The AHTA membership year 2010-2011 saw the continuation of the recession in Anguilla and the Association, like many of our members, faced considerable financial and operational challenges. However, despite the increasing cost of doing business in Anguilla, a considerably depleted Destination Marketing Budget and unrecovered visitor arrivals the AHTA continued to be strongly supported by its membership. We are extremely proud that our membership has continued to pay their membership dues and support us in kind when asked. This year proves once again that the AHTA is an integral part of the Hospitality Industry in Anguilla and a strong, concerned and effective voice for our members.
A decision was taken to retool our membership list for the purpose of removing those companies which are no longer in operation, or those who have been consistently delinquent in the payment of their dues, so as to generate a more realistic picture of the state of our membership. That being said, I am pleased to report a total of 151 bona fide members for the year under review, and despite our challenges – and we know there were many during this period - we concluded the 2010-2011 financial year with a positive bank balance of US$19,843.64.
Allow me the opportunity to share with you some of our more notable achievements for 2010-2011.
SUMMARY OF ACHIEVEMENTS
The following outlines the key achievements for the Association in 2010-2011:
- The AHTA strengthened its relationship with the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) and the Ministry of Tourism and continues to play an integral role in supporting, promoting and marketing all aspects of Anguilla’s Tourism industry through activities such as the Tourism is Key Campaign, Anguilla Smile, the reintroduction of the Hello Tourist Programme, the creation of a new Anguilla Visitor Survey (with Melinda Goddard of ClienTell Consulting) as well as membership on both the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Marketing Alliance of Anguilla.
- Despite the slow economy, we attracted 7 new members into the Association – giving us a total number of 151. These range from large and mid - size accommodations, international companies, and smaller businesses serving the Tourism Community in all membership segments.
- Our major role continues to be to represent membership on their most important issues and lobby Government on their behalf. This year we have been extremely active in this area. At the request of our membership we successfully lobbied the Government to get the proposed 10% tax on Restaurants and Car Rentals dropped. We also called a special Tourism Forum meeting, which was held at Paradise Cove - to openly discuss what was called “a crisis in Anguilla’s tourism” ie - decreased visitor arrivals, product development and a range of destination marketing challenges - such as lack of marketing budget, poor access, increased operational costs and taxation and other issues like price cutting and rate integrity by the luxury market. This positive, working meeting resulted in a set of marketing ideas and recommendations being submitted to the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Government of Anguilla - we are pleased to see that already some of these recommendations - such as appointing a new Public Relations company - have been implemented.
- We also worked alongside the ATB to canvas local opinion and lobby on other important issues - such as the introduction of Beach Vending, Jet skis and Gambling/Slot machines.
- We have implemented a Monthly General Manager’s Luncheon. These working lunches allow topical issues to be raised and discussed thoroughly. They have significantly assisted in formulating policy decisions for the AHTA and have been instrumental in identifying challenges and threats in the tourism community.
- We sent out over 175 ‘installments’ of our regular email newsletter - AHTA Membership News - and improved the regularity of timely news blasts and press releases, confirming the AHTA as the definitive source for tourism news and promotions in Anguilla. New and popular additions to our email communications include a daily weather forecast release, which has become a very popular service to our accommodation members and their guests.
- Despite losing our part time Membership and Events Manager in May 2011 we continued to work hard to improve service to our membership. We re-organised the office and installed a new computer for the Executive Director - allowing for more efficient communication and integration with essential software packages. We applaud you our partners in the industry for your invaluable contributions, in the form of room nights, for the fund-raising auction of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Fund (CHTAEF). Not only did our members feature prominently amongst the many vacation experiences up for bid, but seven of the scholarships funded through this process were awarded to Anguillian tourism professionals.
- We overcame the challenge of drastically reduced funding for the Anguilla National Culinary Team by holding a series of extremely successful fundraising events - which allowed our team to compete. Due to outstanding support from our membership we raised a very significant portion of the money needed to compete and our sincere thanks go out to the following: Merchants Market who came on board for the first time as the supplier of the product for the many practice sessions. Viceroy Resort and Spa, Anguilla who organized and hosted a fabulous event - Meet the Chefs - which raised an enormous $7,000. Also, Ripples Restaurant also hosted fundraising activities which generated a further $3,200.00. We would also like to thank the Anguilla Tourist Board for their donation of $10,000.00 Our Chefs continued Anguilla’s proud tradition in the Taste of the Caribbean Competition by bringing home medals in every category. Our team won an overall Silver Medal in Team of the Year category, and special commendation must go to Mr. Lester Gumbs of CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa, who captured the overall gold medal for Best Seafood Chef in the Caribbean and Justin Hughes of Cap Juluca Resort for winning a gold medal in the individual Chef of the Year Competition.
