Following the productive rounds of discussions that took place during the recent Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference, CHIC 2003, the leadership of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) has announced that beginning this month, the organisation will undergo a thorough examination of its products and services, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing CHA into a more relevant body in this era of global tourism concerns.
“The driving themes I put forward when assuming the presidency of CHA are unity, ingenuity, and diversity,” said CHA President Simón Suárez. “The leadership meetings that took place in conjunction with our annual conference, as well as the conference itself, truly embodied those three principles. More importantly, however, the proceedings at CHIC underscored the need to infuse CHA`s product with these values. The consensus among conference attendees was that CHA must examine its programs and services in light of these principles. It was very encouraging to see our members and leadership display such degree of commitment to their association,” he commented.
The process began with the development of a strategic plan with help of a group of the volunteer leader members. The document that resulted from the two-day brainstorming exercise last April in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, was presented at the meetings of the CHA standing committees, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors, held in conjunction with CHIC 2003. Advocacy and research are the main thrusts of the new strategic plan, which also places a strong emphasis on the renewal of the organisation to better serve its diverse membership.
“The Caribbean hotel sector is not the same today as it was in 1962, when CHA was founded - and neither is the business climate,” explained Richard Doumeng Jr., an active St. Thomas small hotelier who serves as CHA`s 5th Vice President and Chairman of the Membership Committee, in reference to the strategic plan. “We intend to take a good, hard look at the broad range of programs and services that CHA currently offers, from the ground up, and determine whether each is valuable, needs updating, or no longer serves a practical purpose. We expect to end up with an product that is relevant in every sense and indispensable to the Caribbean hotel sector - small and large properties; chains, franchises, all-inclusive, and timesharing; Spanish, English, French, and Dutch alike,” he concluded.
Another issue that the CHA leadership and staff will address is branding. After the necessary assessment of CHA programs and services, which must include the rationalisation of the linkages between CHA and its environmental, culinary, and human resource development divisions, the next phase is the development of an effective branding program to re-position the organisation and divisions within the membership, the tourism industry, the regional community, and the governments.
CHA President Simón Suárez and the Officers of the CHA
Executive Committee will kick start the process with a steering meeting on Friday, August 8th, at the CHA office in San Juan. The CHA Officers are: Berthia Parle, St. Lucia; 1st Vice President and President-Elect; Peter Odle, Barbados, 2nd Vice President; Gabriel Escalante, Mexico, 3rd Vice President; Robert Sherman, Antigua, 4th Vice President; and Richard Doumeng, St. Thomas, USVI, 5th Vice President.
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