US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Photo_01Education and Training Committee: USVIHTA Awards $15,000 in Scholarships to Six Students

The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association via the association’s Education and Training Fund awarded $15,000 in scholarships to six students during an awards ceremony on July 6. Students include Dyese Turnbull, sophomore at the University of the Virgin Islands, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic High School graduate Michael Dinh, Charlotte Amalie High School graduate Akim Jno-Pierre, and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School graduates Calika Hendricks, Esther Walters and Elroy Arnold.

Education and Training Committee Chairman Samuel Rey as well as USVIHTA president Lisa Hamilton and manager Nicole Friday offered words of wisdom and support to the students.

“Our industry continues to grow, and having our high school graduates trained and groomed into being future general managers, divisional department heads and supervisors of our hotels and restaurants will go a long way towards maintaining a foundation of local talent,” said Rey.

The association works closely with the UVI hospitality program to target students who are passionate about the industry and want to become the next leaders in Virgin Islands hospitality.

“These scholarships open the doors to assist those individuals who have talent and great potential for growth and development. One key mission of the hotel and tourism association is to assist in motivating and offering practical methods to grow our industry with local talent in key leadership roles,” Rey added.

Students are awarded scholarships based on their dedication to hospitality as well as their academic and extra-curricular achievements, and will each receive $2,500 to put towards his or her education. Scholarship recipients Turnbull, Hendricks and Walters are attending UVI, and recipients Arnold, Dinh and Jno-Pierre are attending Johnson & Wales University.

In 2014, the scholarship was posthumously named in honor of Lorette Resch, honorary member on the USVIHTA board of directors and generous scholarship contributor. She was passionate about education and donated much of her time to building the scholarship fund.

The USVIHTA Education and Training Fund was established over two decades ago in an effort to aid youth in the community who are seeking higher education with a concentration in hospitality. Funds for the program are raised by the USVI Culinary Team, during the USVIHTA Holiday Party and through donations by USVIHTA members.

Tommy GalaTommy Gala Committee: It’s that time of year again to start preparing for the most exciting red carpet event of 2016! The 15th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala will be held Nov. 5 at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. The event highlights those individuals in the tourism and hospitality industry who go above and beyond to make guest experiences exceptional. The dedication, talent and creativity of these employees is essential to the success of the local tourism industry, and we are honored to recognize their hard work. Nominees can be submitted for the following categories: Attraction/Activity Associate of the Year; Hospitality Support Service Associate of the Year; Public Service Representative of the Year (Government); Restaurant Associate of the Year; Retail Associate of the Year; Transportation Associate of the Year; Hotel Supervisor of the Year; and Hotel Associate of the Year. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 19. Click here to read the nomination requirements before filling out the nomination form for one or more of your employees!

And while you’re submitting your nominations, don’t forget to sign up to be a sponsor! Levels of sponsorship are as follows:

Tommy Star $5,000

  • Full page color ad in the event booklet
  • Recognition in all event advertising
  • Recognition from the podium
  • Table for ten at the event with priority seating
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation
  • Signage

Tommy Gold $2,500

  • Half page ad in the event booklet
  • Recognition in all event promotion
  • Recognition from the podium
  • Five tickets to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

Tommy Silver $1,000

  • Quarter page ad in the event booklet
  • Two tickets to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

Tommy Bronze $500

  • 1/8 page ad in the event booklet (business card size)
  • One ticket to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

To become a sponsor of this esteemed event, click here to download the Sponsorship Agreement form and return via fax to 340-774-4993 by Oct. 7. If you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact the association’s office at 340-774-6835.

Environmental Committee: The Environmental Committee met in July to discuss several ongoing initiatives. The Blue Flag International Jury will meet in Sept, with the general meeting taking place in Puerto Rico in Oct. Applications were submitted for the sites, and we are currently working to make sure each is up to standards.

The Eco-schools program has proven to be successful thus far. We have a commitment from the school superintendent to move forward with the program. The program originally called for three pilot schools, but we plan to do eight, with six meetings per school per year. There are plans to develop a website, and to raise funds through the Community Foundation and other avenues, with a goal of $100,000.

Additionally, we are looking to partner the Clean Island Campaign with Coast Week in Sept. and Oct. Our role will be heavily educational. We plan to explain direct benefits as well as the reasoning behind keeping our islands clean. We encourage members to participate by sharing stories about what you do to contribute. For example, one committee member shared a story of compost containers at Fruit Bowl. Customers prefer plastic as they perceive it as sturdier, but they may choose differently if they knew the benefits of compost containers. If we use these scenarios as an educational tool, everyone wins.