HomeResourcesSpeechesChairman Press Briefing April 2016


Welcome to members of the press. We are very happy to see you here and really to start a more cohesive programme of engaging with you and having opportunities to discuss topical industry matters. I think that we do a very good job at our Quarterly Meetings in bringing you up- to-date but the world is changing so quickly that it is important to make those sessions more frequent. We also get calls daily from you for updates on several issues and decided that we would dedicate some time once every other month to really sit down and interact with you, members of the media.

It is our intention to host these press briefings in a more intimate environment and to give you a chance to see some of our members and member properties that you may not know. We are happy to be here at Bayfield House and I think that for some of us, it is the first time here. Ten rooms, very intimate kind of environment, beautiful gardens - Barbados really prides itself on having a wide range of properties to suit every taste and certainly Bayfield House is one of the properties. It is also a property that would allow us the opportunity to show case the diversity of our membership.

Sixty-five years is a really long time for an organisation to be in existence and to be as vibrant as the BHTA has been over that period. I don’t think that our thrust for advocating for our members has ever changed. Certainly, now more so than ever, because we are facing some very tough economic challenges, the BHTA as an organisation recommits itself to Barbados and to ensuring we continue to help the Barbadian economy, the Barbadian citizen and our own businesses, as we try to build the kind of nation that we would want to work, play, enjoy and basically raise our children.

So the BHTA at 65 years has a number of activities planned. The first thing we are going to do is to start with our 65th Anniversary Church Service in the City at St. Mary’s Church on Sunday, June 11. The city is iconic in the role that it plays since this is one of the places, and very close to St. Mary’s Church, which had some of the original hotel plant. Diverse as we are, we have to remember where we started. We are in the process of finalising the details and we hope that the press will join us.

We then go on to our 65th Anniversary Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 14. We are doing something a little different with the AGM. A lot of our members complain that we start the AGM at 10 a.m., we have the formal portion and then we are there all day and can’t get back to the office.  We are actually going to start the AGM at 2:30/3:00 p.m. and spend the afternoon together and also encouraging the wider Barbadian population to join us. We are going to have an early dinner and really pay tribute to the persons who have been in the industry, like Mr. Ramsay, who has almost 50 years in the sector.

There are a number of other persons who have been in the industry for a long time – our past presidents, life time achievers, awardees and executive directors. Last evening we spoke of Nancy Tryhane who was the first secretary of the Association and would have preceded the title of Executive Director. It is important to note as well that the BHTA precedes the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). Once the BHA was formed, there was an urging and an encouragement that the Caribbean hotels and private sector should get together and thus the CHA was formed.  So we have played a significant role in the history, not only of Barbados’ tourism, but of the Caribbean tourism product. In this regard we also want to pay tribute to past Presidents of the BHTA that have gone onto be presidents of the CHTA. We also have Mrs. Patricia Dass in the ranks coming up to hopefully be president of that Association very soon as she is now Third Vice President.  There are also some employees in the industry that have been with us for a long time, and we want to pay tribute to those persons as well. We are bringing back some of the things that have perhaps been forgotten in terms of building the industry. We hope to engage with some of these persons who have been stalwarts and perhaps people would have forgotten the contribution that they made to pull the private sector together so that we could work hand in hand with the public sector in terms of making Barbados the destination that it has become.

We are also going to have a time to relax – we want to have a kick back event and will host a beach Olympic event which is going to be one of the most exciting things that we have done in terms of bringing out the wider BHTA family, children, spouses and people in the industry, competing in every aspect of beach activity.

We also have a number of other activities planned outside of the week as our celebration will be more than a week. We have a very exciting linkage project which we spoke about at the first culinary team lunch – a huge project the BHTA has been working on with the agricultural sector. We also have a very well renowned Barbadian chef Jason Howard slated for an initiative we will launch separately. We really have to give Jason Kudos for coming up with the concept where he will work with us to bring five top international chefs to Barbados.  These international chefs have not been here before and they will be going out to the farms to find local produce to cook to their international standards. This will showcase that Barbadian food and produce can stand up to food anywhere in the world. International chefs really want to use our local agricultural produce. We are really very pleased that Jason has allowed us to embrace this initiative and be able to run with it.

We will be having three pop-ups in early July at Daphne’s, The Crane Resort and Oceans Two, where the international chefs will bring the whole farm to table aspect to reality, working alongside our culinary team. At the end of the day we want to engage in a continuous effort of the culinary skills in Barbados. I think in the past we have done the culinary team as a once a year activity but we really recognize, and this came back from Chef Henderson Butcher very clearly, that it needs to be a year-long effort, because we have been able to impress the world with our culinary skills and it is one of the areas that we have to continue with. That linkage with the agricultural sector is basically going to continue through the pop ups and we hope to establish a membership programme with the local and international chefs - very exciting things happening there. This is a very good initiative for our BHTA membership also as we need to use more local stuff. We need to use what we are growing and hopefully through the full rollout of our MIF project, we will also be able to stream line and match demand and supply - hotel sector to agricultural sector. This project is still very much something that we are working on.

We also have a number of charitable efforts that we want to do as well and as I said we are going to be rolling out other activity throughout our 65th year. At the end of the day, today is an initiative that we needed to do because as you heard, when we did our media courtesy calls, we really need to spend more time telling the individual stories of the BHTA members.

This morning we had a very robust conversation with one member of the media, Mr. Hassle Springer, who is behind the camera and has more information on the genesis of the hotel sector than probably any of us and we really want to engage him. We were really talking about the bands from the old days and he could probably list all of them. Between himself and Mr. Ramsay, they could write their own history book. Joining us from the press also is Madame Gercine Carter who can finish off that history book.

I feel it is really a chance for us to reflect. Sixty-five years is a milestone. The BHTA started as the Hotel Association in 1952 with some very forward-thinking persons who we want to pay tribute to, who in those days not only pushed their own businesses, but an industry. Even in that time of the formal Barbados Tourism Authority, the then publicity committee recognized that the private sector had to get together to see how we could help ourselves. To see how we could advocate and shape the course of the industry. So the BHA in those days started and we want to pay tribute to those persons.

This lovely Bayfield House, run so beautifully by Mr. Ramsay and his family - ten rooms, beautiful gardens, a personal touch and it is not one that most people in Barbados are aware of and that’s our fault. We have to tell the stories. Mr. Ramsay has been in the business for 50 years or more. We have so many that are in that situation. When you look at the original list of the original Board that put the BHTA together. So these are the things that we can’t forget - the pioneers - but also one of the things we have to look at going forward and one of the things we have to get right.

So we want to be able to bring this session to allow for a robust question and answer in a little bit more intimate setting while showcasing these lovely properties that we have, that we really haven’t told the stories as well as we should.


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