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Culture, food on show for tourism conference

Published:Friday | September 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM
From left: St Lucia's Ernie Seon, Jamaican New Yorker Irwine Clare, and Trinidad's Tony Fraser at the welcome reception for the State of the Industry Conference in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, on Wednesday night.
It's all smiles from Travelport's Debra Prendergast-Lee and Dr Wykeham McNeill, Jamaica's minister of tourism and entertainment, .Photos by Janet Silvera
From left: Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Rufus Ewing, outgoing chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Lt Governor of the US Virgin Islands, Gregory R. Francis, and minister of tourism, St Kitts, Ricky Skerritt.

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

St Thomas, US Virgin Islands: United States Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty promised delegates a stimulating State of the Industry Conference and in two days, she was able to deliver on that.

Opening up her island to tourism decision-makers, practitioners, partners, travel media and young leaders who will inherit the industry, Nicholson-Doty and her team showcased the three islands they call home - St John, St Thomas and St Croix - during the official ceremony of the conference Wednesday night at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef and Morning Star Resort in her country.

Through dance, music and food, delegates were treated to the great cultural diversity that makes the region unique.

The welcome presentation by the country's talented dancers and singers was almost in sync with the theme of the conference, which speaks to 'Realising the Vision; Positioning Caribbean Tourism for Major Change'.

This was evident in the display, as the Virgin Islanders gave a refreshing depiction of their African roots mixed with the contemporary genres, with a strong backing of reggae infused.

Nicholson-Doty, who turned over the mantle of Caribbean Tourism Organisation chairman after serving two years in the position, was the perfect host.

Inviting those whose attention she captured during the welcome reception, she said it would be remiss of her "If I did not entice you with the many sights, attractions, activities - and yes, shopping - that we have to offer".

Shopping may not have played a big part in this conference, but there was no escaping the tasty fish meals and music that lent something special to these islands.