Berthia M. Parle, general manager of the Bay Gardens Hotel and the Bay Gardens Inn, in St. Lucia, took over the reins of the Caribbean Hotel Association during a special closing gala at the annual Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC) 2004, on June 16, 2004. This is the first time a woman rises to the presidency of the regional organisation. Upon assuming the post, Par le announced the members of her slate of officers and appointed regional vice presidents:
In her first remarks as CHA President, Parle stressed her intention to focus, with her team of volunteer leaders, on some of the key interventions that need to be undertaken from the perspective of the private sector to support the competitiveness, sustainability and managed growth of the region’s tourism industry into the medium and long term.
“Our industry is the platform for our regional economy, at present and into the foreseeable future, and during my tenure I will concentrate on establishing creative and lasting partnerships with the several regional and international bodies based in the Caribbeanin particular, to ensure that we consolidate and achieve maximum economic opportunity in tourism, moving forward,” she said.
Some of the priorities that the new regional President will address are advocacy and stronger relationships with the cruise and public sectors.
Parle ended her speech with a strong appeal to the members of the CHA, reminding them that her tenure will only be as effective as they allow it to be. “I have no wish to preside over an organization w here members are passive and asleep at the wheel,” she told members.
“We all need to stand up and be counted. We must be proactive in laying the foundation for positive change through constructive networking, dialogue and action, and be prepared to put out the resources required to be at the forefront of the change process,” she concluded.
Mrs. Parle was the recipient of Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award in 2003 and was named ‘One of the Most Powerful Women in Travel’ by Travel Agent Magazine.