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 destination’s image and tourism product.

Sharon Flax-Mars’ confirmation to one of the Government’s 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 Territory’s 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. Mars’ foundation in tourism began at an early age under the tutelage of her parents who owned Fischer’s 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 The May Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability
The hotel industry continues to make remarkable progress in implementing sustainability policies and procedures in their properties throughout the world. As a result, they continue to reap the benefits of increased profitability, enhanced guest experiences, and improved community relations. In addition, as industry standards are codified and adopted worldwide, hotels can now compare how their operations measure up against their competitors in terms of sustainable practices and accomplishments. This capacity to publicly compare and contrast is spurring competition and driving innovation as hotels do not wish to be left behind in this area. Water management and conservation is still a primary issue as population growth, urbanization, pollution and wasteful consumption patterns place increasing demands on freshwater supply. Water recycling; installing low-flow fixtures; using digital sensors to control water usage; and even harvesting rainwater are just a few things that some hotels are doing to preserve this precious resource. Waste management is another major concern. Through policies of reduce, reuse and recycle, some hotels are implementing “zero-waste” programs with the goal of substantially reducing their landfill waste which produces carbon dioxide and methane gases. Other hotels have established comprehensive training programs that reinforce the value of sustainability. There is employee engagement through posters and quizzes, and even contests are held to increase innovation, sensitivity and environmental awareness. Some hotels are also monitoring a guest’s energy usage and rewarding those who consumed less energy with gifts and incentives. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating eco-friendly practices into their operations and how they and the environment are benefiting from them.