Sixty years of history gives meaning to the private sector industry association known as the Bahamas Hotel Association which this week mark’s its anniversary culminating in a celebration ball on Friday at Atlantis where industry leaders will be joined by the Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, and other members and dignitaries.
Its accomplishments over the past six decades have made it a respected and influential voice in the tourism sector. Moving forward; the BHA is taking on a new name. Not to disassociate itself from the past; rather, to embrace a new vision of the future.
One word can describe the organization’s vision: partnership, a defining principle for all the association’s work. As the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), the industry organization is charting a new strategic direction, wholeheartedly embracing an inclusive vision of the tourism sector.
The significance of the organization, its past, and its broadening future role is being underscored by Prime Minister Perry Christie, who has issued a Proclamation commending the organization and declaring the week of November 25th as ‘Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association Week’.
“The success of the BHA has been through partnerships. Tourism is far reaching in its effect on economies, countries and industries. Adding the ‘T’ to the name allows the BHA to engage all of the stakeholders who assist in the guest experience,” said Stuart Bowe, President of the BHTA.
“We are very proud of the partnerships in our past, especially the ones with the Government, the Ministry of Tourism, Promotion Boards and tourism related stakeholders. We recognize that everyone who participates in the industry is vital to the overall customer experience,” said Mr. Bowe.
Through its allied membership, the BHTA has always reserved a space for tourism partners. In fact, the growth in allied membership has consistently outpaced hotel membership within the organization.
This year, allied members will elect their first Vice President who will sit on the Executive Committee in 2013; advocating for their interests in the organization’s governance.
“The Caribbean on the whole is moving in this direction, because of the expanding effect of adding allied members. It is a natural move considering our allied members are growing faster than others. It recognizes that the industry is far deeper than hotels. The broader membership – inclusive of airlines, ground transportation, tour operators, restaurants, wholesalers, insurance companies, credit unions, etc. – provides a greater voice when advocating on behalf of the industry,” said Mr. Bowe.
This coming Friday morning BHTA will also hold its 60th Annual General Meeting where it will unveil the organization’s new logo and also release a watershed document which chronicles the history of the organization and the industry.
“For the first time we will share the full story about BHA; it’s historical role, the range of activities it engages in, and how all that parallels with the development of our industry and our young nation. It’s fascinating and we believe will create a broader appreciation for the organization, its industry partners, the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders. It’s a tribute to the work of many in our nation who have built our industry”, adds Bowe.
Reflecting on the past is helping industry officials to better gauge its role in the future. Early in 2013 BHTA will embark on a strategic planning exercise which will chart a course for the organization over the next five to ten years.
“We must continue to change with the times as well as seek to change the times” states President Bowe. “I’m hoping that sixty years from now, the leaders then will look back at us and appreciate that, like our predecessors, we too have created new building blocks which would have propelled the industry and the nation to greater heights’, he adds.
All around, the BHTA feels confident about the future and proud of its past.
Executive Vice President
Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA)