BHTA Meeting Gathers Key Industry Professionals And Public Sector Partners


The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) held its first board of directors and members meeting at the British Colonial Hilton on February 9, 2017.


Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu, Deputy Director General of Tourism Tommy Thompson, executives representing private sector partners, the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB), the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association, the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board, the Grand Bahama Island Tourist Board, Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), and directors and members inclusive of hotel owners and executives, airlines, attractions, transportation, destination management companies and supporting services allied companies were in attendance.

BHTA President Carlton Russell introduced the organization’s strategic goals and synergies for 2017, which included advocacy efforts, training and customer service initiatives and other workforce development collaborative efforts with education partners, the University of the Bahamas and the Ministry of Education. BHTA Executive Vice President Suzanne Pattusch updated attendees on events, activities and initiatives developed to support Bahamian culture and heritage. Directors and members provided feedback and reported on economic performance, anticipated outlook and concerns in the immediate and medium future.

Key presenter at the meeting, Robert “Sandy” Sands, senior vice-president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, updated members on the progress of Baha Mar as the development continues to engage private and public sector partners, the BHTA, NPIPB, NAD and the Ministry of Tourism, and as varying aspects of the development prepare to come online.

Michael Reckley, executive vice president of the Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers Association (BHEA), gave members an update on the proposed amendments to the Employment Act 2001 and the implementation of universal healthcare/National Health Insurance (NHI) based on recent meetings with representatives from the NHI Secretariat, KPMG and BHTA/BHEA executives.

Vernice Walkine, CEO of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), presented on achievements attained at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) and provided insight into varying initiatives designed to improve the passenger experience at LPIA.

Dr. Rodney Smith, president of the University of The Bahamas, gave a comprehensive presentation on the university and its vision and goals for the immediate future. Dr. Smith encouraged continued, meaningful engagement with industry representatives through the BHTA and private sector stakeholders.

The BHTA has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with education partners such as the University of The Bahamas and the Ministry of Education as the organization recognizes the health and well-being of the nation’s tourism economy is dependent on its ability to consistently produce a workforce equipped with the skillsets, attitude and aptitude necessary to flourish in an ever-increasingly competitive global market.

The Nassau Guardian
February 16, 2017


Pictured from left to right; Robert “Sandy” Sands, Sr Vice President, External Affairs, Baha Mar; Carlton Russell, President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; George Myers, Lifetime Director of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Tommy Thompson, Deputy Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Fred Lounsberry, CEO Nassau, Paradise Island Promotion Board.

Pictured from left to right, Jackie Carrol, Vice President Grand Bahama; Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. Dr. Rodney Smith, President of the University of the Bahamas, Carlton Russell, President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Joy Jibrilu, Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Vernice Walkine, Vice President, Allied Members, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, Tommy Thompson, Deputy Director General, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.