The Week at the SLHTA, February 1st, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2012  
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In This Issue
The Edge
St. Lucia Business Awards
Allen Chastanet
Viking Traders
Social Media Workshop
Treasure Bay Casino
Cruise to Run
48 Tickets to St. Lucia
Caribbean Travel Marketplace
Tourism for Tomorrow
IMF Project Growth
Treasure Bay Casino
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Romance Highlight 
the table on 
“The Edge”
Imagine starring into the eyes of your love while surrounded by still waters and the flickering light of Tikki torches. The Edge Restaurant, Bar & Sushi in Rodney Bay is known not just for it’s sophisticated cuisine but also for this popular table, which is situated right on the water’s edge. They’ve even taken away the railing in front of it, so you’ll feel as if you’re floating. Proposal anyone? Call 450-3343 to book.
Source: Tropical Traveller

The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) would like to congratulate Bay Gardens Resorts and Sandals Resorts International, two members who won outstanding awards at the recently concluded St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture’s fourth annual ‘St. Lucia Business Awards’.


Bay Gardens Resorts captured the award of ‘Marketing Excellence’ which is evident in their phenomenal social media presence The group’s Executive Director, Sanovnik Destang, accepted the award on behalf of Bay Gardens Resorts and thanked the entire team of Bay Gardens Resorts, as well as the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce. Destang also revealed that his secret to success was through a forward thinking marketing strategy heavily reliant on social media and other specifically targeted internet related marketing activities that have allowed this local company to reach an international audience at minimal costs with maximum returns.


Sandals Resorts Internationalemerged as the winner of ‘Human Resource Development Excellence’.Upon accepting the award, Matthew said, “This award tonight is really owned by the 1200 team members in St. Lucia and their commitment to implementing the principles that they have learnt from our Human Resource professionals. We place a high premium on HR Development as a medium of giving us the competitive edge. It’s not how many luxury rooms, gourmet restaurants or mega-pools we build- but it’s about how many champions we develop.”

Jamaica Hospitality Recognizes Allen Chastanet
The Jamaica Hospitality industry recognizes Allen Chastanet for his foresight and successful implementation of the Jazz Festival introduced in their country seventeen (17) years ago and which continues to this very day.  Mr. Chastanet also pioneered the St. Lucia Jazz Festival some twenty -two (22) years ago and his efforts benefitted both countries immensely.


“Jamaica has a strong musical lineage and I consider reggae to be Caribbean blues music. The Festival gave us an opportunity to bring in a more diverse line -up.”  Chastanet told the Observer recently. The St. Lucian says it took three months to organize the inaugural Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival which took place in October, 1996 at historic Rose Hall in Montego Bay. Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Toots and The Maytals and Ernie Ranglin were some of the Jamaican acts on the card.  Guitarists George Benson and Bunny Guy were among the overseas artistes.


At the time, Chastanet was Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Air Jamaica.  The main aim of the Jamaica Festival was to attract tourist to the country in what was a traditionally slow period for the leisure industry.  But it was not easy. “We never got the full support of hoteliers in Montego Bay, that was a big problem,” he said, “Despite the obstacles, people enjoyed themselves and we at Air Jamaica definitely saw the potential.”

IRS Regulation, Crippling Caribbean Businesses


According to the Nassau Guardian, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has flagged a potentially crippling development within the United States tax legislation and has brought to the urgent attention of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) the fact that US credit card companies have been mandated to implement an automatic 28% withholding fee unless the merchant receiving the payment is compliant with new Inland Revenue Service (IRS) regulations.


According to a BHTA notice to its members acquired by the Guardian: “If there is a discrepancy between the merchant’s TIN and associated legal name in the credit card processing company records and IRS records, or if the merchant does not provide TIN, the IRS now requires the processing company to withhold 28% of the merchant’s future payment credit card transactions until the issue is resolved,” the notice read. “The ‘back up withholding’ provision of the law went into effect for transactions on and after January 1, 2013.”


However, should all the credit card companies start implementing the withholding fees, restaurants, hotels, and other tourism attractions across the Caribbean who count on American visitors for much of their business could face serious cash flow restraints, plus the added problem of becoming IRS compliant.

Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival 2013

Sporting a new name complete with eye-catching logo and a redefined artistic direction, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia is gearing up to once again welcome the world, as it inaugurates the next chapter in the life of  the region’s most anticipated musical festival.

