2004: A Transforming Year - Message from 2004 President Jeremy MacVean
The following message from outgoing President Jeremy MacVean is presented in BHA's Annual Report, released at the AGM, and presently being distributed to all members
The hospitality industry in The Bahamas is in the midst of unprecedented change. Global dynamics has changed the habits of the traveling public and the way we conduct business. Competition for the tourism dollar is fierce and continues to grow. Customers are more travel savvy and demand more options and seamless service.
In the midst of these changes, new development projects throughout The Bahamas will challenge our ability to ensure the human and physical infrastructure is in place to support the success of the industry.
Recognizing these dynamics, it has been a personal pledge during my Presidency to position the Bahamas Hotel Association to be a more effective advocate and activist for the industry.
Focus has been placed on raising the public profile of BHA, with the intention of increasing public awareness about the importance of the industry and advancing a unified industry voice on issues of importance.
Renewed emphasis has been placed on education and training. Underpinning our efforts to help close the gap between the low level basic skills which far too many high school leavers possess and the high level of skills which industry needs in increasing abundance, will be the results of a Hospitality Industry Human Resources Needs Assessment being undertaken by BHA and the Ministry of Tourism. This will be completed in early 2005 and, with industry support, educator receptivity, and political will, implementation of some of its key recommendations will help to shape the program and curriculum emphasis of our education institutions.
In 2004, we laid the groundwork for a new commitment by industry and education to work together. Several hundred educators and industry personnel participated in a series of workshops, seminars and internships aimed at creating a greater shared understanding of industry's and education's needs. This has laid the foundation for curriculum and program enhancements which our Tourism Task Force for Education will be working on in 2005.
Two key certification programs were launched this year aimed at helping to ensure that more industry personnel consistently provide a level of customer service at world-class standards. We are now positioned in 2005 for major expansion of the Caribcert Program administered by the School of Hospitality & Tourism Studies and BHA, and the AHLA-based certification program managed by the Ministry of Tourism.
Fulfilling its advocacy role, the BHA advanced industry's views and recommendations to Government on many issues, succeeding with some, while others continue to be a test to our resiliency.
This past year has seen BHA involved in a range of other activities and member services --- the highlights which are outlined throughout our Annual Report.
Of course, all that we do is not possible without the commitment and performance of our Executive Vice President and his team behind the scenes. I wish to thank Frank Comito, Ruth Rahming, and Latasha Allen for their support. It is my wish that as BHA improves its financial standing, it will be possible to bring on additional staff to support the organization's project work, particularly in education, training and environmental matters.
Core to our overall work is our commitment to work together --- with our members, our fellow business organizations, with the Ministry of Tourism and all relevant areas of Government, with multi-lateral organizations, overseas travel partners, and others --- to build a stronger, more productive and more profitable industry.
In that regard, it has been my great pleasure to serve as your President. I encourage all members to invest more of their time and talent to help make The Bahamas everything that it can be.