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.