- 2010/2011 continued to be a phenomenal year for Anguillas’ culinary heritage as the 2009 Caribbean Chef of the Year – Anguilla’s very own Glendon Carty - was inducted into the CHTA’s Hall of Fame. Later that year Chef Glendon was honoured to be selected as Anguilla’s representative at the Trinidad & Tobago Food Festival in October 2011, where he, and Chef Lester Gumbs, who accompanied him, did not fail to impress and enthrall the audience with their superlative cooking skills and their sense of enthusiasm, camaraderie and great teamwork.
- We continued our partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Anguilla Tourist Board in organizing Tourism Week and raised the bar with the largest and most well attended Tourism Gala to date - held at Viceroy Resort and Spa, Anguilla.
- We maintained a strong presence in the local and regional press, attending and holding press briefings; circulating press releases and conducting interviews for the newpapers, radio stations and TV channels.
- The AHTA Executive Director continues to play an essential role on many national committees - representing the membership and disseminating information. These include the National Disaster Management Team, The Energy Committee, the Investment Committee, the Anguilla Day Celebration Committee, The Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Association and The Anguilla Chamber of Commerce.
- We continue to maintain a close relationship with the Royal Anguilla Police Force by attending quarterly meetings with the Commissioner and his team.
- We remain active participants in the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) - attending regional events such as CHTA Board and Executive Meetings, Caribbean Marketplace and the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE). I have the honor of being re-elected 3rd Vice President on the CHTA Board – Fred Thompson continues as our second representative on this Board of Directors, and, Gilda has, this year 2012, been elected Vice President of the CSHAE Board of Directors.
- Thanks to the generous donations of our membership we have been able to re-establish the Anguilla Auction Site - and raise a total of US$1,875.00 for the AHTA from visitors to Anguilla who bid for the donated hotel stays and restaurant packages. This has significantly contributed to the financial stability of the Association.
- We have upgraded and improved our website with news of campaigns and initiatives.
- We continue to respect and uphold Anguilla’s Cultural Heritage in a number of ways. We organized an event for the elderly of Anguilla to view David Carty’s award winning Boat Racing Documentary, “Nuttin Bafflin”, generously hosted by Cusinart Resort and Spa. We continued to work with the Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Association on the establishment of the Anguilla Heritage Trail.
- We played an integral role in the annual Green-up Anguilla - island wide clean up activity.
- And finally we sent out over 4,000 emails, attended more than 73 meetings, issued more than 60 press releases and generated a vast amount of promotional news in the Anguillan, The Light, St. Maarten Herald and other local media outlets.
In spite of the continued hardship facing our community, we were productive in signing 7 new members to the AHTA for the 2010-2011 membership year.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the following establishments to our Association:
- Anguilla Beaches
- Carib Web Services –St. Maartin
- Country Cottage
- Dolce Vita Restaurant
- Malakh Day Spa
- Richardson Car Rental
- Rainbow Isle Escape
This brings our total membership to 151: Accommodation Members - 99; Allied Members - 26 Villa Members - 26.
MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES
Whilst the overall responsibility of destination marketing remains the remit of the ATB, the AHTA coordinated several promotional opportunities for its members in 2010-2011.
AHTA Official Web Site
The AHTA website entered its seventh year of operation in the capable hands of Bob Powers of Compass Consulting Group, Inc, as our web master. The site is linked to the popular Anguilla Guide (www.anguillaguide.com). AHTA’s official site offers AHTA members many opportunities. All AHTA members are listed on the website.
We would like to sincerely thank Mr. Bob Powers who works tirelessly on the AHTA web site, in keeping it updated with new member’s information, press releases, and the auction site.
The Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association established a Face Book Page, and is now in conversation with Mr. Bob Powers in regards to the benefit of establishing a Twitter account.
