Fellow Hospitality and Tourism colleagues,
Best wishes for a productive and profitable 2022. Approximately two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our fair Helene continues to reel from its socio-economic, emotional and psychological shocks. We are not alone. Globally, first world countries, with resources far exceeding our collective regional budgets are also struggling to keep pace with the virus’ mutation and its demands on more advanced healthcare systems and economies. No one has been spared the wrath of COVID-19 and, by some professional accounts, we are years away from any sense of normalcy.
As an HTA we have sought alliances with local, regional and international organizations to bring members the very best ideas and practices to ensure effective reopening of their businesses and to foster profitable operations where possible. The results of these alliances were captured and shared with members at over 200 advocacy and lobbying meetings last year. This year, we aim to continue this support to you and to expand it whenever possible.
Your voice continues to be the most important source of counsel and guidance for our work. Together, we have crafted protocols, lobbied policy makers, negotiated trade deals and supported our team members and their communities every step of the way. The SLHTA Board of Directors and our Secretariat are proud of you for your unwavering support and for always answering our call to service. By these actions, you have demonstrated sound stewardship of your Hospitality and Tourism Association and have shown the wider private sector what is possible through collaboration. Our recent experiences have taught us that there are no substitutes for principle centered leadership and a collective will to be each other’s keeper.
We all look towards this new year with cautious optimism and hope. The international demand for destination Saint Lucia experiences was strong over the recent holiday season and remains robust over the first quarter of 2022. Notwithstanding the predictable implications of the new variant on business activity, our arrival figures were healthy and business volumes for many tourism services provider members were encouraging.
Our greatest challenge for the new year, will be our ability to co-exist productively and profitably alongside the pandemic. We at the HTA are confident that we can do it. After millions of dollars in protocol development, training of team members and recertification of tourism service providers, we are ready to operate safely, assuring visitors and team members alike that their safety is our number one priority.
Over the coming months the SLHTA will continue to add its voice to the discussions on all fronts. We celebrate numerous invitations to sit on many boards, councils, and advisory committees. Through these forums your voices will continue to be heard and your concerns made known. Now more than ever we must optimize the opportunities to influence policy and make our industry impactful in community development.
This year, we salute your boldness to invest, develop and grow our island’s economy. Tourism has always held the greatest comparative advantage to grow the fortunes of small island developing states. Now is one of those times in our history when we must step up to again prove the value of sustainable tourism and its regenerative power to heal. But we cannot do this without your continued help and support.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association, I wish each of you the very best for 2022 and look forward to our continued working relationship.