Tourism has long been a central economic pillar of the economy of the British Virgin Islands. As H. Lavity Stoutt Community College continues to focus on the development of British Virgin Islanders in the workforce, a 3-year agreement with the BVI Tourist Board and Film Commission has been signed to develop the following initiatives:
training and development for tourism industry professionals.
• Provide certified training opportunities at a discounted rate for employees of the BVI Tourist Board.
• Collaborate on initiatives that will enhance the development of the tourism product.
• Explore opportunities for joint fundraising initiatives.
According to HLSCC President Dr. Richard Georges, “The college is widely viewed as a stepping stone to transfer to another college or university abroad to achieve a baccalaureate degree, however the fulfilment of the college’s mission is more than that. HLSCC provides lifelong learning and quality education for the people of the BVI. Where we can offer applicable skills to the workforce, we help to improve the performance of the territory in various sectors.” Dr. Georges strongly believes that the collaboration between the BVITB and the College will not only create a better product for the territory’s guests but enable BVIslanders to take more prominent roles within the industry.
With HLSCC having already developed relationships with certifying bodies such as AHLEI, (American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute), and the National Restaurant Association: ServSafe, and university partners like Johnson and Wales University, the marriage between the BVITB and HLSCC will undoubtedly be mutually beneficial.
Junior Minister for Tourism Hon. Sharie B. de Castro added that “In the midst of such uncertainty, initiatives such as this, bring much needed hope and light.”
Hon. de Castro applauded the government’s proactive nature as it relates to the COVID
-19 response in keeping residents’ safe. “We have to go a bit further and look at future- proofing of our people and seeing how best we can ensure persons interested in this area of tourism can receive the necessary training.”
Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board Mrs. Kenisha Sprauve expressed how delighted she was to be present and to witness the beginning of a fruitful alliance between the two entities. “This partnership is phenomenal, it’s a plus for the tourism industry in the BVI.”
Rhodni Skelton, Ag. Director of the BVITB, explained that the mandate of the BVI Tourist Board and Film Commission has always been to improve and market the product, however there were some limitations with resources. He went on to add that “Tapping into the already formidable partnerships that the HLSCC already has with various institutions makes the union between the two perfect.”
Dr. Georges commended the new HLSCC Hospitality and Culinary Director Mrs. Keshia Davis-Barnes for advancing the College’s mission in the area of tourism. The Culinary Institute at the Paraquita Bay campus sustained considerable structural and staffing challenges due to the passage of Hurricane Irma. Today, the building, cooking labs, and equipment at the Institute have been restored and are now complemented by a new energetic team. #