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Tourism, EDA, Education Fund Development of UVI Resort & Hospitality Management Degree

In a clear demonstration of support for hospitality education in the Territory, the USVI Department of Tourism, the USVI Economic Development Authority and the VI Department of Education have donated $150,000 to the University of the Virgin Islands to support the development of a bachelor's degree program in resort and hospitality management. The UVI School of Business will submit plans for the four-year degree program, which will be developed collaboratively with hospitality partners, to the UVI Board of Trustees.

"I am confident that the program will receive full support from the Board of Trustees," said Dr. Eustace Esdaille, interim dean of the UVI School of Business.

In preparation for University approval, the School of Business and hospitality partners will structure the program to meet the needs of the industry, students and the community.

The expectation is that once approved by the faculty, administration and UVI Board of Trustees, the Resort and Hospitality Management degree program will enroll its first roster of students in the fall 2011 semester. The four-year program will have a strong component of "hands-on" learning, reflecting the requirement put forth by hospitality partners who have an interest in hiring the program's graduates. All of the major hotel brands in the U.S. Virgin Islands are in support of the program's concept.

"The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association has been instrumental in helping to secure funding and is committed to providing support in the future," UVI President Dr. David Hall said.

"We look forward to strongly supporting this program and helping to someday make it a world-class degree program," said USVI Hotel and Tourism Association Chairman Marc Langevin.

Commissioner Beverly Nicolson Doty announced the USVI Department of Tourism's contribution of $75,000 on June 1, and promised to help provide any additional funding needed to support preparatory work in advance of the rollout of the program in 2011. Within a few days she followed up with the announcement that the USVI Economic Development Authority donated $45,000, and that the VI Department of Education contributed the remaining $30,000.

Hospitality industry managers and Nicholson Doty say the program must include a vibrant internship component - pairing students and hospitality partners in meaningful educational endeavors. An internship at the USVI Department of Tourism will be part of the program.

For information about the development of a bachelor's degree program in Resort and Hospitality Management at UVI, please contact Dr. Eustace Esdaille at (340) 693-1300.