. Belize's version of the "Grammys" or
"Oscars", this top-notch affair attracted key tourism personnel from all corners
of Belize in a show of support and gratitude for all who have made significant
contributions to the tourism industry.
Four businesses in
Ambergris Caye were recognized and two walked away with awards in their
respective categories. Ramon's Village Resort, one of the island's leading
resorts, was named Hotel of the Year. Tropic Air, the first airline to service
the island, received the Receptive Service of the Year Award. Managing Director
Steve Schulte accepted the award on behalf of Tropic Air. The other nominees
from San Pedro were Amigos del Mar in the Tour Operator of the Year category and
Victoria House in the Hotel of the Year category.
Accepting the award on behalf of Ramon's Village was Assistant Manager Einer
Gomez who thanked the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) for this honor and recognized
the efforts of his staff - "the backbone of the hotel." Ramon's Village,
although intimate, is a full-service resort. In addition to all their amenities,
Ramon's Village also boasts a tour desk and their staff is routinely recognized
for their friendliness, professionalism and dedication. Ramon's Village ensures
that their clients' vacation is one they will never forget.
Prior to the commencement of the ceremony, light
musical entertainment was provided by Pablo Collado. The always-entertaining
Mango Jam Band delighted the audience with musical interludes and while guests
enjoyed a scrumptious four-course meal.
Acting as Master
of Ceremonies for the occasion was Mr. Rene Villanueva Sr. who introduced the
presenters of the various awards. Thunderous applause filled the River Hall room
of the Biltmore as the winners were announced. Providing a very touching moment
during the evening was Therese Rath of the BTB who asked the congregation to
join her in saluting the late Hugh Parkey for his contribution to the tourism
industry of Belize.
This year's winners of the National
Tourism Awards were: Environmental Organization of the Year - Radio Ritmo/Luis
Garcia; Educational Organization of the Year - Cayo Center for Employment
Training; Corporate Organization of the Year - Naturalight Productions;
Receptive Service of the Year - Tropic Air; Frontline Person of the Year -
Marybeth Maestre (tourism trainer); Tour Guide of the Year - Mark McField; Tour
Operator of the Year - Cruise Solutions; Hotel of the Year - Ramon's Village
Resort; Lifetime Achievement Award - George and Coral Bevier of Rum Point Inn;
Special Recognition - Hugh Parkey (posthumously); and Minister's Award -
Hilderbrant "Skinny" Saunders (Belize City taxi driver).
The San Pedro Sun salutes all the winners and
nominees of the 3rd Annual
National Tourism Awards.