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The Sixth Annual Belize Tourism Board (BTB) awards banquet was an opportunity to recognize the best in the tourism industry and thank those who have contributed to this area of the Belize economy. Held on Friday evening, January 20th, the awards brought many San Pedro residents to the stage to receive awards.
Ramon Nuñez, Sr. was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unwavering commitment to service and tourism over the past 35 years. Nuñez has worked for several resorts on San Pedro and is currently the manager of Ramon’s Village Island Resort.

An emotional Oscar Gutierrez, Dining Room Supervisor at Victoria House, was named Front Line Person of the Year for his over 20 years working the frontline and positively influencing our guests.

Caye Caulker’s Mr. Tony Vega, Sr. was presented the Minister’s Award for his foresight, perseverance and dedication to Belizean tourism.

A resort that started in San Pedro and has expanded to a second resort; Hotel of the Year went to El Pescador South, Punta Gorda for setting international standards and expectations and for assisting its guests to see Belize as a culturally interesting destination, as well as a premier eco-tourist destination.

The banquet provided an opportunity to host industry stakeholders, distinguished guests, and tourism friends as they gathered to celebrate Belize tourism. The banquet held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel was the culmination of Tourism Awareness Week that was held January 16th to the 22nd.

A total of 16 awards were presented in various categories. For their extensive accomplishment in promoting and preserving Belize’s cultural heritage, Kriol Council was presented with the Cultural Award of the Year, while Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) received the award for Environmental Organization of the Year for their unwavering support to conservation and preservation of Belize’s natural resources. The Educational Organization of the Year Award went to the Hugh Parkey Marine Foundation for their passion in nature and conservation and their provision of Marine Awareness and educational programs. Atlantic Bank Limited was bestowed the title of Corporate Organization of the Year for excelling in product and marketing innovativeness, quality of product experience and operational performance.

Receptive Service of the Year went to Old Belize for their consistent quality services to the tourism industry, while Joe Garel took home the Tour Guide of the Year Award for his dedication and commitment to tourism and Belize. Sea Sports Belize was awarded Tour Operator of the Year for their dedication in providing quality service to the industry, and the quaint establishment of Hotel de la Fuente in Orange Walk was awarded Small Hotel of the Year for its personal and community contribution to making Belize a destination with something special for every type of traveler.

Small Vendor of the Year went to Ms. Donatila Chun and the Toledo Craft & Pottery Women’s Group for offering exceptional service and creative and quality products.

For the first time, Special Recognition was given to the BDF Air Wing Command & The Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team for their unwavering commitment to serving the needs of the industry and providing support in times of difficulty. Special Acknowledgement was also given to Ambassador Charles Tsai for his contribution to the development of Belize and support to the tourism industry.

“Tourism has become a way of life for many of our Belizean people. It is an industry that has seen much growth and received great recognition,” commented Tourism Minister, Godfrey Smith. “The annual National Tourism Awards serves to recognize our industry personnel who have committed to the development of tourism in Belize over the years. Tourism is the only industry that reaches so far into our communities making each of us a part of the singular experience that we call Belize.”

The BTB hosted approximately 350 people at the Award Ceremony on Friday night at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. Musical Entertainment was provided by Nelita Castillo and Ricardo Corona. MC’s for the night’s event were William Neal and Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez. The Belize Tourism Board and The San Pedro Sun congratulate all winners!

Wendy Auxillou
Auxillou Beach Suites
Caye Caulker, Belize