New BHTA president wants reform

As the island’s tourism product continues to struggle, the new president of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA), Sunil Chatrani, is proposing a reform of that association.

Sunil Chatrani
Sunil Chatrani

Giving remarks at the BHTA’s annual general meeting yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Chatrani said the association had been under a “tremendous amount of pressure” over the last two years as it sought to address all of the industry’s challenges with very limited resources.

“With the ever-changing tourism landscape, we too will have to change the way we conduct our business. With the restructuring of the BTA, it is timely that we also look at this association to see how we will need to adapt, to work with these two new entities effectively.

“While I have my initial thoughts on how we need to change to be more effective, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss this now, without first meeting with my new board,” he added.

Chatrani officially took over the presidency from Patricia Affonso-Dass. He will serve for two years.

“What I can tell you is that the way we presently do business will have to change. I know most of you are familiar with the acronym KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid – but the KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. This is the principle by which we will be working, going forward,” he added.

In her address, Affonso-Dass recalled that when she took up the post of presidency two years ago, it was her intention for the BHTA’s constitution to be reviewed and the organization to be reorganized to better cope with current needs and membership issues. She said she had indicated, in her first address to the membership, that a small team was asked to review the constitution and make recommendations for reform in some key areas, including categorization of hotels, leadership eligibility within the association, corporate membership and term limits.

“Additionally, it was agreed some time ago, at the level of the board, that we needed to relook the structure of the secretariat to ensure that we had the resources that we needed where we needed them, a succession plan in place, and that we strengthen our research capability. I believe that all of the above are still very relevant, and it remains my hope that we can address these very important issues in the near future,” the outgoing BHTA president said.


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