The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) held its 62nd annual general meeting (AGM), followed by its traditional Christmas luncheon, at the Atlantis resort.
Stuart Bowe, the BHTA’s president, reviewed the year’s achievements and events, and spoke of the “changes and challenges” forecast for 2015.
He said noteworthy achievements in 2014 were the BHTA’s advocacy efforts, which were focused on ensuring industry stakeholders had a voice in influencing the Value-Added Tax (VAT) legislation.
The BHTA also worked with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism to create, and launch, a VAT training and readiness programme specifically geared to prepare tourism-related businesses for the tax’s imminent implementation.
Twelve ‘training sessions’ were held between October and November 2014, reaching almost 500 participants.
The AGM also highlighted BHTA’s numerous workforce development initiatives and partner programmes with the Ministry of Education, College of the Bahamas/Culinary Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI).
The BHTA also held its election of officers and directors for the 2015-2016 term. Mr Bowe, presiding president, was re-elected for another term.
Also elected are Carlton Russell, vice-president of hotel operations, the Cove and Reef, Atlantis; Earle Bethel, general manager for Comfort Suites, who will serve as treasurer. Robert Sands of Baha Mar will continue as immediate past president.
Hotel operator representatives proposed and ratified to serve on the BHTA’s executive committee were Rui Domingues, general manager of the British Colonial Hilton, as vice-president of Nassau/Paradise Island; Magnus Alnebeck, general manager of Pelican Bay, as vice-president for Grand Bahama; Dean Spychalla, managing director of Valentines Resort and Marina, Harbour Island, as vice-president for the Family Islands; and Vernice Walkine, president and chief executive of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), as vice-president representing allied members.
Nina Maynard of the Corner Hotel, Nassau, was appointed as small hotels chairperson, and Beverly Saunders, president and managing director of The Learning Connection, was appointed as workforce development chairperson.