Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Flax Mars

Sharon Flax Mars

Director of Tourism, British Virgin Islands Tourist Board

Veteran tourism professional Sharon Flax-Mars is the Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, a statutory body serving as the guiding unit for the development, marketing and promotion of the destinationís image and tourism product. Sharon Flax-Marsí confirmation to one of the Governmentís top economic pillars is characteristic of her 30 plus years of experience garnered from working in diversified posts within the tourism industry in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean region and the United States. Over the course of the past three decades she has utilized her knowledge and verve to successfully navigate her career path to the most pivotal of positions within the hospitality and tourism sector. Ms. Mars has achieved notable accomplishments as the Director of Tourism that have been instrumental in strengthening and developing partnerships within the tourism sector regionally and internationally. Her portfolio includes sustainable and economic development initiatives along with the teaching and implementation of green practices for the accommodations sector; industry training and varied interactive tourism education programes for youth interested in hospitality, culinary and tourism careers; BVI membership in the International Institute for Peace; the negotiation of an Air Services Agreement with VI Airlink for direct air service between BVI and Antigua; the successful launch of Anegada Lobster Festival, a major food event on Anegada, which brought an influx of 1000 plus visitors to Anegada over a three-day period; the establishment of guest service greeter kiosks in St. Thomas Cyril E. King Airport and Wymoth L. Blyden Marine Terminal to assist travelers heading to the BVI; the formation of the Territoryís first public relations representation in Latin America was to lure the growing market of travelers from Brazil, Argentina and Chile; as well as other inroads through the Tourist Board. Ms. Marsí foundation in tourism began at an early age under the tutelage of her parents who owned Fischerís Cove, one of the first indigenously owned hotel properties in the British Virgin Islands. Coupled with her posts at the infamous Windows of the World, American Eagle, and Rosewood Little Dix Bay, these experiences provided great insight into the functions and operations of the vivid hospitality and tourism for which she would eventually be at the helm. Her affable demeanor, and her ability to identify with the numerous roles that are pivotal to motivating a team of varied professionals is evident in collective manner by which she leads. Ms. Mars holds a bachelor of science (B.S.) in hotel administration with a concentration in tourism development from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She obtained management training from luxury hoteliers in Mexico, the United States and London, U.K.

Ms. Flax Mars can be contacted at 284-494-4482 Ext 227 or sflax-mars@bvitourism.com

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.