Berthia Parle has created Caribbean history by being the first woman elected President of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and the first St. Lucian crowned Caribbean Hotelier of the Year at the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC) in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic last month.
Parle, general manager of Bay Gardens Hotel in St. Lucia, won the accolades in recognition for her superior hotel management, as well as the ability, “to nurture the intricate elements that lay the foundations of success, not only for a specific property, but for the Caribbean hospitality industry at large.”
“Berthia is a role model for young hoteliers, an admired boss to her staff, and a respected peer among the members of the Caribbean Hotel Association,” said fellow hotelier and CHA President Simón Suárez of the Dominican Republic. “She also is the personification of Caribbean style.”
As President-elect, Mrs. Parle will spend the next 11 months preparing to assume her two-year term, which begins in June 2004.
Speaking on 1190 AM WLIB`s “Politics Live” this week, Parle who also is president of the St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association said: “I think I have done it for all small islands and the Caribbean in particular, not to mention the women of this region who for years have toiled and are trying to make a difference to ensure that all people benefit from this very vital industry.”
Parle said she is heartened by the number of young people in the Caribbean who are taking up tourism studies and investigating careers in the sector. “Tourism is no longer an expatriate industry and a number of students are now seeing that there are other careers within the industry, besides a waiter, housekeeper or maid. We now have hundreds of career opportunities. With the advent of technology, the Internet and Spa vacations, the industry is a lot much more attractive,” said Parle, who noted that indigenous West Indians are heading many tourism establishments across the Caribbean.
The dynamic businesswoman underscored that tourism is the Caribbean`s lifeline to economic and social development, and that meaningful linkages with other sectors, such as agriculture, arts and crafts, sports and entertainment should be comprehensively developed. “We must examine how we can all benefit and help one another to ensure that tourism really benefits the man on the street,” said Parle.
Berthia Parle joins the ranks of outstanding executives who have excelled in the Caribbean`s hospitality industry. Previous recipients of the Hotelier of the Year award were: Ike Cohen, Aruba (1978); Howard Hulford, Antigua (1979); George Myers, Bahamas (1980); Heinz E.W. Simonitsch, Jamaica (1981); Jag Mehta, Jamaica (1982); Osmund Kelsick, Antigua (1983); Lorette Resch, St. Thomas (1984); Richard Williams, Barbados (1985); Hugh Andrews, Puerto Rico (1986); Ken Kennedy, Jamaica (1987); Dick & Joyce Doumeng, St. Thomas, USVI (1988); Alfred Taylor, Barbados (1989); John Jefferis, Bermuda (1990); Royston Hopkin, Grenada (1991); Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Jamaica (1992); Betty Sperber, St. Croix, USVI (1993); John Issa, Jamaica (1994); Ralph Taylor, Barbados (1995); Ed Malone, Aruba (1996); Stephen Sawyer, Bahamas (1997); Frank Rainieri, Dominican Republic (1998); William Aguiton, Trinidad (1999); Peter Odle, Barbados (2000); Robert Sherman, Antigua (2001); and Ewald Biemans, Aruba (2002).