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Marty Offline OP
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The Belize Tourism Board held its annual National Tourism Awards Gala on Saturday, 22nd October in Belize City. The signature event honored and celebrated the excellence of the industry's top performers for 2022.

The gala was attended by Hon. Anthony Mahler, Min. of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, other government officials, diplomatic core, industry partners, and other distinguished guests including all nominees and winners. In his remarks, Minister Mahler, thanked industry partners for their resolve to survive and remaining steadfast in their commitment to the tourism industry in the face of the pandemic.

As the governing body for the tourism industry, the BTB recognized excellence in service and efforts in several categories: Frontline Person of the Year, Tour Guide of the Year, Tour Operator of the Year, Site of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Small Accommodation of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Posthumous Award, Minister's Award, Lifetime Achievement Award. Three new categories were introduced being Green Champion of the Year, Health and Wellness Provider of the Year and Cultural Experience of the Year. The addition of the new categories is a reflection of the dynamic growth of Belize's tourism industry over the past year.

The winners were verified by a panel of judges. The table below highlights the winners for 2022.

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We cannot rewrite the chapters of history already passed, but we can learn from them, evolve and adapt. When we all help one another, everybody wins. The BTB takes this opportunity to congratulate all the winners as well as the nominees for their exceptional service and dedication to fast track our industry's recovery and strengthen Belize tourism product.

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Congratulations to Elvi's Kitchen winner of Restaurant of the Year 2022 at this year's Belize Tourism Awards, taking place tonight.

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For the category of Tour Guide of the Year, we would like to congratulate Mr. Sherman Michael Cainof Blue Heaven Dives and Tours! We thank you for your vigour and dedication to showcasing our jewel- Belize.

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For the category of Frontline Personnel of the Year, we would like to congratulate Ms. Charlenne Young! We thank you for your hospitality and remarkable service in the tourism industry.

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For the category of Health and Wellness Provider of the Year, we would like to congratulate Om Shanti Belize Yoga and Wellness Center & School Ltd.! We appreciate you promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle to those who seek your services.

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For the category of Cultural Experience of the Year, we would like to congratulate San Antionio Women's Cooperative! We thank you for sharing our vibrant culture and heritage with those who visit our jewel- Belize.

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For the category of Site of the Year, we would like to congratulate Blue Hole Natural Monument! The Blue Hole Natural Monument continues to be a sought-after marine destination and a global wonder adorned by many.

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For the category of Small Accommodation of the Year, we would like to congratulate Off the Wall Dive Center & Resort! Your cozy island oasis has welcomed many with warmth and care, so we thank you for your service.

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For the category of Tour Operator of the Year, we would like to congratulate Belize Diving Adventures of San Pedro! Thank you for being so passionate about offering experiences for travelers who visit our beloved country.

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For the category of Hotel of the Year, we would like to congratulate Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge! Thank you for accommodating guests on your pristine property with your warm hospitality and excellent service.

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The Minister's Award is being presented to someone whose work and interest in the tourism industry are grounded in community improvement and activism. We congratulate Ms. Verna Samuels on being the recipient of this year's Minister's Award.

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Sharon Matola, founder of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center (BZTEC), was also posthumously recognized at the National Tourism Awards. We honor her legacy, achievements, and contributions to tourism and conservation in Belize. Mr. Jamal Andrewin-Bohn, Conservation Program Manager at BZTEC received the award on her behalf.

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The BTB made a short video to recognize Sharon Matola at the 2022 Belize Tourism Awards. Worth a watch.

'Sharon Matola, founder of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center (BZTEC), was also posthumously recognized at the National Tourism Awards. We honor her legacy, achievements, and contributions to tourism and conservation in Belize. Mr. Jamal Andrewin-Bohn, Conservation Program Manager at BZTEC received the award on her behalf.'



The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to those who have dedicated their lives to grow and develop Belize's tourism industry. This awardee's contributions are significant and have positively impacted Belize and the lives of countless Belizeans. We congratulate Mr. John Greif and Mr. Steve Schulte for being the recipient of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Anthony Hunt accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Steve Schulte.

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For the category of Green Champion of the Year, we congratulate Turneffe Flats Resort! Thank you for your stellar efforts in protecting our environment and being a pillar of sustainable tourism in Belize.

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VIDEOS HERE:
https://www.youtube.com/user/BelizeVacation/videos

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Marty Offline OP
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Team Caye Caulker at Belize National Tourism Awards Gala 2022. Congratulations to all nominees and Winners.

