Pioneers honored at 8th annual BTB tourism awards

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 5            January 31, 2008

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Hotel of the Year was The Inn at Robert’s Grove, owned by Robert and Risa Frackman. They accepted their award on the behalf of their “wonderful staff”.

Mrs. Azucena Galvez of Clarissa Falls won the “Minister’s Award” for her hard work in contributing to the Tourism Industry with her unique guest house.

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Lascelle Tillett (second from right) of S&L Travel & Tours, receives his award alongside his lovely wife, from his daughter Frances (left) and Minister of Tourism Godfrey Smith.

On a splendid Friday night, at the Belize Biltmore Plaza, more than three hundred members of Belize’s tourism industry participated in the eighth annual National Tourism Awards 2008 ceremony.

    Host for the night featured the lovely Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez and the ‘man behind the voice’ Ernesto Vasquez of Love FM. After a gorgeous rendition of the National Anthem performed by Belizean star Tanya Carter, the awards show kicked off with grand pizzazz. Awards were presented to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Belize’s tourism industry.

    A total of 13 awards were presented in various categories which include: The Inn at Robert’s Grove in Placencia took top honors as “Hotel of the Year”, which was accepted by owners Robert and Risa Frackman. Whilst Joy Tours won in the category of “Tour Operator of the Year”, for their tours that excel in service, product innovation, marketing, creativity and value for money. The ‘Corporate Organization of the Year’ went to the media power house Love FM for their unique and spellbound Belizean service which has been recognized both internationally and locally. The award for “Tour Guide of the Year” was given to Alex Edwards for his ability to excel in tourism knowledge and capture an audience’s interest with his creativity to provide a memorable service. “Frontline Person of the Year” went to Mark Bowman, who possesses great interpersonal skills, and the ability to welcome guests with great Belizean hospitality. An award for “Environmental Organization of the Year” went to Friends for Conservation and Development for their leader role in the conservation and preservation of Belize’s natural resources, practices of sustainable management and their ability to promote public awareness and education of environmental protection. The “Best Receptive Service” award was given to the Fort Street Tourism Village for being an entity that offers exceptional service to customers, and is sensitive to the staff needs, flexible in adapting to change and accommodating to the industry’s needs. Next on the agenda was the award for “Small Hotel of the Year” which went to Orchid Palm Inn of Orange Walk Town. Orchid Palm took the award for their ability to capture the essence of warmth and homeliness, excellent customer service and good management. The “Small Vendor Award” went to Face It Production Bambu Me and “Educational Award” of the year was given to Programme for Belize for their insight on the significance of tourism on Belize’s economy and their improved efficiency of services and quality products.

    Other awards highlighted was ‘The Minister’s Award” which was presented to Mr. Azucena “Chena” Galvez for her foresight, perseverance and dedication to Belize tourism over the many years, whilst Mr. Lascelle Tillett of S& L Tours received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unwavering commitment to service and tourism over the past 40 years. The late, great Andy Palacio and Stone Tree Records were awarded the ‘Cultural Award of the Year’ for their extensive accomplishment in promoting and preserving Belize’s Cultural Heritage. Ivan Duran received the award of behalf of Stone Tree Records. Yasser Musa, President of NICH, paid a special tribute to Andy Palacio for his contribution to Belize’s music and culture. The audience gave an emotional standing ovation honoring Palacio’s memory.

    The National Tourism Awards Ceremony recognizes and honors organizations and industry partners who have made outstanding contributions to the industry. These include exceptional services, outstanding facilities/products, creativity, sound management, the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage, and the ability to provide visitors with a memorable experience and value for money. Congrats to all winners for their great achievement and role they played in enhancing Tourism for 2007.
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