SHTA to increase involvement in CHTA Education Fund

The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) will intensify its activity regarding the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Association Education Fund over 2017. That was one of various opportunities the SHTA delegation will be taking advantage of through the Caribbean Society of Hospitality Association Executives (CSHAE) meeting, traditionally preceding the largest marketing event for the Caribbean, Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

Together with its Education board member Francio Guadeloupe of the University of St Maarten (USM) the SHTA team will look into how more young Sint Maarten promising hospitality professionals can apply for study financing grants at regional universities, especially for those who need it most.

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) offers scholarships and special assistance for the education of Caribbean tourism industry personnel and students pursuing tourism & hospitality careers. Since its inception in 1987, the fund contributed over $ 2 million in scholarships. Last year Ms. Caroline Nolasco from St. Maarten was granted a scholarship to attend The University of St. Martin for Hospitality Management.

The initiative aligns with the increasing ties of SHTA with Sint Maarten educational institutions to create a perfect match of Sint Maarten hospitality talent and job opportunities that the local hospitality sector can provide. This January, SHTA and NIPA signed an agreement to the same end, as did longstanding Crystal Pineapple Award Gala partner Milton Peters College / Sundial School seal its cooperation by joining the ranks of SHTA.

The initiative is an outcome of last week’s CSHAE meeting at the Bahamas, the CSHAE meetings traditionally precede the annual Caribbean Marketplace conference. SHTA represents Sint Maarten in the society of 32 Caribbean member state association executives. The two day meeting allows Executive Directors of national hospitality and trade associations to exchange experiences and ideas for a stronger regional tourism product and provides various trainings to further strengthen and improve the various national associations.

Over 2016, the Education Foundation provided for 28 scholarships to talents from across the Caribbean totaling to over US$130,000.00.

2016 applicants spent their scholarships were the University of the West Indies, Monroe College and Johnson & Wales University in the United States, amongst others. The Education Fund contributions come from corporate sponsorship as well as a silent auction of hotel stays offered at the annual New York Times Travel Show adding over US$100,000.00 to the fund.

Next to expanding education opportunities for St. Maarteners, SHTA used the CSHAE forum to discuss regional trends, AirBnB policies and their effects on small hotels, social media strategies and branding for the Caribbean worldwide.

The CSHAE conference as the prelude to Caribbean Travel Marketplace sees over 1000 delegates from the world of travel join in the largest travel show of the Caribbean.

Both CSHAE and Caribbean Travel Marketplace are organized by the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHTA) of which SHTA has been a longtime member and the Sint Maarten representative. Various SHTA hospitality and trade members represented their organizations alongside Sint Maarten government represented by former SHTA and CHTA chairman Minister Emil Lee (VSA), acting representative of Tourism for the conference, Marla Chemont of the Sint Maarten Tourist Board and Julian Lake of the Cabinet of the Minister of TEATT.

SHTA calls on possible Education Fund Grant candidates to make contact with us via of****@sh**.com, as applications will be reviewed in May and so it is urgent to prepare the application packages of candidates as soon as possible.