The Board of Directors of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association has selected Rik Blyth, general manager of Caneel Bay Resort on St. John, as the new president of the association. Blyth will assume the position and step down from Caneel beginning on April 10.
“All of the candidates that applied for the position brought significant qualifications to the table,” said chairman of the board of directors and Westin’s regional manager Graeme Davis. “The consensus was that Rik’s extensive operations background, both on the mainland and in the territory, marketing savvy, and his many years on the board were exactly what was needed to advance the goals of the association. We are happy to welcome Rik to the team and look forward to his leadership.”
Blyth got his first taste of the industry at age 15 as a dishwasher in a small resort in Wisconsin, and eventually held other positions at the property while in high school and college.
With a degree in hospitality and restaurant management from the University of Wisconsin, Blyth ventured out, working for Hyatt Hotels in San Francisco, Monterey, Minneapolis and Chicago.
From 1992 to 1995, he worked as a general manager at the Wyndham in Jamaica. Blyth served as general manager of the Wyndham Sugar Bay in St. Thomas until 1996 when the property closed for renovations, but returned in 1998.
In 2004, Blyth accepted the position of managing director of Caneel Bay Resort on St. John. He is married to Shelley Blyth, owner of Shopportunities in the V.I. They have two teenage sons.
“I am up to the challenge associated with this job and am very excited about the opportunity,” said Blyth. “I understand the dynamics and requirements from the inside out.”
“Some of my initial efforts will be to grow membership, advocate for the tourism industry, encourage employee training and expand the association’s reach into the education of future hospitality leaders,” Blyth added.
“In addition, the chance to establish a true partnership with the new administration in Government House and our outstanding new commissioner of tourism, Beverly Nicholson Doty, was a driving force in my decision to seek this position,” Blyth added.
For additional information on the programs of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, call 774-6835 or visit www.virgin-islands-hotels.com.