Small and medium-sized local manufacturers are set to benefit following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association and the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA).
The historic signing took place on August 25th, 2022 during the SLHTA’s annual general meeting (AGM) at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
Through the 3-year MOU, the SLHTA has committed to the hosting of tradeshows and conferences to provide manufacturers with a platform to engage with our membership.
Member companies of the SMA will also gain access to the SLHTA’s group health insurance plan, and receive promotional support.
President of the SLHTA, Paul Collymore, said that the MOU signing heralds a renewed commitment to merge the linkages between local manufacturers and the tourism industry. “Whilst it is clear that a number of tourism operators currently do business with some manufacturers,” the President noted, “it is also clear that this has to be expanded greatly.”
He went on: “These tradeshows and conferences are designed to achieve the single purpose of getting manufacturers to connect with hotels and tourism service providers. The SLHTA has also committed to hosting discussion forums in which we can identify problems hindering our manufacturers from accessing export markets, and brainstorming solutions to overcome these challenges.”
Collymore pointed out that employees of the SMA’s member companies will also benefit via the provision of training and development support. “It is the hope of the SLHTA that this partnership with the SMA will grow from strength to strength over the coming years, and we will unlock better opportunities as we build forward better, together!”
Vice President of the SMA, Nicholas Barnard, noted that by working together, the organisations can create a conducive environment that promotes opportunities for a wider cross-section of Saint Lucians. “I’m delighted to sign this MOU,” he declared.
“This MOU formalizes an already close relationship and will lead to a deeper level of collaboration between our organisations. We hope that this results in great exposure for our members, through the commitment by all stakeholders to communicate and interact regularly.”
He told stakeholders that in order for the tourism industry to grow, citizens must buy into its benefits.
He said that this requires a sustainable economy characterised by productive and innovative sectors that are collectively doing well. Entrepreneurs need to succeed and thrive, he stressed.
The Vice President went on: “As manufacturers and processors, we want to collaborate with hospitality leaders to be innovative and creative in developing products and services that can enhance the Saint Lucia experience. We want to be part of a partnership that promotes growth and opportunities through to the smallest community. We want to produce high quality products and provide services that complement and enhance the flavour of brand Saint Lucia.”
In closing, he added: I would like to thank the SMA and SLHTA teams for the drafting of this MOU, and assure them of our commitment to abide by all sections of it. This, I believe, will allow us to play our part in steering our sectors in a prosperous, equitable and mutually beneficial direction.”
In her address at the AGM, Acting Minister for Commerce, Hon. Pauline Antoine-Prospere, lauded the two organisations for the move. The acting minister described the signing as a momentous occasion that marked the evolution of sectoral collaboration in the interest of national development.
Said Antoine-Prospere: “It is imperative that we work together to achieve more and catapult our recovery as a nation. This singing of the MOU denotes a willingness to build linkages and cement networks for local manufacturers whose challenges are too often overlooked.”
SOURCE: Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association