US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association


The St. Thomas-St. John Board of Directors retreat was held at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas on Jan. 20. Board members discussed many topics, ranging from the current efforts of the association to future goals. Attendees compiled a list of goals going forward, including greater visibility in the community, creating additional opportunities to exchange with the general membership and more proactive advocacy.

The board also focused heavily on the impact our committees are having, actions taken in 2016 and the direction we wish to take the committees in 2017.

Advocacy Committee: BOD member Trudie Prior noted that, while association advocacy has improved, she feels we are more reactive than proactive. She said that we need to begin moving forward with suggestions and recommendations for the future. The board discussed ways to develop our voice in the legislature, and how to relay our efforts to members via the newsletter and internal presentations. Their goal is to use our resources to build relationships and work together on the key issues.

Education and Training Committee: Education and Training discussions proved to be a success as the board raised $5000 towards the scholarship fund during the meeting. Their goal is to raise $25,000 by Nov. They also discussed creating a board to oversee the scholarship fund efforts. In addition, they touched on public relations opportunities in regards to promoting University of the Virgin Islands graduates who now work in the tourism and hospitality industry. The committee also intends to enhance scholarship exposure. They discussed the importance of leaving ourselves open in scholarship bylaws to allocate funds for non-traditional scholarships. For training, board members discussed possibilities such as a cultural orientation for newcomers, supporting government initiatives on taxi training and more.

Environmental Committee: The board believes eco-schools present great opportunities for the community and discussed bringing in the Education and Training Committee to assist. They also discussed outreach in public schools and would like to distribute reusable bottles to all students with our logo. Additionally, members touched on sharing best practices for reducing and reusing, as well as partnering with programs to work on government recycling initiatives.

Membership Committee: The board discussed how the Membership Committee can better communicate the benefits of association membership, including using social media. The committee would like to see a 10 percent increase in membership this year and will hold monthly meetings to monitor the progress.

Tommy Star Committee: The Tommy Star Committee has set a goal to get more sponsors and nominees for 2017. They would like to increase both by 10 percent.

Furthermore, the board reviewed the association budget and the five year overview. They concluded that, if we want additional programs, the association needs more revenue, and brainstormed ways to increase funds. They also heard a presentation from the Department of Tourism concerning its 2017 marketing plan.

Event facilitator Lisa Chamely-Aqui, professional certified coach and principal at LCA Partnerships, LLC., said, “Not only were the members of the board of the St. Thomas / St. John Hotel and Tourism Association actively engaged during the course of their strategic retreat, but the service from the Ritz-Carlton ladies and gentlemen that day was also on point.”
“An obvious highlight was the breakout group who focused on the ‘Education’ Widely Important Goal (WIG), [and] who raised the roof and an extra $5000 within five minutes for their strategic project! For those of us lucky enough to work in paradise every day, the experience was simply inspired,” Chamely-Aqui added.