SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund disburses over $250k!

(CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – Tuesday, December 20th, 2022) – The spirit of giving permeated the air at the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA) on Monday, December 19, 2022 as the Association, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) disbursed grants and donations totalling over EC $250,000 to various organisations. The initiatives, aimed at creating opportunities for the youth and lending a helping hand to the less fortunate, were unveiled during a press conference at the Alfiona Plaza, Rodney Heights, Gros Islet.

An EC $132,000 grant to Landmark Events will provide Saint Lucians with training and development opportunities in the Orange Economy. The company operates Warehouse 11 , a 4,900 square foot facility in Vide Boutielle, Castries which seeks to serve as a ‘community space for creative interaction between artists and audiences, performers and producers, and masters and emerging talent, to simultaneously improve access, affordability and opportunity for skills transfer and development.’ The TEF is committed to providing opportunities in non-traditional areas to harness the talents of our people, increase self worth and identity and generate employment.

“We are very grateful and excited to finally be agreeing with the TEF on the terms and conditions of their support to this very important imitative,” said Managing Director of Landmark Events Dr. Adrian Augier. “The idea is that we’re providing a space where human development can happen…You bring masters and novices, and young people and older people together and hopefully in that space we’ll be able to change a few lives.”

The second grant is to the St. Lucia Divers Association (Anbaglo). Valued at EC $61,355.50, it will open doors for the youth in the Blue Economy.

President of Anbaglo Ms. Eget Martyr noted that one of her Association’s objectives is to enable the environment for non-exploitive, scuba diving experiences. She explained that providing the highest available standards of training to citizens is essential to execute this activity safely, professionally and in harmony with other users of the natural environment.

However a worrying trend has been observed: “We have recognised a decrease in the amount of diving professionals on island… There are lots of opportunities which are available here and abroad and we find that increasingly, our pool of diving professionals is getting less and less. So given that current situation, we have decided to step up our training programmes and one of the initiatives was to look at persons who are currently unemployed, as well as persons who are currently in the industry but have not attained the professional level that is required to function more effectively.”

The grant will facilitate the training of Saint Lucians to Divemaster competency with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors— the world’s leading scuba diving training organisation. Diving, Martyr said, is a much sought after profession. “Not just in the hospitality industry but also commercially, and there are immense opportunities to be derived as a professional diver. So we look forward to expanding those opportunities for our citizens; not just to work for somebody else but also to empower them to become entrepreneurs within the industry!

“I would like to say thanks to the SLHTA, through the TEF for giving us this support. We are very happy and we are looking forward to making the initiative a huge success,” she said.

This year the SLHTA TEF is also continuing its annual Xmas Hamper/ Food Voucher drive in a big way: EC $90,000 worth of vouchers will be distributed islandwide to assist families in need. The food vouchers will be distributed by the SLHTA TEF team alongside community groups throughout the month of December. At Monday’s press conference, five organisations received a supply:

-Disabled Musicians ($7,500)
-Rotary Club of Saint Luci($3,000)
-Lions Club of Gros Islet ($3,000)
-Alexander Family Foundation ($3,000)
-Dunnottar School ($3,000)

Chairman of the TEF Winston Anderson reaffirmed the Fund’s commitment to ensuring the sustainable development of the nation. “I am just privileged and honored to be given the opportunity to work with the Trustees, our CEO and President, and all the contributors of the TEF. Together, everyone is committed to making a change; to impacting the lives of not just folks in the hospitality industry but Saint Lucia on a whole. Over the past five years the TEF has disbursed over $2.2 million of financing in support of various programmes and we look forward to bringing about even more meaningful change in 2023.”

The SLHTA and TEF wish all Saint Lucians Season’s Greetings and a bright and prosperous New Year!