism and hospitality sector bears a key responsibility for facilitating such an overall recovery.

“Tourism is a very key player in the recovery of the economy and has been badly affected,” he said. “We all know that this industry impacts the lives of so many sectors and the livelihoods of thousands of Saint Lucians, many of whom are yet to restart.”

SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund Donates $150,000 To ‘Recover Saint Lucia’ Initiative

The SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) signaled its strong support of the recently-launched Recover Saint Lucia initiative by donating $150,000 towards the new organization’s efforts.

A check handover ceremony was held on Thursday, December 3, in the Bay Gardens Hotel Conference Room and was attended by members of the Steering Committee for Recover Saint Lucia, the media and other partners of Recover Saint Lucia.

Chairman of the TEF, Winston Anderson, said any effort to resuscitate the local economy is deserving of support, noting that the tourism sector has a responsibility for and stands to gain from such a recovery.

“Tourism is a very keen player in the recovery of the economy and has been badly affected,” Anderson said. “We all know that this industry impacts the lives of so many sectors and the livelihoods of thousands of Saint Lucians, most of whom are yet to restart.” Anderson said that during recent TEF meeting, the trustees voted unanimously to support the Recover Saint Lucia initiative. Although Recovery Saint Lucia’s mission far exceeds last Thursday’s donation, Anderson said every bit helps, urging others in the private sector to join the cause.

Head of Recover Saint Lucia’s Resource Mobilization Committee, Sanovnik Destang, said over $400,000 worth of projects have already been identified by his committee since the official launch on November 20, 2020. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic that these goals are reachable.

Private sector agencies and business leaders launched the special national initiative aimed at speeding up the recovery of Saint Lucia’s ailing economy by rallying the support of the government and citizens in applying innovative and adaptive responses to overcome the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

Spearheading these efforts are the new organization’s key members: Karen Peter (Chairperson), Dr. Stephen King (Health & Best Practice), Goretti Paul (Economic Opportunity), Noorani Azeez (Food Security), Sanovnik Destang (Resource Mobilization), and Adrian Augier (Communications).

“I would like to thank all those businesses who jumped on board without batting an eye,” said Recover Saint Lucia’s Chairperson, Karen Peter. “They jumped on board without even thinking, case in point, the Tourism Enhancement Fund. I believe that the minute we launched that initiative, within two days I got a call from Noorani Azeez (SLHTA’s Chief Executive Officer) that the Tourism Enhancement Fund was willing to put in a seed donation.” Jamecob’s Quality Construction Ltd. also handed over a check for $5,000 to Recover Saint Lucia’s efforts at last Thursday’s ceremony.

SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund Donates $150,000 To ‘Recover Saint Lucia’ Initiative

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Monday, December 7, 2020) – The SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) signaled its strong support of the recently-launched Recover Saint Lucia initiative by donating $150,000 towards the new organization’s efforts.

A check handover ceremony was held on Thursday, December 3, in the Bay Gardens Hotel Conference Room and was attended by members of the Steering Committee for Recover Saint Lucia, the media and other partners of Recover Saint Lucia.

Chairman of the TEF, Winston Anderson, said any effort to resuscitate the local economy is deserving of support, noting that the tourism sector has a responsibility for and stands to gain from such a recovery.

“Tourism is a very keen player in the recovery of the economy and has been badly affected,” Anderson said. “We all know that this industry impacts the lives of so many sectors and the livelihoods of thousands of Saint Lucians, most of whom are yet to restart.”

Anderson said that during recent TEF meeting, the trustees voted unanimously to support the Recover Saint Lucia initiative. Although Recovery Saint Lucia’s mission far exceeds last Thursday’s donation, Anderson said every bit helps, urging others in the private sector to join the cause.

Head of Recover Saint Lucia’s Resource Mobilization Committee, Sanovnik Destang, said over $400,000 worth of projects have already been identified by his committee since the official launch on November 20, 2020. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic that these goals are reachable.

Private sector agencies and business leaders launched the special national initiative aimed at speeding up the recovery of Saint Lucia’s ailing economy by rallying the support of the government and citizens in applying innovative and adaptive responses to overcome the pandemic-induced economic crisis.

Spearheading these efforts are the new organization’s key members: Karen Peter (Chairperson), Dr. Stephen King (Health & Best Practice), Goretti Paul (Economic Opportunity), Noorani Azeez (Food Security), Sanovnik Destang (Resource Mobilization), and Adrian Augier (Communications).

“I would like to thank all those businesses who jumped on board without batting an eye,” said Recover Saint Lucia’s Chairperson, Karen Peter. “They jumped on board without even thinking, case in point, the Tourism Enhancement Fund. I believe that the minute we launched that initiative,

within two days I got a call from Noorani Azeez (SLHTA’s Chief Executive Officer) that the Tourism Enhancement Fund was willing to put in a seed donation.”

Jamecob’s Quality Construction Ltd. also handed over a check for $5,000 to Recover Saint Lucia’s efforts at last Thursday’s ceremony.

SLHTA’s TEF Sponsors Goodwill Ambassador Levern Spencer’s Tokyo Olympics Journey

SLHTA’s Goodwill Ambassador and 2016 Olympic Games finalist, Levern Spencer, is keen on competing in the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Games, which were scheduled for 2020, were postponed amid public health safety concerns. 

In her quest to represent Saint Lucia at the Games, Spencer will need a considerable amount of sponsorship to offset her expenses related to preparation and participation in the world-class event. The world-ranked high jumper reached out to the SLHTA and, based on the existing relationship the Association shares with Spencer, her request for financial assistance was granted unanimously by the Trustees of the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund

The SLHTA believes that Spencer’s representation at the international level not only showcases the island as a sporting destination, but also a tourism destination worthy of visiting. That was the underlying reason why Spencer was honoured as a Goodwill Ambassador at the SLHTA’s Annual General Meeting in August 2019.