Membership Newsletter and Monthly Briefings
Still recognized as the premier distribution outlet for on-island promotions the AHTA Membership News takes the form of a regular email newsletter which also contains edited snippets of information that have been passed on to the Association to be circulated to the membership. In 2011 the weekly newsletters took on a new look, as we added a CHTA section, providing the membership with relevant and updated news and messages from this organization. We also added regional and international news and short press releases, and more recently a weekend recipe for the Friday issue of the newsletter. The newsletter was also increased in size, and the weekly motivation line, continues to be extremely popular with our members. This format has increased regular communication with members and has garnered a lot of positive feedback. In addition we are keeping membership updated on the regular committee and policy meetings attended by the Executive Director on the Associations’ behalf via focused subject briefings.
Feedback from our membership, dictated that re-introducing this magazine for the 2012 season was not feasible due to the financial downturn. The AHTA Board believe that Absolutely Anguilla is an important part of Anguilla’s marketing mix and have agreed that the AHTA will maintain its position as the publisher of Anguilla’s ‘on island’ book. Therefore we have decided to revisit the idea in 2012/13 - in the hope that it will be economically feasible to re-introduce Absolutely Anguilla for 2014.
Anguilla Travel Planner Support
Due to financial constraints the Planner was not produced by the ATB this year.
We continued our popular auction on the website, and this afforded us greatly needed funds which allowed us to continue our work. Our thanks to the following members who donated items that we successfully auctioned this year:
Anguilla National Culinary Team
- Straw Hat Restaurant
- Davida’s Restaurant
- Cap Juluca Resort and Spa
- Veya Restaurant
- Anguilla Great House
- Viceroy Anguilla/Aleta Restaurant
- Carimar Beach Club
- Susan Croft Photography
- The Pumphouse Restaurant
- Paradise Cove Resort
After suffering a major setback because of lack of funding in 2010, The Anguilla National Culinary Team was successful in raising funds and gaining support from the ATB, to attend Taste of the Caribbean in 2011.
The team captured a number of medals - including an overall silver medal in the Team of the Year Competition, a gold medal in the Individual Caribbean Chef of the Year Competition for Mr. Justin Hughes of Cap Juluca Resort; a gold medal for Best Chef cooking Seafood in the Caribbean for Mr. Lester Gumbs of Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa. Jordel Gumbs, and Darren Connor of Viceroy Resort and Spa, Anguilla, were both awarded a silver medal for individual competition cooking in the beef category, while first time competitor Taffy Hodge, also from Viceroy Resort and Spa, Anguilla, captured a silver medal for competing in the bartending competition.
The Culinary team is again preparing to attend the competition, scheduled for June 17 - 24th 2012 in Miami, Florida.
The AHTA partnered with the ATB and the Ministry of Tourism to organize 2011’s Tourism Week activities which took place from November 29th to December 4th, 2011 . The Theme was, “The Anguilla Experience, Re-Establishing the Pillars of Excellence: Product, Positioning, People and Partnerships”.
Tourism Gala and Industry Awards
Some 156 people attended the 30 th annual Tourism Gala held at the beautiful Coba Restaurant at Viceroy Anguilla on Friday December 4th. The event featured live music from the ever popular Boss and the Horsepower Band, and featured many generously donated door prizes.
Hotelier of the Year: Cathy Haskins, Shoal Bay Villas
Airport Employee of the Year: Debra Connor
Seaport Employee of the Year: Margaret Reid
Allied Member of the Year: Melinda Goddard, ClienTell Consulting
Pioneer Awards of the Year: Amelia Vanterpool-Kubisch and Jack Wigley
Supervisor of the Year: Susan Brooks, Frangipani
Employee of the Year: Travis Simpson, Viceroy Resort and Spa
Restaurant of the Year: JoAsh Proctor and Denise Carr, Sand Bar
Villa Member of the Year: Island Dream Properties, Jackie Pascher,
The Ministry of Tourism, Anguilla Tourist Board and the AHTA would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the following who all contributed to the success of the event.
LIST OF SPONSORS
Scotia Bank of Anguilla
National Bank of Anguilla
Caribbean Commercial Bank
First Caribbean International Bank
Cap Juluca Hotel
Grands Vins De France
Anguilla Air Express
Special thanks to our prize donors and supporters, which continue to be far too many to mention.
