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 The December Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotelís operation that isnít touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law Ė real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott Internationalís acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important Ė the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding itís much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.