SHTA to increase involvement in the CHTA Education Fund

PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) said on Thursday that it will intensify its activity regarding the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHTA) Education Fund in 2017.

This was one of various opportunities SHTA’s delegation will be taking advantage of through the Caribbean Society of Hospitality Association Executives (CSHAE) meeting, traditionally preceding the largest marketing event for the Caribbean, Caribbean Travel Marketplace.

Together with its education board member Dr. Francio Guadeloupe of the University of St Martin (USM), the SHTA team will look into how more young promising St. Maarten hospitality professionals can apply for study financing grants at regional universities, especially for those who need it most.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF) offers scholarships and special assistance for the education of Caribbean tourism industry personnel and students pursuing tourism and hospitality careers. Since its inception in 1987, the fund contributed more than US $2 million in scholarships. Last year Caroline Nolasco from St. Maarten was granted a scholarship to attend USM to study Hospitality Management.

The initiative aligns with the increasing ties of SHTA with St. Maarten educational institutions to create a perfect match of St. Maarten hospitality talent and job opportunities that the local hospitality sector can provide, SHTA said in a press release.

This January, SHTA and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) signed an agreement to the same end, as did longstanding Crystal Pineapple Award Gala partner Milton Peters College (MPC)/Sundial School; which sealed its cooperation by joining the ranks of SHTA.

The initiative is an outcome of last week’s CSHAE meeting in the Bahamas; the CSHAE meetings traditionally precede the annual Caribbean Marketplace conference. SHTA represents St. Maarten in the society of 32 Caribbean member state association executives. The two-day meeting allows executive directors of national hospitality and trade associations to exchange experiences and ideas for a stronger regional tourism product and provides various trainings to further strengthen and improve the various national associations.

In 2016, the Education Foundation provided for 28 scholarships to talents from across the Caribbean totalling more than US $130,000. Last year, applicants spent their scholarships at University of the West Indies, Monroe College and Johnson and Wales University in the United States, amongst other institutions. The Education Fund contributions come from corporate sponsorship as well as a silent auction of hotel stays offered at the annual New York Times Travel Show adding more than US $100,000 to the fund.

Next to expanding education opportunities for St. Maarteners, SHTA used the CSHAE forum to discuss regional trends, AirBnB policies and their effects on small hotels, social media strategies and branding for the Caribbean worldwide, the release said.

The CSHAE conference as the prelude to Caribbean Travel Marketplace sees more than 1,000 delegates from the world of travel join in the largest travel show of the Caribbean.

Both CSHAE and Caribbean Travel Marketplace are organised by the CHTA of which SHTA has been a long-time member. Various SHTA hospitality and trade members represented their organisations alongside St. Maarten Government, represented by former SHTA and CHTA chairman Minister Emil Lee, acting representative of tourism for the conference, Marla Chemont of the St. Maarten Tourist Board and Julian Lake from the Cabinet of the Minister of TEATT.

SHTA calls on possible education fund grant candidates to make contact with them via email:, as applications will be reviewed in May and so it is “urgent” to prepare the application packages of candidates as soon as possible, SHTA said.

Source: The Daily Herald