$65k Awarded In Tourism Scholarships

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Two of the Bahamas Hotel Association’s (BHA) partners in developing the tourism industry’s talent pool awarded $65,000 in scholarships to 13 students pursuing a variety of tourism-related career paths yesterday.

The presentations were made at a special ceremony during the BHA’s bi-monthly board meeting, held at Graycliff’s Humidor Restaurant.  Teaming up with the BHA for the scholarship awards were the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) and The College of The Bahamas (COB).

Representing Minister of Education Desmond Bannister, that ministry’s Permanent Secretary Elma Garraway said no longer do students view the tourism industry as viable only for unskilled workers.  Today, she said, with over 100 career paths available of which 20 percent are in management, the industry is providing well-compensated and prestigious jobs for top-achieving Bahamians.

“The evidence shows any Bahamians today can find their niche in Tourism; they can find prosperity and they can earn respect at the national level as other professionals,” Garraway said.

Including yesterday’s presentation, the BHA has presented 81 scholarships over the last six years, valued at $287,000, according to Garraway.

The CHTAEF scholarships had a combined value of $50,000, with Alexis Hanna this year receiving an extension of last year’s CHTAEF scholarship.  The other recipients were first time awardees.

CHTAEF scholarships were awarded to culinary arts students Arianne Braynen, Alicia Green, Alexis Hanna, Volanda Rahming and Ivana Smith for studies at Johnson & Wales University; Denez Moss for studies at the Culinary Institute of America; and Leslie Lopez for studies at Florida International University.

Six students received scholarships for matriculation at COB.  Named after Pat S. Bain, the noted union leader who collaborated with the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association (BHEA) and others to improve education opportunities for industry participants – the COB scholarships have a total value of $15,000.

Two of the recipients, Tarran Simms and Heidi Pluntke, are pursuing tourism management degrees under COB’s small-island sustainable tourism program.  Dawn Ferguson is pursing a major in accounting/finance, while Denika Nottage and Jasmine Forbes are culinary arts majors.  Aiming to add Mandarin and about four other languages to her English and Spanish proficiencies, Winnae Hunt is pursuing a linguistics degree.

The CHTAEF was represented by Board Trustee Jim Weitkamp.  Established in 1987, the CHTAEF is an independent non-profit organization offering scholarships and special assistance for Caribbean tourism industry participants and students pursuing industry specific careers.

Last year the CHTAEF received 91 complete applications from 18 Caribbean countries, this past May selecting 42 awardees and granting a total of US$140,000.

In many jurisdictions, donations to the CHTAEF have tax-exempt status.

The Nasau Guardian