SAN JUAN, P.R.—Each year, September is recognized as World Tourism Month, culminating with the celebration of World Tourism Day on September 27. The Caribbean Hotel Assn. (CHA) will promote various activities throughout the region to commemorate the occasion, with special emphasis on the World Tourism Organization’s chosen theme for 2007, “Tourism opens doors for women,” in recognition of women’s impact on the growth and development of the tourism industry.
“The Caribbean tourism industry is blessed with a tremendous pool of strong, successful women, many of whom have climbed the career ladder one step at a time, purely on the strength of their drive and commitment,” says Barbadian hotelier and CHA President Peter J. Odle. “From those very special employees that make a stay memorable at a Caribbean hotel, to small hoteliers, executives of hotel chains, presidents and executives of national hotel associations, our Caribbean women have earned a distinguished place in the business of hospitality.”
CHA’s own organization reflects how the gender gap is being bridged in many critical areas, particularly human resource development; 75 percent of the scholarship winners from the CHA Educational Foundation in 2007 have been women. Likewise, the annual culinary competition, “Taste of the Caribbean,” has seen a substantial increase in the number of female chefs and bartenders competing and winning medals for their performance. Most recently, Trinidad and Tobago won the honor of 2007 National Team of the Year with a culinary team where three of the four chefs in the team were women: Keirha Forde, Sabrina Rosales, and Kathryn Anne Lander. Even operationally, CHA is proud to count on a team of female professionals at all staff levels, which make up two-thirds of its workforce.
On the leadership front, 45 percent of the executives of national hotel associations are women, while names such as Berthia Parle, MBE, president of CHA during the 2004-06 term and current chairwoman of the CHA Board of Directors; Sue Springer, president of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE); and the Hon. Aloun N’Dombet-Assamba, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, are considered synonymous with excellence.
CHA hopes to engage the support of national hotel associations and its members at the national level to celebrate women in tourism. The World Tourism Organization’s campaign theme for World Tourism Month and Day seeks to address the important role of tourism in creating economic opportunities and strengthening women’s economic capacity, as well as promoting women’s leadership.
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