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.

SLHTA TEF hits Green Gold with Helen’s Daughters!

Great meeting with Helen’s Daughters and Green Gold representatives Kiethlin Caroo and Aaron Afrifa to discuss collaboration with our Virtual Agricultural Clearing House (VACH). SLHTA stays the course to build stronger linkages between farmers and tourism. We are excited about the possibility of improved trade for our farmers with hotels via this partnership and the genesis of a Rural Women’s Academy.

The current food import bill of St. Lucia is valued at $350 million. Of this, it is estimated that $10-15 million dollars’ worth of this can be grown locally and bought by hotels at a lower price than when imported. Furthermore, with 1.1 million visitors to our shores in 2018 and one-third of all visitor expenditure spent on food, there is substantial market for locally grown crops.

The Green Gold team promises to leverage technology to fill in the gaps in the agricultural food tourism system to spur targeted agricultural supply by farmers using four components: Online Produce Marketplace, Farm Support, Distribution Centre and Delivery.

TEF Sponsors another Cycle of Maritime Training for Young Saint Lucians

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) continues to invest in the young people of Saint Lucia through the recent injection of EC$35,000.00 into maritime training. Each sailing course, which has been successfully run for a number of years, provides an intensive training course for 10 unemployed youth from across the island where they are engaged in an intensive sailing, soft skills training and personal development program. 

The Jus’ Sail youth sailing program continues to benefit from TEF financing due to the positive impact it has had on the lives of the young persons who have successfully completed the program over the last few years. The program has provided a number of employment opportunities for its graduates who have been able to succeed in the local maritime sector. The TEF’s commitment to this program is in keeping with one of the key mandates of the Fund which is human resource development. Supporting our youth and their development is one of the many positive outcomes of making a voluntary contribution or becoming a friend of the TEF.

Tourism Enhancement Fund Makes Good on its Commitment to Distribute 200 Wheelchairs Island Wide

The Tourism Enhancement Fund last year provided funding of EC$120,000.00 to the Rotary Club of Saint Lucia to facilitate the importation of wheelchairs to the island. This week marked an auspicious occasion as this venture between two private sector entities came to fruition, with the presentation of over 200 wheelchairs to be distributed island wide. 

The wheelchairs will create greater independence for persons with disabilities by improving their mobility and enhancing their overall quality of life.

This project would not have been possible without the support of the establishments participating in the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the voluntary contribution from guests of US$2 per room night to the fund. This voluntary contribution enables the TEF to support projects of this magnitude. If you are interested in being part of this exciting initiative please donate US$2 for each night of your stay at Resorts here in Saint Lucia or become a partner/friend of the TEF. For more information contact Ms. Donette Ismael TEF Programme Manager at 758-453-1811.

Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School Retains SLHTA Chefs in Schools Cook Off Championship Title 2019

Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary retains the SLHTA Chefs in Schools Championship title for yet another year. The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Inc would like to congratulate the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School on winning the Chefs in Schools Cook Off 2019. In 2nd place was the St Joseph’s Convent team made up of Janaii Williams and Kurres Joseph, trained by Chef Nissa Paul of Windjammer landing Villa Beach Resort. And in 3rd Place was Merkijay Jean and Wavimey Prosper of the Leon Hess Secondary School and trained by Chef Billy Mauricette of Cap Maison.

The two students competing for Soufriere Comprehensive were Sherquean Franky and Kayla Joseph, both form 4 students. The team put on a great show in both the Signature Dish and Basket Rounds at the recently held competition on their home grounds at the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th June 2019.

The Soufriere team were trained and coached by Chef Ruben Kumar of Anse Chastanet Resort over the past 2 months in preparation for the competition. Kayla and Sherquean along with their Chef and teacher will travel to Barbados to represent Saint Lucia at the Regional Caribbean Junior Dueling Challenge come August this year. Their training will continue over the summer in preparation for the regional leg of the Culinary Competition.

