AHTA PRESIDENT PRESENTS POSITIVE REPORT (2010-2011)
In a comprehensive 9-page report, President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association, Mrs. Sherrille Hughes, delivered a very positive presentation on the work and achievements of the organisation at its Annual General Meeting.
The event, attended by CTO officials from the region and government representatives inAnguilla, as well as members of the AHTA, was held at Paradise Cove Resort on Wednesday, March 21.
Mrs. Hughes said that despite the continuing recession and the increasing cost of doing business inAnguilla, 2010-2011 saw the AHTA continuing to be strongly supported by its membership which now stood at 151.
“We are extremely proud that our membership has continued to pay its dues and support us in kind when asked,” she stated. “This year proves once again that the AHTA is an integral part of the hospitality industry in Anguilla, and a strong, concerned and effective voice for our members…I am pleased to report that we had a total of 151 bona fide members for the year under review and, despite our challenges,…we concluded the 2010-2011 financial year with a positive bank balance of US$19,843.64.”
The president gave a summary of the achievements of the AHTA during the past year. Among other matters, she reported that the AHTA had strengthened its relationship with the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism. She said the Association was continuing to play an integral role in supporting, promoting and marketing all aspects of the island’s tourist industry through several activities. These include the Tourism is the Key Campaign, Anguilla Smile, the introduction of the Hello Tourist Programme, the creation of a new Anguilla Visitor Survey (with Melinda Goddard of ClienTell Consulting), as well as membership of both the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Marketing Alliance of Anguilla.
Mrs. Hughes said that at the request of its membership the AHTA had successfully lobbied the government to get the proposed 10% tax on Restaurants and Car Rentals dropped. “We also called a special Tourism Forum meeting, which was held at Paradise Cove, to openly discuss what was called “a crisis inAnguilla’s tourism,” she continued. “That is the decreased visitor arrivals, product development, and a range of destination marketing challenges such as lack of a marketing budget, poor access, increased operational costs and taxation – and other issues like price cutting and rate integrity by the luxury market.
“This positive, working, meeting resulted in a set of marketing ideas and recommendations being submitted to the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Government of Anguilla. We are pleased to see that already some of these recommendations – such as appointing a new Public Relations company – have been implemented.”
The AHTA President stated in her report that the Association had overcome the challenge of drastically reduced funding for the Anguilla National Culinary Team, by holding a series of extremely successful fund-raising events. This had enabled the team to participate in the competition.
“Our Chefs continuedAnguilla’s proud tradition in the Taste of the Caribbean Competition by bringing home medals in every category,” she reported. “Our team won an overall Silver Medal in the Team of the Year category,” she reported. “Special commendation must go to Mr. Lester Gumbs, of CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa, who captured the overall gold medal for Best Seafood Chef in the Caribbean; and Justin Hughes, of Cap Juluca Resort, for winning a gold medal in the individual Chef of the Year Competition.
“The year 2010-2011 continued to be a phenomenal year forAnguilla’s culinary heritage as the 2009 Caribbean Chef of the Year.Anguilla’s very own Glendon Carty was inducted into the CHTA’s Hall of Fame. Later that year, Chef Glendon was honoured to be selected asAnguilla’s representative at the Trinidad& Tobago Food Festival in October 2011, where he, and Chef Lester Gumbs, who accompanied him, did not fail to impress and enthrall the audience with their superlative cooking skills and their sense of enthusiasm, camaraderie and great teamwork.”
Mrs. Hughes reported that the AHTA remained a participant in the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), attending regional events such as CHTA Board and Executive Meetings; Caribbean Marketplace; and the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE). “I have the honour of being re-elected 3rd Vice President on the CHTA Board; Fred Thompson continues as our second representative on this Board of Directors; and Gilda has, this year, 2012, been elected Vice President of the CSHAE Board of Directors.”
Another achievement which the AHTA President spoke about was the granting of scholarships to seven Anguillians (the mostAnguillaever received, and the second highest number) to study hospitality professions. The scholarships were awarded by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF).
In her concluding remarks, Mrs. Hughes stated in part: “As we say in our joint campaign with the ATB, ‘Tourism is the key’. Let us treat it with the respect that it deserves. Let us make sure our voice as the leading industry inAnguillais heard. Let us stay strong and respect this wonderful island, its people, its assets and what it stands for. Let us create a sustainable and economically sound future for us all.”