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 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 TEF Xmas Hampers

The Tourism Enhancement Fund is set to embark on its annual Xmas Hampers distribution to spread the seasonal cheers and goodwill to families in need. Annually over 250 hampers are distributed to needy families islandwide containing sanitary products, food items and other household supplies. This year the SLHTA has been inundated with requests for support from a number of communities and is exploring increasing the number of hampers to 300. The hampers are usually distributed directly by the TEF and through churches, community groups and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force.

TEF discusses Enterprise Development Fund with Financial Services Providers

Bank of Saint Lucia and Savings Bank Foundation for International Cooperation were two of the institutions with whom Tourism Enhancement Fund Program Manager met this week to discuss the SLHTA’s Enterprise Development Fund. The Enterprise Development Fund is a project initiative of the SLHTA seeking to make available to established local entrepreneurs, small loans at reduced interest rates which will enable them to expand their production and service offerings. The focus is currently on supporting existing enterprises which have already been in operation but seeking a financial injection to better penetrate the tourism and hospitality sector. The project was presented at this year’s Annual General Meeting of members as a new initiative seeking to build on the organization’s sterling linkages program. 

SLASPA & TEF ANNOUNCE HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP

On Tuesday 24th September, the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association’s Tourism Enhancement Fund hosted a corporate mixer at the inaugural Saint Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority’s (SLASPA) Port Showcase. The event, hosted at the Harbor Club, was an ideal moment not only for the Association to show support to their corporate partner SLASPA but to provide their membership a befitting atmosphere to foster business and networking opportunities with related industry partners.

In her remarks to the gathering, Karolin Troubetzkoy, SLHTA President, disclosed that “creating opportunities for our members to meet in an informal atmosphere to connect and network was at the forefront of new activities we wanted to introduce at the SLHTA. We are therefore very pleased that our first social mixer took place and could not have hoped for a better partner to collaborate with than SLASPA”.

The Corporate Mixer also served as a moment of celebration for the Tourism Enhancement Fund as they announced the introduction of level of membership within the Fund, titled ‘Friends of TEF’, that will allow the Fund to allow donations, pledges and commitments for non-accommodation corporate partners.

Currently, the TEF is financed by a US$2 per night voluntary donation from guests at hotels across the island. The funds raised by these member hotels are channelled into community development and environmental projects which impact the livelihoods of current and future generations.

“Today marks a special milestone for us and we are pleased to share with you, another evolution of our TEF. While we have in the past received donations from partners such as Serenity Vacations and Sea Spray Cruises, we are delighted today to announce our first friends of the TEF,” pronounced John Mathurin, TEF Trustee and SLHTA First Vice President, “The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority has agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the TEF for an annual donation which will be matched by the TEF to undertake specific projects earmarked by the two partners. This agreement with SLASPA marks the first seed capital of this nature and we hope this will inspire other corporate partners to step forward and be counted as Friends of the TEF”.

The Fund established in 2013, has been able to execute over 250 projects that address issues surrounding climate change, community resilience, environmental preservation and economic livelihoods. With continued and growing support from partners like SLASPA, the fund has set its sights on a number of pertinent projects in the coming year including the Enterprise Development Fund, a loan guarantee facility which will enable qualifying small businesses to access the capital so SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund critical to enhancing their competitiveness and profitability and a National School Bursary Project that will provide scholarships for students in need.

GUEST CARE PROGRAMME MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE SUPPORT OF TOURISM ENHANCEMENT FUND

With support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF), 180 Saint Lucian hospitality workers polished their skills in a series of guest service training sessions.

Dubbed ‘Heartfelt Guest Care to Welcome the World’, the training this month gave hospitality team members, supervisors, managers, and owners the knowledge and skills needed to best serve a new and diverse generation of customers. Launched by CHTAEF in partnership with Virgin Holidays, the program equips hospitality professionals across the Caribbean with guest care and diversity training to enable them to better understand and cope with the needs of the rapidly changing demographics of modern customers.