Now dubbed the ‘Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival’, the 13-day event is expected to attract thousands to the iconic and historic Pigeon Island National Landmark, where the bulk of the festival events will unfold. With its new infusion of arts, scores of artisans, entertainers and cultural enthusiasts will take centre stage at scenic vistas across the island.

The festival will open with much fanfare on April 30 at the ‘people’s auditorium’ – the Mindoo Phillip Park. The festival’s new listings of artistic activities that will incorporate Drama & Dance, Steel Pan, Spoken Words, Fashion Shows and other cultural extravaganzas will follow at key venues stretching from the northern town of Gros-Islet to Vieux Fort in the South.

Performances at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay on May 8 & 9 will feature Trinidadian born Trumpet player Etienne Charles; Cuban jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca; contemporary jazz bands from the French Antilles Fal Frettand electric guitarist The John Scofield Uberjam Band. Main stage activities at the Pigeon Island National Landmark will begin on Friday May 10, with performances from R&B multi-platinum American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor Ginuwine; Saint Lucian songwriter and producer ACE and the iconic American popular musicfamilygroup from Gary, Indiana The Jacksons.

Headlining the spanking new Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival is celebrated multiple Grammy-winner R&B mega star singer-songwriter, and record producer Robert Sylvester Kelly, more popularly known as R Kelly. Other musical hard-hitters include the legendary Ojays; acclaimed Caribbean maestro David Rudder, bandleader and mambo musician Tito Puente Jr.; celebrated guitarist and singer Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson and accomplished Senegalese-American hip-hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer Akon.

34 Years of Quality
From a love of baking recipes the innovator of the Viking brand Edwin Zephirin (Food Technologist) along with his wife Bonnie Zephirin (Sales & Marketing) started Viking Traders Ltd in January 1979.
The vision: ‘Produce Quality’, not just another product but to make it better. This idea gave birth to simply superb Caribbean food products utilizing local raw materials. They started very small in a 10ft x10ft room, one man, and one machine making Curry Powder.

The family worked very hard together with their community, with few resources at their disposal building the Viking brand. The neighbors, friends and local chefs were all part of testing the brand quality before the product was taken to the market. The Viking name grew more and more popular as the years went by so that with a simple mention of the name Viking, St. Lucians recognized quality condiments & spices.

The name ‘Viking’ signifies strength, invention, innovation which is the hallmark of the quality products we produce today. Viking has become a household name as it has stood the test of time. The increased demand for its products, locally, regionally and internationally has resulted in increased demand for local raw materials, therefore when you buy Viking you are purchasing a superior quality product supporting local farming communities and families thereby creating sustainable economic growth in the country and CARIFORUM.

The continuation of a successful venture is the result of determination, hard work and great staff. On this occasion we would like to express our fondest appreciation to all relevant stakeholders, for making it possible for this tradition to continue!

SLHTA’s Social Media Workshop

The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association held the first in its series of business development workshops titled “Introduction to Social Media” on Thursday 31st January 2013 at the SLHTA Office.  The workshop presenters included Kirk Elliot of Kirk Elliott Photography and Sanovnik Destang, Managing Director of Bay Gardens Resorts.

Information presented included the top 15 social media networking sites with particular focus on facebook, twitter and pinterest. Participants gained better understanding of how social media forums could be utilized to provide competitive advantages to small and medium sized firms and were cautioned against some of the common pitfalls many entrepreneurs make while attempting to use such forums.

Sanovnik Destang shared the secrets of how his property was able to position its brand and maximize returns on investments within a relatively short period of time.  Mr. Destang recently received the highest national award for marketing efforts in Saint Lucia last Saturday when Bay Gardens Resorts was awarded accolades at the St. Lucia 2013 Business Awards for Marketing Excellence. He attributes much of his brand’s success to his company’s social media presence.

Key points of interest which generated discussion included how to drive business back to your website, Facebook advertising strategies, the value of social media presence and trade secrets on maximizing returns on investment using social media forums, Google analytics,  Tripadvisor referrals, monitoring on line campaigns, effectively use etc.

Participants in attendance represented the following companies: Coco Palm Hotel; Bay Gardens Resorts; Ladera Resort; Barefoot Holidays; Windjammer Landing ; Rex Resort; Star Publishing; Ti Kaye Resort and Spa; Cox and Company

Cruise to Run Returns to St. Lucia

After a brief hiatus the Saint Lucia Tourist Board has again lent logistical support to Canadian based In-stride Productions in staging the 6th annual ‘Cruise To Run’.  The 2013 Saint Lucia leg of the regional sporting event, took place on Thursday, January 31, when Royal Caribbean’s cruise vessel ‘Adventures of the Seas’ dropped anchor at Port Castries. Approximately 200 disembarking passengers took to the streets of the capital Castries to participate in the fun event.

