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A stronger CHTA

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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The new man at the helm of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) is advocating a bigger role for that entity in improving the operations of members associations including the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA).
Emil Lee, general manager of Princess Heights Hotel, St Maarten, recently succeeded Richard Doumeng as CHTA president and said one of his major aims would be to strengthen national hotel associations like the BHTA, while also forming a “Caribbean community” to “help grow tourism to the region”.
“Ultimately, the strength and effectiveness of CHTA depends on the strength and effectiveness of the [national hotel associations]. CHTA must serve as a coordinating and centralising entity for the national associations,” Lee said in Miami where a new CHTA executive, including immediate past BHTA president Patricia Affonso-Dass, was installed.
“By centralising resources and functioning as a repository for information, gathering and redistributing best and worst practices, the CHTA can dramatically strengthen the [national hotel associations] and improve our combined relevance and increase benefits to our members.
Telling hoteliers present that he knew they understood the contribution tourism made to their country’s economies, including thousands of jobs and tax revenues, the president said “given the amount of people in the region that depend on the accuracy of our vision and success, we simply cannot afford not to get this right”.
“Most of our islands have different mixes of hospitality accommodations, all-inclusive, timeshare, bed and breakfasts, villa, mass market hotels, small boutique hotels, condo hotels, chain hotels and independent hotels,” he added.
“So in many ways the Caribbean tourism product is extremely diverse. This diversity is both an opportunity and a challenge. So in a sense, our diversity is part of the glue that binds us.”
Lee said he had become CHTA president during a time of change and that against this backdrop it could not be normal business for the organisation.
“It is against this backdrop that the board finds itself contemplating the strategic vision and direction for the CHTA. The world is changing, the tourism industry is changing, rules for business are changing.
“Change is one of the few constants that we can depend on. Change is inevitable, and we can either be the victims of change or the beneficiaries,” he said. (SC)