The training was created to demonstrate and enhance the benefits of diversity and inclusion within the tourism industry by generating in all 180 participants, from 14 hotels, an appreciation of the broad diversity of today’s travelers and how to warmly welcome them all. The St. Lucia series of workshops was sponsored by CHTAEF with additional support provided by the Saint Lucia Tourism Enhancement Fund. The Fund provided an additional US$8,000 to deliver four more days of the workshops, ensuring many more SLHTA members could receive the training.

The sold-out workshops were held in both the north and south of the island from September 16 to 20, 2019 and concluded with a certificate ceremony for participants on Wednesday, September 25 at Bel Jou Hotel attended by Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee, representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, the TEF, SLHTA, Virgin Holidays and CHTAEF.

CHTAEF Chairman, Karolin Troubetzkoy, was delighted with the program’s success and said the main value of the workshops was its recognition of the natural hospitality of Caribbean people and how it could be enhanced to recognize and serve the rapidly changing types of people making up the ranks of visitors to the region.

In his remarks to attendees, John Mathurin, TEF Trustee and SLHTA First Vice President, emphasized that “initiatives like these are central to the TEF’s continued mandate of ensuring the professional development of St. Lucia’s tourism industry workers, thus making this program an invaluable opportunity we feel fortunate to be able to have offered to our membership”.

Wheelchair Presentation Continues

The presentation of wheelchairs continued on 11th September 2019 at the Children Development and Guidance Centre (CDGC). This time in addition to a number of regular wheelchairs, 10 specially fitted tilting chairs with added braces were donated.
Ms. Donette Ismael, TEF Programme Manager and Lisle Chase, Matthew Render and Konrad Wagner from Rotary attended the function. This project would not have worked without SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund and its leadership, working with the Ministry of Health and Rotary on the project. Rotary said that they stand ready to repeat the exercise at any time.

SLHTA TEF takes Tourism Linkages success to other sectors

The SLHTA TEF convened a meeting under the Chairmanship of Sanovnik Destang, Immediate Past President of the SLHTA. Committee members on the newly constituted committee include Ike Lauff of Mystique Royal St. Lucia Resort, Jonathan Allain of the Ministry of Commerce, SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund Programme Manager, Donette Ismael and Deputy Chair of the Linkages Committee, Noorani Azeez.

Key discussions focused on improving payments to farmers, consolidating transportation for small farmers interested in selling produce to the hotels, expansion of the committee to include manufacturers, expansion of the virtual agricultural clearing house, implications on a loan guarantee fund on the manufacturing sector and encouraging access to tourism markets by local furniture manufacturers. Exciting next steps also included the launch of the SLHTA / TEF’s Link Up programme which commences in October 2019 and allows small producers of fashion, arts, craft, agro processed items to share their offerings with visitors at hotels.

Linkages in Tourism Tradeshow (LITT) 2019

The SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) hosted another successful Linkages in Tourism Trade show (LITT). The event which was held at the Finance Administrative Centre, Pointe Seraphine, Castries, which provided an avenue for participating companies to showcase a wide variety of locally made products and services.

The diversity in the display this year, kept to the SLHTA’s promise of expanding its linkages programme to include other sectors. The atmosphere at the event was a buzz of excitement as SLHTA members took in the showcase of locally grown mushrooms, local spirits, liquors, chocolates, sauces, crafts and the list go on.

“For me what sets this trade show apart from other trade shows I have participated in is how targeted it is. You get to interact with business persons within the hospitality sector,” said president of the St Lucia Network of Rural Women Producers, Robin Darrell. 

“Every year LITT continues to surpass the expectations of participants and this year was no different. From networking opportunities and developing business relationships with established companies in the tourism industry, participating companies will continue to derive benefits long after the event, said TEF Programme Manager, Donette Ismael.

She went on to explain that apart from the showcase, participants will be featured in the SLHTA / TEF newsletter and website, and participate in other similar events which will be hosted throughout the year, one of which will be “LINK UP”. The aim is to continue building on the successes that has been achieved so far by linking tourism with all the various sectors.

Businesses and individuals wishing to obtain information about the SLHTA Linkages in Tourism Programme can call the SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund at (758) 453-1811 or email dismael@slhta.com.

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