ADVOCACY, GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY RELATIONS
The AHTA continued to enjoy a close working relationship with many industry partners in 2010-2011, including the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB), the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE), the Government of Anguilla, The Royal Anguilla Police Force, The Governor’s Office, the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry, The Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Anguilla Community College, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Export Development Unit, and the Anguilla Council for Women Genders Affair, The Department of Disaster Management, The Anguilla National Trust and, Renewable Energy Committee, and the Investment Committee.
The AHTA, organized a day forum – at which Membership and invited guests frankly addressed and identified the many issues surrounding the industry - paying particular attention to marketing, advertising, web services, training of human resources, customer service and access. A detailed report which clearly set out recommendations from this meeting was presented to the Government of Anguilla and the Anguilla Tourist Board for consideration and discussion.
In addition the AHTA also lobbied the government on the following:
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
- Proposed Restaurant and Car Rentals Tax
- Beach Vending
- Introduction of JetSkis
- Introduction of Gambling/Slot
As one of the 36 national hotel associations in the region, the AHTA has gained a closer working relationship with our regional organization the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in 2010/11. Through its affiliation with the CHTA, the AHTA also enjoys automatic membership in the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA) and reciprocal status with the American Hotel and Motel Association (AHMA).
We continue to be pro- active and attend most of the conferences, board meetings and other activities and events that are organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, and to ensure that Anguilla has a voice in important regional matters.
As part of the AHTA’s other ongoing regional representations the AHTA’s Executive Director maintains and enjoys membership in the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executive (CSHAE) in 2010-2011, which provides important networking and consultation opportunities on both the regional and international levels.
I continued in my board role as 3rd Vice President for CHTA Board of Directors. Also on the CHTA Board is Past Board of Director and Manager of Carimar Beach Club, Mr. Fred Thompson. In this capacity I have attended several meetings and have represented Anguilla and other small island states interests in discussions. Anguilla continues to be one of the stronger of the small members of the CHTA.
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF)
Anguillian Hospitality Professions were granted scholarships from CHTAEF - the most we have ever achieved and the second highest amount for any island. The Fund raises money from Sponsors and by auctioning off donated hotel room nights at a Silent Auction at the New York Times Travel Show. We thank the following hotels who generously donated room nights and gave our local staff the chance to win a scholarship.
Anacaona Boutique Resort
Cap Juluca Resort
Anguilla Great House
Carimar Beach Club
Paradise Cove Resort
Malliouhana Resort and Spa
Shoal Bay Villas
The recipients were presented with their scholarships at an Award Ceremony in August - which was attended by CHTAEF representative Ms. Janet Musi.
I would at this stage like to point out an important administrative fact - we are changing the dates of our financial year.
The 2012 membership year will run from April 1st to 31st December 2012. The 2013 membership year will run from January 1st 2013 to 31st December 2013.
The good news is that you have a smaller amount of membership dues to pay this year - dues owed for 2012 will be for only 9 months (to cover the period of 1st April to 31st December 2012). Dues for 2013 will be issued in January 2013.
I want to thank you all for continuing to support the AHTA. I am sure you will agree that this small team - headed up by our energetic and committed Executive Director, Gilda Gumbs- Samuel has had some big achievements this year. I would also like to thank the other Board members for their time and commitment to the Association over the year and say thank you to our colleagues in the Anguilla Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism for working so productively with us.
Most importantly - I want to thank you - the membership - for sticking with us through the last few financially challenging years. The cost of doing business here is hurting us all. Big or small, local or expat - we all have electricity bills to pay and rising costs to deal with. But I hope you agree that your membership dues go a long way and that membership of the AHTA is a necessary line item for your business.
A strong AHTA means a strong tourism community. Only by having a strong tourism community will Anguilla weather this storm.
As we say in our joint campaign with the ATB - “Tourism is key - let us treat it with the respect that it deserves” - let us make sure our voice as the leading industry in Anguilla is heard, let us stay strong and respect this wonderful island, its people, its assets, what it stands for. Let us create a sustainable and economically sound future for us all.
Help us represent you better. Please make sure you let us know if there are issues or actions you think we should tackle on your behalf - pick up the phone or email Gilda, myself or any of the Board members
- This is your association - we work for you.