The 2017 University of the West Indies, Conventions Sales, Planning and Management class taught by Dr. Mark Lewis, hosted its first ever convention on Wednesday 12th April under the theme “The West Indies Tourism Federation Presents: 6 Wonders of the Caribbean.” It was hosted in the U.W.I dining room from 10 am to 1 pm. This theme highlighted six countries from which our student population originates – Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The conventions class was split into subgroups which dealt with aspects such as audio visual, décor, marketing and promotions and food and beverage. Prior to the convention, the décor team was in full effect bringing out their creative skills to showcase the countries.
And the convention begins! Upon arrival attendees were ushered to seats by Latifah and Vernon. At first, there was a relatively small turnout, but later more persons made their way to the convention (may be due to the free food but we’ll take it that they were interested).
Dr. Lewis gave opening remarks thanking the class for the semester before handing the floor to the master of ceremonies, Mr. Keron Best, who brought enthusiasm and excitement throughout the event. The West Indies Tourism Federation (WITF) was introduced by Mr. Neil McIntyre, who gave a brief introduction on the general overview of the tourism sector highlighting the positive impacts.
The WITF was made of up of Ms. Melissa Leslie, Market Analyst for Barbados; Mr. Josiah Joseph, Tourism Specialist representing Guyana; Ms. Sashanee Nevers from the Ministry of Tourism in Jamaica; Ms. Tonya Tobierre, Market Researcher from the Ministry of Tourism in St Lucia; Mr. Keshae Bovell, Jr. Tourism Minister representing St Vincent; and lastly, Ms. Renissa Waldron, Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company. Each gave insight into their countries popular areas and events catering to both locals and tourists. Their presentations were aided by Powerpoint slides and video presentations.
Kudos to the audio visual team for a smooth showcase even with Ms. Leslie’s stubborn video!
The breakout session followed after the presentations. The booths gave insightful information about the countries and tourist sites perfectly complimenting the presentations and using their persuasive skills to market the respective countries. A job well done to those who went above and beyond doing research and presenting on countries they were not from.
Then came the highly anticipated food! A spread of food from the different islands such as pineapple chow, cassava balls, fish cakes, bread, festival and a complimentary drink. A great job done by the Food and Beverage team, if only there were seconds! To culminate the convention, Ms. Shanelle Sterling gave the closing remarks saying a big thank you to the planning team and the attendees.
Thank you to Dr. Mark Lewis for giving the 2017 Convention Sales Planning and Management class an opportunity to put their theory into practice by planning and successfully executing their first ever convention. We do hope that this continues in years to come!
By Jayda Peter, BSc. Tourism Management 2017
Images courtesy of Crystal Alleyne