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The Winners of the Belize National Tourism Awards 2022

On Saturday night inside the Caribbean Motors Showroom, stakeholders in the tourism industry gathered for a night of recognition, as the Belize Tourism Board hosted its annual tourism awards.� The event is held to honour those who provide excellent service in the hospitality and tourism industry under ten different categories. News Five's Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

What better way to celebrate the rebounding of Belize's tourism industry, which was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, than by honouring those stakeholders who were instrumental in maintaining Belize as a preferred destination for travellers. That's what the 2022 Belize National Tourism Awards did - it recognized excellence in service in several categories.

Hotel of the Year was captured by Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge.

Ian Lizarraga, Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge

"I've never been to a property like this in my life where river, jungle. It is bordered by a eighteen thousand acre nature reserve. It has a cave that rivals the ATM caves on site. It has waterfalls, it has everything. Incredibly diverse, allowing guests to pay for the level of experience by the accommodations that they chose."

Restaurant of the Year went to Elvi's Kitchen.

Jennie Staines, Chef, Elvi's Kitchen

"I've been the person in charge from when I was twenty-five, when they put the crown on my head. Every day when I come into work, I am so proud of what I do and I do it with the best of my ability and when I send a plate out, it will be if I sit down and eat it, I will enjoy it. I will never give a customer something that personally I wouldn't enjoy."

Site of the Year went to the Blue Hole Natural Monument

Amanda Burgos, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

"The Blue Hole Natural Monument is a one of a kind location. It is the furthest east that you can get in the Belizean territory. It is geologically special in that it is a sinkhole or a cenote in the middle of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. And more so than the geography and its natural features, Blue Hole is special to Belizeans. Belizeans identify with the Blue Hole; they see it as part of our cultural identity."

Meanwhile, Cultural Experience of the year went to the San Antonio Women's Cooperative that has been working in the preservation of the Maya Yucatec cultural heritage.

Timothea Mesh, San Antonio Women's Cooperative

"The San Antonio Women's Cooperative saw the need in preserving culture because it was something that was getting lost and we wanted to revive the culture, the language that was getting lost. So when you come here, we will teach you about corn grinding and tortilla making. You will be having a little taste of the corn porridge and you will be participating with us."

Tour Operator of the Year went to Belize Dive Adventures in San Pedro, and the Tour Guide for 2022 was dive master Sherman Cain of Blue Heaven Dives and Tours in San Pedro.

Sherman Cain, Tour Guide of the Year

"At the dive shop here, each one of our staff, we always try to fulfil all of our guests needs so we try to make it a very memorable one; that they want to come back here - not to our shop, but to Belize itself."

Other awards include green champion award, which went to Turneffe Flats Resort. Om Shanti Belize Yoga and Wellness Center and School won Health and Wellness Provider of the Year.� And Frontline Person of the Year went to Charlenne Young from Blu Zen on northern Caye Caulker. During her address, B.T.B.'s Marketing Director Michelle Bowers-Flowers said it best:

Michelle Bowers-Flowers, Marketing Director, Belize Tourism Board

"To be the best requires going above and beyond. It requires dedication, hard work, passion, innovation and vision and tonight, we have seen these values exemplified by our award winners. To our winners and nominees, congratulations on a job well done. Continue to be the inspiration that you are to our industry."

Sharon Matola was given a posthumous award, John Grief and Steven Schulte of Tropic Air were given Lifetime Achievement Awards. Duane Moody for News Five.

Channel 5


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Marty Offline OP
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Ambergris Caye's tourism stakeholders shine at BTB National Tourism Awards

The different organizations and individuals from San Pedro Ambergris Caye winning prizes at the awards ceremony proudly represented the island at the anticipated event. The first recognition for Ambergris Caye was in the Tour Guide of the Year category, which went to Sherman Michael Cain of Blue Heavens Dives and Tours. Cain was honored for his passion and dedication to showcasing Belize's beauty to visitors. Cain is grateful for this recognition and stated he would continue working hard and delivering excellent services to the thousands of tourists expected in the upcoming high season.

Next to be awarded was one of San Pedro's most popular and distinguished restaurants- the iconic Elvi's Kitchen. The renowned restaurant on Pescador Drive (middle street) received the Restaurant of the Year award for its continued excellent service and local, cultural, and international cuisine. Elvi's Kitchen's celebrity Chef Jennie Staines was on hand to receive such recognition. Her team lauded Stains for putting so much love and creativity into each dish prepared at Elvi's.

Ambergris Caye also brought home the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award. The awardees were John Greif III and Steve Schulte of Tropic Air. Greif was present at the event to receive the honor, while Schulte could not attend, and on his behalf, no stranger to the aviation industry, Anthony Hunt accepted the award. For over 40 years, Tropic Air has been contributing to the development of Belize's tourism industry with convenient dependable air service throughout the country and other countries like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun


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