US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
As this year’s hurricane season approached its peak months, a number of the association’s senior officials were among more than 350 leaders from government, business and civil society who participated in the important discussions convened by President Bill Clinton on Aug. 7 amid various Caribbean nations’ continued revival from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass led a delegation that included CHTA Immediate Past President Karolin Troubetzkoy, Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Ledesma, Chief Marketing Officer Matt Cooper, Director of Membership Development Martha Valdivia and Director of Communications Adriana Serna to the CGI forum at the University of Miami.
As part of CHTA’s multi-pronged and ongoing efforts to help islands recover from last year’s devastating hurricane season, the association’s representatives contributed to many executive sessions which focused on continuing preparations for this year’s storm activity and on addressing long-term recovery needs. Various sessions aligned with CHTA’s strategic vision, including Being Prepared for Quicker Assistance, Building Long-Term Resilient Energy Systems and Investing in Workforce Development.
“This second meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative was extremely beneficial and we were pleased to engage with diverse partners as CHTA continues to actively participate in the recovery of hurricane-hit Caribbean destinations,” said CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass.
“We are now assessing potential opportunities for collaboration to support our strategic focus areas and member needs and, over the coming months, CHTA looks forward to further outreaches to connections made during this important event,” she added.
CHTA’s involvement in CGI’s deliberations followed closely on the heels of its announcement with nonprofit organization Tourism Cares that their joint initiative – the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund – has raised more than US$275,000 in charitable donations to build long-term recovery and enhance the ability of hurricane-impacted destinations to rebound as quickly as possible. Donors’ generosity has facilitated assistance to Caribbean nationals for training and education, restoring destination capacity, the physical restoration of tourism-related infrastructure, social enterprise development, job creation, hotel training, voluntourism, marketing and public relations support, and the environment.
Meanwhile, CHTA has produced a Disaster Preparedness Manual, which is in the process of being released to industry stakeholders. The purpose of the guide, financed by both the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund and Expedia, is to supplement local efforts to develop communications preparedness and the response and recovery process for CHTA members, national tourism organizations and public and private sector industry stakeholders before, during and after a potential disaster.