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Over the next twelve months, ten young Saint Lucian entrepreneurs will benefit from complimentary membership to the Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association (SLHTA).
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SLHTA, Senator Noorani Azeez, unveiled the initiative on Thursday, August 25th, 2022 during the agency’s annual general meeting (AGM) at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian.
Through the complimentary membership, the young entrepreneurs will gain access to:
-The SLHTA’s Group Medical Insurance Programme-Training and certification programmes-Participation in local, regional and international events under the auspices of the SLHTA, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association and other associated bodies-Marketing and business support-Mentorship-NetworkingDuring the auspicious event, 25-year-old Jn Louis Mathurin was named as the first recipient under the initiative. The Babonneau native operates the tour company Father Nature Adventures— which offers waterfall chasing, snorkeling, mountain climbing, scenic hikes and exotic animal handling.Senator Azeez explained that he first became aware of Mathurin a few months ago whilst browsing the social media platform TikTok.
He recalled being taken aback by Mathurin’s infectious energy and charisma. “He captured some scenes and shots of Saint Lucia that were so inspiring that you don’t see in the conventional marketing footage. So I made a mental note that I need to reach out to this man.”
A couple of weeks later, Azeez said, he ran into the entrepreneur at a graduation ceremony hosted by the St. Lucia Divers Association.
Mathurin happened to be among the graduates of a reef rescue and scuba diving training programme, which was supported by the SLHTA’s Tourism Enhancement Fund. Moved by Mathurin’s zeal, Azeez invited him to attend the AGM.
The CEO noted that this simple interaction with Mathurin sparked something greater: a discussion on harnessing the talent of Saint Lucia’s youth. Azeez announced: “Last week, the Executive Management Committee of the SLHTA authorized the Secretariat to award ten complimentary memberships to ten youth entrepreneurs over the next twelve months!”
He continued: “This young man Mr. Jn Louis Mathurin is with us today. I’d like to invite him up to receive the first of the ten complimentary youth membership awards!”
“Wow!” a beaming Mathurin said after receiving a membership confirmation letter from SLHTA President Paul Collymore and Azeez. “This is a little bit overwhelming.”
The budding entrepreneur told the audience that he began operating the company only a few years ago: “I was just looking at my country, looking at the secret spots, getting the hidden gems, filming it and I had no idea this would be such a big thing now. I’ve been getting so many recommendations just showing off my country!”Mathurin, who is also employed at Rainforest Adventures, says that he loves to interact with visitors and feels gratified whenever they express an interest in Saint Lucia— be it to climb the pitons or go on adventures. “I’m always like ‘I got you! Lets go, lets go.’ It has been such an amazing opportunity so far.”
In closing, an emotional Mathurin said: “It’s been such a fun journey and I’m just so stoked to be part of the SLHTA. Thank you for having me!”
SOURCE: Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association. Headline photo: (Left to right) SLHTA President Paul Collymore, Jn Louis Mathurin and SLHTA CEO Noorani Azeez.