In October 2019, fresh from her Pan American Games where she won a gold medal in high jump, Spencer returned home to a hero’s welcome at the VIP Lounge at the Hewanorra International Airport. The event was organized by the SLHTA.

The SLHTA will continue to support Spencer, who has been voted Sportswoman of the Year multiple times in Saint Lucia, because she sets a positive example to especially our youth, many of whom have taken up sports based on her inspiration.

TEF’s “Eat What We Grow” Campaign Promotes Local Consumption

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign, which was started by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), stemmed from the Virtual Agricultural Clearing House (VACH), a programme established by the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) in April 2016.

As organizations representing various entities in the local tourism sector, the SLHTA and TEF place a great deal of importance on strengthening the existing linkages between agriculture and tourism. So strong are these linkages that hundreds of farmers depend on the hospitality sector which purchases a fair share of their produce.

Since 2016, the SLHTA has made a significant impact in bridging the growing divide between tourism and agriculture. The WhatsApp platform on which the VACH operates provides an avenue for hundreds of farmers to upload information on agricultural produce available for sale and allows nearly two dozen hotels and two large food and beverage companies to upload demand information.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the SLHTA and TEF felt that, especially during these trying times, people needed to eat healthy and nutritious foods, primarily agricultural produce grown locally. Therefore, the “Eat What We Grow” campaign was a timely initiative.

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign was launched in July 2020 at the SLHTA Secretariat in Rodney Heights. Among those in attendance were acclaimed musician and Goodwill Ambassador Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, local farmer Moses Renee, and SLHTA’s Chief Executive Officer Noorani Azeez, all of whom spoke to the need for healthy eating and supporting the local economy.

Hinkson also created a jingle for the “Eat What We Grow” campaign, and media house All Biz, which did a video for the jingle showcasing farms and local chefs.

Subsequently, when the “Recover Saint Lucia” initiative was launched and Azeez was chosen to spearhead the Food and Safety Committee, the “Eat What We Grow” campaign video was edited to include “Recover Saint Lucia” as a key partner, especially since both initiatives dovetailed in many ways.

The “Eat What We Grow” campaign also aims to create awareness about the wholesomeness of locally-produced foods and the need to support our local farmers, chefs and others whose livelihoods depend on the agricultural sector. Another aim of the campaign was the importance of starting small kitchen gardens to reduce on the food bill. 

TEF Sponsors Meals For Front-liners During Transition To OKEU Hospital

In March 2020, there was a request from the administration of Victoria Hospital to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for the provision of meals for frontline staff during their period of transition to the Owen King EU Hospital.

The transition to Owen King EU Hospital became necessary as local officials anticipated that the dreaded COVID-19 would become a major issue for front-liners. The transition also paved the way for Victoria Hospital to become the new Respiratory Clinic.

The TEF honoured the request, sourced a local catering company, and paid for the provision of meals for the hospital staff during the transition period. The gesture seemed a natural one, as our healthcare workers are among the first line of defense in fighting the pandemic.

The hospital’s administrators were gracious for the TEF’s generosity, especially during a period when they had little time to adjust not only to the big move, but also to the protocols adopted to fight the invisible and destructive threat called COVID-19.

Soon after that, the TEF joined forces with the National Meals Programme (NMP) to prepare and deliver thousands of meals prepared by chefs from various hotels across the island to under-privileged people whose hardship was worsened by the negative socio-economic impact of COVID-19. 

TEF Gives EC$8,000 To Provide Hand Sanitizer For Schools

In March 2020, soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, Dr. Tanya Beaubrun, who was assisting the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health in their preparatory response to the pandemic, reached out to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and indicated what the Ministries’ intention was in curbing the spread of the virus.

Through a collaboration with Natmed Ltd., a local company that manufacturers all-natural health and beauty products, there was a drive to donate hand sanitizers to schools across the island. Many private sector organizations joined the initiative that aimed to prevent the spread of the deadly virus within the school setting, including the SLHTA’s TEF.

During a check presentation ceremony held at Bay Gardens Hotel, the TEF, which donated EC$8,000 to the Ministry’s initiative, was among several partners who lent financial support to deliver hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer to schools.

Aside from washing hands with water and soap regularly, wearing a face mask and keeping a six feet distance away from other people, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been proven to combat the proliferation of COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer, Sharon Belmar-George, was among those who spoke at the ceremony. She congratulated the generosity of all involved in the drive. Echoing Dr. Belmar-George’s sentiments was Education Officer for District One, Cyrus Cepal, adding that combatting COVID-19 would require a collective effort.

“Run For Fun” Donates School Supplies

In February 2020, Serenity Vacations & Tours DMC, one of the SLHTA’s allied members, spearheaded the annual “Run For Fun” cruise marathon held in conjunction with Run For Fun Cruise Incorporated, from which $10,000 worth of school supplies were donated to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

At a handover ceremony held at the Gros Islet Primary School afterwards, at which tourism and education officials were also present, students who participated in “Run For Fun” were presented with backpacks and other school supplies.

The“Run For Fun” cruise is niche cruise vacation event in which hundreds of individuals and special interest groups from a diverse middle to upper income demography engage in 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer races at select ports of call on seven-day cruises around the globe.

The event is hosted locally by Serenity Vacations & Tours DMC, which secured Saint Lucia as the marquee stop after a successful hosting three years ago, and the TEF believes it is one that benefits the youth in our community.

After the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, some school supplies were still in storage. In August 2020, the TEF donated these essential school supplies to the Alexander Family Foundation and Events, a charity based in Soufriere, who in turn presented these supplies to deserving students.

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