Small Hotels Retreat Kicks Off in U.S. Virgin Islands

The 2009 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Small Hotels Retreat kicked off in the U.S. Virgin Islands last night with a larger than expected delegation of small hoteliers optimistic about their prospects in an improved 2010 economy.

"The small hotels of the Caribbean are the salt and spice, and yes - the heart and soul of our region. They are as diversified as our people and we truly believe this is where we stand out," said The Hon. Beverly Nicholson-Doty, commissioner of tourism for the U.S.Virgin Islands in her keynote address at the opening ceremony.

Lisa Hamilton, president of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel Tourism Association, graciously performed the role of master of ceremonies at the opening ceremony, following an enthusiastic welcome address by Richard Doumeng, chairman of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel Tourism Association, first vice president of CHTA and managing director of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas.

"At the end of the day, this is the group that is vested in our community," said Nicholson-Doty, speaking about "the historic charm, intimate appeal and the fact that many of our small hotels are found in our historic districts. This creates a unique experience that cannot be duplicated at any large brand hotel. Our strength is in our numbers, and I applaud the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association for keeping this conference alive."