More than 50 years ago, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association was established when the chamber merged with the territory’s hotel association.
Now, the non-profit organisation is planning a step back toward its origins.
In an effort to represent the tourism sector more efficiently, the BVICCHA announced plans this month to launch the new BVI Hotel and Tourism Association.
“The existence of a hotel association in the BVI will ensure that tourism stakeholders are better served by an organisation focused on all things hospitality and tourism in the BVI,” the BVICCHA stated in a March 1 press release. “The Chamber of Commerce will continue to focus on overarching issues such as the ease and cost of doing business, business training and development, and networking opportunities to empower business owners in an ever-changing global economic climate.”
Though the BVIHTA hasn’t officially launched, the chamber promised that an announcement and membership drives will come soon.
“More information about the rebranding of the BVICCHA will be rolled out in the coming weeks to members and the business community,” the release added.
Discussions about a reorganisation of the chamber began last year when the board of directors formed a working group “to explore the feasibility of establishing an organisation,” according to the release.
“The findings of the group confirmed that the hospitality industry stakeholders were resoundingly in favour of the initiative,” the release added. “A road map for the formation of a hotel and tourism association was produced, presented to the board of directors, and subsequently approved in December 2022.”
Former Tourism Director Sharon Flax-Brutus is serving as the interim president of the BVIHTA, while Shaina Smith-Archer remains chairwoman of the BVICCHA board.
“The BVIHTA will join a group of successful hotel and tourism associations around the Caribbean region whose directors have been pivotal in guiding the swift recovery of their tourism product post-pandemic,” Ms. Flax-Brutus stated in the release.
Ms. Smith-Archer said the plan will help the chamber better represent businesses.
“Across the region, chambers of commerce and hotel associations are separate entities that collaborate for the economic development of their countries, and here it would be no different,” she added. “Locally we work with the existing industry organisations on current advocacy concerns like workforce development, and we look forward to accomplishing much more with the BVIHTA.”