The all-female crew, representing a range of departments at the locally owned and operated business, includes Marketing Manager Yatsuri Marshall; Nicol Alexander, Weddings and Events Manager; Reservations Manager Anice O'Neil; and Laudra Maurille-Willie, Human Resources Manager.
This inaugural program, launched by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), is designed to allow motivated industry professionals to engage with industry leaders in discussions and learning opportunities.
As well as attending events at CHIEF, the pioneers will take part in a Springboard Caribbean-led training session and a mentorship breakfast. As well as being given special recognition as the inaugural class at CHTA's Annual General Meeting, beyond the conference the young professionals will later join in quarterly discussions on leadership and industry topics, and benefit from annual training and mentorship from industry leaders.
With justified pride, Sanovnik Destang, Executive Director of Bay Gardens Resorts, commented: "This recognition by the region's leading travel and tourism trade organization speaks volumes about the top class St. Lucian leadership team we have developed and retained at Bay Gardens." He added: "We are exceptionally proud of these incredible ladies as they prepare to join two additional female managers already confirmed to attend CHIEF this year."
Destang also revealed that Bay Gardens Resorts is shortlisted as one of the region's finalists in the CHIEF Awards Environmental Sustainability category, with the overall winner to be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, June 21.
Bay Gardens Resorts is St. Lucia's largest locally owned hotel chain and has incorporated sustainability into its initiatives for its entire 25 years. Its long-standing sustainable practices include linen reuse programs, solar water heating and local ingredient usage.
"In recent years, the continuing effects of climate change and global warming have made us realize that Bay Gardens Resorts can play an even bigger role in promoting sustainable tourism," Destang commented.
Initiatives the brand has recently undertaken include phasing out single-use plastics and Styrofoam throughout the properties, replacing them with biodegradable items made from wood, paper, compostable plastic and sugar cane bagasse. Bay Gardens also installed GEM Link occupancy sensors in all guestrooms, reducing energy usage by 20 percent per occupied room.
However, success is measured not just in reducing its waste and carbon footprint but in increasing guest satisfaction. "Our guests definitely notice and appreciate our sustainability efforts. They are very cooperative in using our linen reuse program and recognize that our usage of locally-sourced instead of imported produce is a positive part of their visit here."
Green Globe and TripAdvisor have consistently recognized Bay Gardens Resorts for its sustainability efforts. Three of the resort group's five properties have been awarded St. Lucia's first Green Globe Gold member global certification for sustainable tourism - Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa, Bay Gardens Hotel and Bay Gardens Inn.