|By Aldeth Lewin, The Virgin Islands Daily
News, St. ThomasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 29, 2010 --ST. THOMAS -- Marc Langevin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, has been elected chairman of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association.
He replaces Richard Doumeng, general manager of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, who had served at the helm of the organization for three years.
The association officially elected Langevin to the post at Wednesday's annual general membership meeting, held at The Ritz-Carlton.
"We're very excited to have Marc come on board in a leadership role for the association" Lisa Hamilton, president of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, said.
Langevin has been part of the association for four years. In that time he has served as chairman of the education and training committee, chairman of the environmental committee and as a member of the committee for advocacy and others.
Hamilton said he did an "amazing job" during the last two years as chairman of the education and training committee.
Langevin began his hospitality career with Club Med in the 1980s. He then helped open several hotels, including Main Street Station Casino, Treasure Island at the Mirage and Bellagio. He later joined The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles as assistant food and beverage director.
Langevin first joined The Ritz-Carlton company in 2001 as the executive assistant manager of food and beverage at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, and went on to serve as resort manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Langevin was appointed general manager at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, in 2006.
A native of Paris, Langevin speaks fluent English, French and German.
Langevin said he was asked to take the post and discussed it with the membership before agreeing to be on the slate of candidates up for election at Wednesday's meeting. He said Hamilton and Doumeng have done such a great job in the last few years, he has only to follow in their footsteps to keep the association on the right path.
"Richard and Lisa really set it up to a point where moving forward is an easier task," Langevin said. "Right now it's just about keeping the vision and pushing forward."
Hamilton also thanked Doumeng for his service as chairman and his participation in the association since the 1980s.
"He's not going anywhere," Hamilton said. "He's still going to be the immediate past chair to guide us."
Langevin said that as chairman he plans to keep the focus on education -- encouraging students in the territory to understand and become interested in the hospitality industry -- and providing employee training for the member hotels and tour operations.
The University of the Virgin Islands is interested in developing a hospitality curriculum, Langevin said, and the association is working closely with the university toward that goal.
"That's going to be one of our new, big, platforms," he said.
On the environmental front, Langevin said he will support the effort already begun by the association's environmental committee to participate in the "Blue Flag" certification program. The program certifies beaches around the world for cleanliness, safety, water quality, environmental management and other criteria.
Langevin also plans to advocate for the hospitality and tourism industry to local politicians and the community.
"I think our membership is growing year after year and we want to be heard," he said.
Issues like crime, public transportation and roads affect tourism, which the territory relies on for revenues, he said.
He said he also plans to continue the good relationship the association has with the V.I. Tourism Department and continue to market the territory as a premier travel destination.
"There's a lot of things going on right now. It's very exciting," Langevin said.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 774-8772 ext. 311 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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