The Competition was proudly sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Winfresh Limited, Diamonds International and TransCaribbean.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund Celebrates the Success of two aspiring Junior Chefs

Two young St. Lucians have won the 2018 Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge, one of the Caribbean’s biggest and most prestigious culinary competitions.

Karina Abraham and Cheyenne Hippolyte, students of the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School represented St. Lucia in the competition and delivered a spectacular performance that ultimately won the hearts of the judges and earned them high praise from the audience and other participants in the event.

Prior to their victory in Barbados, Karina and Cheyenne had been crowned champions in the final leg of the 2018 Chefs in Schools Competition sponsored by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund, which was held June 15 at the Ciceron Secondary School. This qualified them to represent their country at the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge which was held August 14 – 19 at the Culinary Arena, Newton Industrial Estate Christ Church, Barbados.

The competition was the highlight of the Caribbean Junior Culinary Conference (CJCC), a seven-day event which also featured workshops and presentations on culinary techniques by respected industry professionals. Junior teams from seven Caribbean islands participated in this year’s competition, including the Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, St. Croix, Barbados and St. Lucia.

St. Lucia’s dynamic duo came away with the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge trophy, thereby making them the overall winners of the competition. They also captured gold medals in the first two rounds, which required the teams to cook and present a national dish in the first round and a dish from a mystery basket in the second round.

After the first two rounds, three teams went on to compete in the finals, which included cooking a dish from another mystery basket. All dishes were judged on technical skills, presentation, taste and texture, cooking techniques and innovation.

The St. Lucian team’s winning dish in the final round was macaroni and corned beef wrapped in blanched cabbage leaf with fried potato, mango, carrot and corned puree, coupled with stewed chicken wings coated in chocolate biscuit and deep fried, plus grilled shrimp and pan-roasted pork with a drizzle of spicy sauce. The two victors were accompanied by their culinary arts teacher, Nashanka Henry and the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund Projects Coordinator, Wendel George during their stay in Barbados.

On their return to St. Lucia on Monday (August 20) Karina and Cheyenne received a heroine’s welcome from the St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association. The SLHTA hosted a reception in their honour at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort where they were showered with accolades and commendations by representatives of the association and other industry stakeholders.

The reception turned out to be a joyous occasion for the two young culinary stars who both expressed their delight at winning the Junior Duelling Challenge, and the pride they felt at being able to represent St Lucia at the competition. They said they gave it their all and feel very satisfied with their performance and the results.

“The competition was very exciting and challenging but we overcame the pressure and we brought the gold home. We’re very proud,” said Karina. “We performed exceptionally well and we were consistent. We set standards for ourselves and we were able to rise to those standards in every round of the competition,” she added.

Tourism Enhancement Fund Projects Coordinator, Wendel George praised the two young chefs for their winning performance, and also lauded Anse Chastanet’s chef de cuisine, Frank Faucher  who served as their coach during the preparatory stages of both the SLHTA Chefs in Schools Completion and the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge.

“The team put on a really good fight and I was extremely impressed with the way they were able to compose themselves and present their dishes in the way they did, in that they were very consistent,” said Wendel. “As an association we’re very happy with their performance. We’re also delighted that so many companies and association members supported the initiative. Anse Chastanet, for example, has always been supporting the Chefs in Schools program from its inception. They have always provided a chef to coach the students, and they have always performed exceptionally at those events.” he added.

In addition to the St. Lucia team’s glorious win, the SLHTA has been invited to host the Caribbean Junior Duelling Challenge in 2019. Wendel says the association welcomes the opportunity to host the event and believes it will provide tremendous benefits to the local tourism and hospitality industry and St. Lucia as a whole.

“It is going to be very beneficial to the hoteliers, the local vendors and the St. Lucian people in general. We’re going to have teams from seven or eight islands coming to St. Lucia to participate in what has become a major culinary event in the Caribbean. A wide range of businesses, including local food and beverage suppliers, restaurants and shopping malls will benefit as a result of the competition being held in St. Lucia. We believe that this is the time for us to take this amazing competition to another level and really push the culinary arts in St Lucia. Public interest in culinary arts is really picking up, especially among the youths, and people are always looking forward to the competitions. More students are becoming aware of the culinary arts and increasingly they want to take it up academically and participate in the SLHTA Chefs in Schools program. This means that the SLHTA now has an even bigger responsibility to really push that agenda on the heels of all the awards that we’ve already won,” said Wendel.

