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HOSPITALITY IS A PARTY NOT JUST FOR TOURISTS

July 23, 2001 – The hospitality industry is hosting a beach party for the public Sunday afternoon at Marriott Morning Star Resort that promises more fun and games than your typical tourist encounters.
The "Touch of Island Hospitality" fun day, from noon to sunset, will feature bed racing and luggage lugging contests, lessons in making sand castles, gourmet bites from such restaurants as Banana Tree Grille and the Old Stone Farmhouse, and more.
The event is being presented by the Hospitality Focus Group of the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association with the V.I. Tourism Department. The group was founded last year by Carter Donovan, then general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Jayne Hillner, general manager of Marriott Frenchman's Reef, and David Yamada, general manager of The Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, to bolster tourism in the islands.
The focus group, which includes professionals from the restaurant, taxi, retail, visitor attraction, public safety and arts sectors, made education its first priority. Earlier this year it presented a series of daylong American Express "Service Excellence" workshops which attracted more than 500 hospitality-sector workers. "Interest was so strong that it was decided to hold this training on a quarterly basis," a release from the hotel association states.
One goal of the Morning Star fun day is to raise funds for future "Service Excellence" training, island beautification, better signage to help tourists find their way around, and an exit survey of departing visitors. A second goal is to build spirit and a sense of purpose among those working in the hospitality sector.
There will be music from noon to 3 p.m. by Carl Freeman and James Anderson with deejay Tom Hightree and emcee Tahra Richardson, from 3 to 4 p.m. by Dr. Bernard Liburd, and from 4 to 6 p.m. by P'Your Passion. From 1 to 3 p.m. are the Hospitality Beach Olympics competitions — beach bed making and racing, a flipper race with cocktail trays, a luggage-toting race in which runners must keep a coconut between their knees, an "Iguana Toss," "Landscaper Hole Digging" and "Mango in the Nylon."
At 2 p.m., Jason Budsan will demonstrate sand castle and sand candle making. An art and craft exhibit that will be up all day will feature the works of local artists and artisans, including paintings, photography, ceramics and glasswork.
Admission to the beach party is free. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, as will tickets for a raffle of prizes including hotel stays, boat rides, dining out and artwork. Throughout the afternoon there will be a $1 shuttle bus running between the Havensight Shopping Mall, where ample parking is available, and the beach.
Tourists are welcome, too, of course.

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