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Grace Bay Resorts, Wine Cellar Fuel TCICC Hospitality Students’ Europe Trip

Christopher Meredith (seventh from left), Group Director of F & B, Grace Bay Resorts presents a check of $10,000 to Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor from funds raise to support the TCICC Tourism Management Students’ trip to Europe. Beside Hon. Tayloy is Minister of Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly. Sharing in the moment from left are: Beverly Howell, General Manager for Point Grace; Shawn Desrivieres, Director of Food & Beverage at Point Grace; Michelle Hosten, who heads the Faculty of Hospitably and Tourism Management at the TCICC; Olivier Hilton, Executive Chef, Point Grace; Dr. Candace Malcolm, President of the TCICC; Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chair of the TCICC Board of Governors; Frank Castleton, Executive Chef at Grace Bay Club, Julian Broom, Executive Pastry Chef at Grace Bay Club and Christian Torres, Director of Food and Beverage at Grace Bay Club.

The dream of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) Hospitality and Tourism Management students’ Europe Easter Break appears sure, thanks to the generous efforts of the Grace Bay Resorts and the Wine Cellar.

On February 6, the Wine Cellar along with Grace Bay Resorts, through its subsidiary resorts - Grace Bay Club and Point Grace, gifted the college with a combined $34,000 of the $60,000 needed to make the trip a reality.

However, the entities pointed out that they were not done raising funds for the cause, as Christopher Meredith of Grace Bay Resorts said they planned to have brunches and other events.

The monies raised by the Grace Bay Resorts derived from brunches and dinners staged by the two properties.

Michelle Hosten, who heads the Faculty of Hospitably and Tourism Management at the TCICC, said the trip will be a 12-day one, covering several countries, including Spain and Switzerland.

She disclosed that some of the students did not have the financial wherewithal to make the trip, and so the college approached the Grace Bay Resort and the Wine Cellar to assist.

“So, I approached the Grace Bay Resorts and I spoke to Christopher Meredith, and he said ‘Michelle, Grace Bay Club will help you’. So, it was their idea that we do brunches and dinners,” Hosten said.

Tony Garland (third from left), of the Wine Cellar, presents a cheque for $10,000 to President of the Turks and Caicos Island Community College Dr. Candace Malcolm (second left). Sharing in the moment are (from left) Michelle Hosten, who heads the Faculty of Hospitably and Tourism Management at the TCICC; Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor; Minister of Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly; and Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chair of the TCICC Board of Governors.

She added: “We want to give the students exposure, as we are trying to make a connection between real life experiences as opposed to the theoretical part of the classroom.

“This way, we can make more connections with what we are trying to teach them, and most importantly, we want them to see what first world tourism plans look like, that they would appreciate it, learn from it, and when they would have come back here, get into the industry in TCI and move up the ladder because they would apply some of those concepts that they would have seen in those first world tourism plans.”

Hosten said the planned trip was nothing new for the TCICC students, as in the past, they have been to places such as Canada, New York, the Bahamas, and also done one cruise.

“So, we try to do something every year as much as possible. Our next goal is Dubai, next year,” she said.

Meredith, for his part, stated that COVID-19 had derailed a great deal of things, including the TCICC annual trips, and so the fundraising activity was a move to reinvigorate the yearly trip.

“COVID finished a lot of things, and it is just to regenerate and help the kids at the community college and get them some sort of international experience in Europe in one of their trips, and we want to sort of leading the way and assist in any way, to pull together to get the kids what they need,” Meredith said.

Tony Garland of the Wine Cellar was elated that his company was able to assist with the effort, asserting that traveling was one way of gaining education and experience.

“When we were approached at the Wine Cellar to support the fundraising event, I said to Chris (Meredith of Grace Bay Resorts) this was no new rodeo for us,” Garland stated, revealing that they have been supporting the institution for a long time, event provided funding, in partnership with other entities, to build the collage’s existing culinary facility.

In the meantime, President of the TCICC, Dr. Candace Malcolm stated that the objective of the institution’s administrators is to make it a first choice for education and training for TCI residents. To this end, she said it was necessary for the college to reposition itself, which includes forming valuable partnerships with key industry stakeholders.

“It is through the collaborative efforts of the Grace Bay Resorts and the Wine Cellar that have allowed us to put our vision within reach, which is to provide quality education and training for our students, particularly those who have enrolled in the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management,” she said.

Both Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor and Minister of Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly were on hand to witness the gesture.

Minister Taylor described the effort by the Grace Bay Resorts and the Wine Cellar as a perfect example of human capital building.

“Our mandate is the building of human capital, and this is a perfect example of ensuring that we harness the skills and the talents of our people, especially in the area of hospitality, knowing that tourism is our number one industry here in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Taylor pointed out.

For her part, Hon. Connolly noted that pointed that it was imperative that students get what they need to progress in life. While thanking her parliamentary colleague for her sterling support to education, Minister Connolly stated that when these students returned, would be equipped with a great deal of knowledge, as they get ready to shape the future of the TCI.

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