The importance of working together and the importance of investing were stressed by Hugh Skerritt, Minister of Tourism for St. Kitts and Nevis and Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. He was speaking at the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association (AHTA) Annual General Meeting held at Paradise Cove on Wednesday, March 21. He said that the region must realise that complacency is not an option and in these times of uncertainty it is an opportunity to explore new possibilities. He also said that consumers are demanding more so it is a time to be creative. He stressed the importance of investing in marketing, people and infrastructure, “We simply must invest and re-invest,” he noted.
Skerritt pointed out that visitor expenditure helps all the citizens and the public and private sectors must work together. “We must work together as a destination and as a region,” he stressed, noting that now is the time for action.
Governor Alistair Harrison spoke of the importance of keeping crime low and told hoteliers to encourage their staff to report crime and cooperate with the police. He said that the economy is improving although gradually and everyone has to make the best of everything. He said that he and the Executive Council spend the majority of their time on tourism related issues.
Chief Minister Hubert Hughes welcomed Skerritt and Hugh Riley, Secretary General of the Caribbean Hotel Organization. He said that the tourism industry in Anguilla is seriously threatened and that Government has to take some harsh actions for the sake of the people.
Haydn Hughes, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Tourism, reported that meetings with the various sections of the AHTA have been very successful and these include villa owners, taxi drivers and ferry boat operators. He stressed the importance of having more funds for marketing and pledged the Government’s full support for the AHTA.
President of the AHTA, Sherille Hughes, gave a report of the year’s achievements (click for President's Report
). She said that the AHTA is a strong voice for its members who now total 151. She spoke of the work of the Executive Director, Gilda Gumbs-Samuel and the newsletters sent out regularly. She also mentioned the seven scholarships awarded to Anguillians and the successes of the culinary team. She thanked members for their support saying that a strong AHTA means a strong tourism community. “Tourism is Key,” she said, “let us treat it with the respect it deserves. Let us create an economically sound industry for the future of us all.”
Gumbs-Samuel said that it is important to embrace tourism and to ensure it maintains a high standard (click for Executive Director's Remarks
). She said that residents must learn how to reach visitor expectations. She said that she looks forward to the Master Plan results and thanked members for their support throughout the year.
Following the addresses an election was held for the Board of the AHTA. The new Board includes Sherille Hughes, Fred Thompson, Avon Carty, JoAsh Proctor, Delroy Lake, Trudy Nixon, Jeff David, Janine Edwards and Stephane Zaharia.