Eat them to Beat Them!

Over 20 Senior Chefs, Butchers, Purchasing Managers and Distributors from SLHTA member companies received hands on training this week on the safe handling of Lionfish and its preparation. Lionfish is an invasive species in Saint Lucia and the population has exploded in recent years. The Lionfish is a voracious predator of juvenile fishes and poses a serious threat to the future of our coral reefs and the livelihoods of many fishing villages and families.
The tourism industry continues to play its part in helping to promote incorporation of Lionfish on local menus. For international visitors, Lionfish is a delicacy and fast becoming a part of the unique experience of our island. Encouraging consumption of Lionfish will not only help coral reefs to recover, but also support the livelihoods of local fishers.
The Tourism Enhancement Fund financed the training workshop which was hosted by the SLHTA in collaboration with The Travel Foundation, Clear Caribbean, the Department of Fisheries and Royalton St. Lucia Resort and Spa on Thursday, 14th June, 2018.

TEF Hires Project Consultant

The Board of Trustees of the Tourism Enhancement Fund is pleased to announce the engagement of Mr. Noorani M. Azeez as the Project Consultant to the TEF effective 5th June 2018 – 4thSeptember 2018. During this period the Consultant will conduct an aggressive engagement of Fund contributors to ascertain priority areas to which funding should be targeted over the coming years. Since its conception in 2013, the Tourism Enhancement Fund has allocated millions of dollars towards human resources development, community enhancement and bridging linkages between tourism and the agricultural sector. As the Fund seeks to formalize its presence and expand its network of collaboration with international partners, it has become critical that key thematic areas for support be identified. If you have any ideas of projects which you would like to see funded please email us at grants@stluciatef.com

SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund donates to Kids Insight Project

Gros Islet, Saint Lucia – 20th June 2018 – The SLHTA Tourism Enhancement Fund has donated Ten Thousand dollars towards off setting the cost of surgeries and medical attention for kids struggling with vision problems.  The donation was made to the Kids In Sight program which has been operating in Saint Lucia for the past 15 years. The Kids In Sight is a joint project of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association, the Lions Clubs of Gros Islet and West Virginia Eye Institute.

Each year, the Lion’s Club of Gros Islet, through its Charity Golf Tournament, collaborates with other business houses to raise funding to address the vision needs of children.  The West Virginia Eye Institute provides paediatric eye surgeons and specialists who visit Saint Lucia annually to treat kids with sight disabilities who otherwise cannot afford to pay for such medical attention.

This year, the Lion’s Club of Gros Islet successfully engage the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) with a view to making a direct donation towards the project.  The President of the Lion’s Club of Gros Islet Mr. Lester Charles commented earlier that “This donation helps the Lions Club of Gros Islet to significantly expand its network of partners to increase financial resources to support this and other philanthropic initiatives.  We welcome the support from the Tourism Enhancement Fund and look forward to ensuring that as many kids as possible benefit from the medical attention they so critically need.”  Kids in Sight offers a comprehensive approach to paediatric eye problems, including surgical, medical, educational and rehabilitation needs.

About the TEF:  The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), established on 1st October 2013, is a voluntary fund set up by the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association Inc. The TEF was proposed by the SLHTA Secretariat as a means of allowing the members of the SLHTA greater control of its own pool of financial resources to allow the SLHTA to play an integral part in the sustainable development of our destination and make greater contributions towards community development initiatives in rural areas and support efforts to preserve our environment and expose other stakeholders to environmentally sustainable tourism practices. The TEF also focuses on education and hands-on training initiatives for our young people to give them a better chance of finding employment in our industry. It also spearheads programs for the workforce to achieve higher standards to be able to strengthen our island’s presence in an ever more competitive international tourism marketplace.

1 2 3 4 5 7