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BVI Yachting Hotel & Tourism Association officially launches

BVI Yachting Hotel & Tourism Association officially launches

The BVI Yachting, Hotel and Tourism Association (BVIYHTA) is official in the Virgin Islands, following its formal launch where the Government of the Virgin Islands presented it with a start-off donation of $20,000.

The launch took place Thursday evening, May 4, 2023 at PRIME LV3 in the heart of Road Town, Tortola and was attended by key industry stakeholders and partners, including Acting Premier and Minister for Financial Services and Labour Honourable Lorna G. Smith, Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), Founder and Chairman of InterCaribbean Airlines Mr Lyndon Gardiner, CEO of Turks & Caicos HTA Ms Stacey Cox, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Mr Vernon Jeffers, among others.

The BVI Yachting, Hotel and Tourism Association (BVIYHTA) was launched at PRIME LV3 in Road Town on May 4, 2023.

Strategic partnerships & alliances the way forward- Hon Wheatley

In presenting the cheque to the association on behalf of Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) who is responsible for Tourism, Hon Wheatley said in this post-COVID-19 era partnerships are critical for business survival, “and the businesses and the persons who are going to survive are those who acknowledge and recognize and do as is happening today, form strategic partnerships and alliance, collaborative efforts what you are seeing when you bringing yachting, hotel and tourism together.”

Hon Wheatley presented the $20,000 cheque to the Association’s Interim President Mrs Sharon P. Flax-Brutus, who said the territory’s tourism sector needs the attention of everyone.

“It needs everyone’s attention and focus– it needs more focus and commitment than it has received in recent years. It needs its own advocacy; its own engine and it needs a lot more respect than it has been given.”
From left: Marketing Manager of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) Lynette L. Harrigan, Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), Interim President of the BVI Yachting, Hotel and Tourism Association (BVIYHTA) Sharon P. Flax-Brutus, and Junior Minister for Culture and Tourism Hon Luce D. Hodge-Smith (R4).

Splitting of the Siamese twins!

The BVIYHTA has branched out of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA).

Mrs Shaina M. Smith-Archer, who heads the BVICC, explained that over fifty years ago the BVICCHA was established through a merger of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and the BVI Hotel Association.

“Last year, when I made the proposal of a HTA to the Board, I was convinced that we had an opportunity to ensure our business stakeholders were more effectively represented across industries.”

According to Smith-Archer, “I observed across the Caribbean region that the chambers of commerce and hotel associations were separate organisations that collaborated for the greater socio-economic development of their countries. I proposed that it was time to split the Siamese twins and I am grateful they were open and supported the idea to the end.”

Among those who received special accolades for the establishment of the BVIYHTA are Mr Clyde Lettsome, Mrs Flax-Brutus, Mr Russell Harrigan, Mrs Sally Reid and Mr Andreas Pade.

Smith-Archer added that the new alliance of the BVICC and HTA “will create a louder voice of business for our economy that currently boasts a gross domestic product of over $1.5 billion dollars.”
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