|Rosita and Ralf Strumberg receive the Hotel of the Year award. They are pictures with Minister of Toursim, Hon. Godfrey Smith.
|Alice Bowman of Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her unwavering commitment to service and tourism over the past 30 years. |
BTB Tourism Awards honor Tourism Pioneers
Tourism Week, an initiative of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), is held every year in Belize in celebration of, well the name says it, tourism. The tourism industry is the fastest growing industry in the country and approximately one in four Belizeans work in tourism.
On Friday, January 27th, to commemorate these individuals and organizations BTB honored recipients at the seventh annual National Tourism Awards, held at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. The National Tourism Awards Ceremony honored organizations and persons whose performance continues to characterize distinction, comprehensive industriousness, and are thus worthy of merit. Big San Pedro winner for this year was Cayo Espanto who was awarded Hotel of the Year.
The stage was set and curtains were up for the show to begin, Masters of Ceremonies for the night’s event were William Neal and Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez. There were a total of fourteen awards given out and it kicked off with recognition given to Paul Nabor for Cultural Award of the year. Paul received this award for his extensive accomplishment in promoting and preserving Belize’s heritage. Next, the Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary 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 Tumul Kin Learning Center in Punta Gorda for their passion in nature and conservation and their provision of educational programs. Travellers Liquors was bestowed the title of Corporate Organization of the Year for excelling in product and marketing innovativeness, quality of product experience and operational performance. An elated Steve Evans, Porter at the Philip Goldson International Airport, was named Front Line Person of the Year for his over 25 years working the frontline and positively influencing our guests. Caribbean Shipping took home the award for Receptive Service of the Year for their consistent quality services to the tourism industry. Next, Philip Burns was named Tour Guide of the Year for his dedication and commitment to tourism and Belize. Bak-a-Bush Adventures was awarded Tour Operator of the Year for their dedication in providing quality service to the industry, and the quaint establishment of Beya Suites in Punta Gorda was awarded Small Hotel of the Year for its personal and community contribution to make Belize a destination with something special for every type of traveler.
San Pedro establishments did not dominate this year’s award show but Cayo Espanto walked away with the only award for the island. Cayo Espanto was awarded for setting international standards and expectations and for creating an atmosphere where paradise, luxury and seclusion come together as one. Resident Manager of Cayo Espanto, Rosita Strumberg states that apart from being honored, the resort has gained more status in the international stage. An ecstatic Rosita noted, “We are very excited. We did not expect to win but it’s great that we did. We look forward to continue providing excellent service for years to come.”
Small Vendor of the Year went to King Cassava Restaurant & Bar in Hopkins for offering exceptional service to its foreign and local guests. Also, special Recognition was given to the Mrs. Suzette Gibson for her unwavering commitment to serving the needs of the industry. For his prudence, perseverance and dedication to Belize Tourism, Everisto Chun received the Minister’s Award. Another individual awarded was Alice Bowman of Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga. She was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her unwavering commitment to service and tourism over the past 30 years and which she still very much practices in her current professional obligations.
The Belize Tourism Board has been hosting award shows for seven consecutive years. Minister of Tourism Godfrey Smith commented on its importance, “Tourism has become a way of life for many of our Belizean people. 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 spreads so far into our communities making each of us a part of the extraordinary experience that we call Belize.”
There were 14 total awards given out in a wide range of categories. The hyped tunes were provided by Jacklyn Castillo and Belize Music Agency Jazz Band and Andy Palacio and the Garifuna All Star Band. These performances brought several people to their feet who evidently enjoyed the melodic Belizean tunes. The award ceremonies marked the culmination of Tourism Awareness week that ran from January 21st – January 26th. Congratulations to all winners and establishments for making the choice to play a role and continue to enhance tourism!