The race commenced at the Duty-Free Pointe Seraphine Shopping Complex perched on the city’s waterfront. Runners proceed along the John Compton Highway onto Nelson Mandela Drive, then up to Peninsular Road past the Vigie Beach and George Charles Airport and continue up to Beacon Road to the popular Vigie Lighthouse. Comprising athletes from Canada, the United States, Bermuda and England, the group ended the run back at the Duty Free Shopping Complex where some engaged in on-island tours and excursions before boarding.

This year’s event was held in honor of Cruise to Run founder Jerry Friesen, who pass away in 2012. Runners paid special tribute to the memory of Friesen, who was widely recognized as a true friend of Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean.

SLTB Assists British Airways

Quite a stir was created on Monday, January 28, 2013 at one of London’s busiest commuter train stations as the Saint Lucia Tourist Board joined UK flagship carrier British Airways in launching the airline’s biggest ever ticket giveaway-getaway from Gatwick Airport. The week-long promotion that featured Saint Lucia on its first day, offered lucky commuters passing through Victoria Station between the hours of 8am to 8pm, a chance of winning 48 pairs of flight tickets to simply Beautiful Saint Lucia – one every 15 minutes.

In order to be part of the unique promotion, commuters simply had to test their flight skills in an arcade-style flying game, specially built on the station’s main concourse. Those taking part were able to take the controls and ‘fly’ over Saint Lucia. The person with the highest score – and therefore deemed to have the most accurate flying skill – every 15 minutes won a pair of tickets to the beautiful island.

Jean-Marc Flambert, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Saint Lucia Tourist Board says, “We are delighted to have worked with British Airways on such a large scale consumer-direct promotion. Saint Lucia is an inspiring destination for so many and to see commuters excited by the chance to win tickets to a dream destination was fantastic. The flight simulator is a fun, interactive entry mechanic that tests people’s skills, allowing them to learn more about Saint Lucia and tapping into that competitive streak we all have.”

A video from the event can be viewed at 

Caribbean Travel Marketplace

The recently concluded Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2013 saw an increase in pre-scheduled business meetings between buyer and supplier companies with 12,476 appointments scheduled in advance which is 226 more appointments than the 2012 edition of the event. The event affords hotels and destinations of all sizes the opportunity to meet face-to-face with wholesalers selling Caribbean vacation travel over the course of two days of business meetings.

“Tour operators and wholesalers are often the first to feel shifts in demand for vacation products,” said Richard J. Doumeng, president of the Caribbean Travel and Tourism Association (CHTA), noting:  “If interest from buyers at Caribbean Travel Marketplace is any indication, things are definitely looking up for the region in 2013.”

Another positive highlight from Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the increase in international buyer interest with 22 countries represented, an increase of four more countries over 2012. Additionally, buyers from five new countries participated in the region’s premier marketing event including 15 companies from France as well as delegates from Belgium, China, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Switzerland.

Business meetings just prior to Caribbean Travel Marketplace resulted in the CHTA Board of Directors calling for the Heads of Government to hold a summit on tourism within the next six months.

WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow

The World Travel & Tourism Council has unveiled the twelve finalists for its 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global tourism industry, recognizing sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide. Finalists in four categories were selected, ranging from entire countries, to global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges.

The four categories for nominees include; Global Tourism Business, Conservation Award, Community Benefit Award and Destination Stewardship. In weeks to come, we will provide detail of the criteria of the categories and the nominees. Winners and finalists will be recognized during a Gala evening at the WTTC Global Summit, to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on April 9th-10th 2013.

IMF Project 3.6% Growth

As the Caribbean reels from the global economic crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that growth will “strengthen gradually” this year. Compared to 3% last year, the IMF projected a 3.6% growth in Latin America and the Caribbean this year. The IMF has noted that the recovery would be “slow” and urged that policies “address downside risks to bolster growth”.

The IMF said recovery in the United States “remains broadly on track,” with global growth projected to strengthen to 3.5% this year, from 3.2% in 2012 “a downward revision of just 0.1 percentage point compared with the October 2012. The report also says that “effective policies” have also helped support a modest growth pickup in some emerging market and developing economies, such as those in the Caribbean.

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