Simon Suarez named Caribbean Hotelier of the Year
RESPECTED CARIBBEAN hotelier, Simon Suarez was named the 2017 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
Suarez, vice-president of institutional relations and projects of Grupo Puntacana in the Dominican Republic, received the coveted honour at the opening of the third annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), hosted by CHTA, in Miami.
Accepting the region's premier hospitality award, Suarez, a former CHTA president, recognised his colleagues,
friends and family, while reminding delegates in attendance to "embrace unity, diversity and ingenuity" in the Caribbean.
"Simon Suarez is a pioneer in Caribbean hospitality. He has played, and continues to play, a major role in the development and
growth of Caribbean tourism, and we are indebted to him for all that he has done for his native Dominican Republic and the Caribbean,"
said Frank Comito, director general and CEO of CHTA.
Suarez began his professional career in the Dominican Republic tourism industry at the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic in
1974. Since these early beginnings, he has served as the president of Occidental Hotels' local operating company, Occidental Hoteles
Dominicana, S. A.; executive vicepresident of Coral Hotels & Resorts; president of the Dominican Republic's Tourism Promotion Council;
chief development representative - Central America and Caribbean for Hilton Hotels Corporation; and president of the Dominican Republic's Hotel and Tourism Association.
Also in winners' row on Friday was Obrian Forde of Jus' Sail in St Lucia, who was named Caribbean Employee of the Year, while Marcia
Rhoden-Morris of The Jamaica Pegasus was recognised as Caribbean Supervisor of the Year.
Lisa Hamilton of the United States Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association captured the Caribbean Association Executive of
the Year Award, while Edward 'Eddie' Weitz was named Allied Member of the Year.
CHIEF also presented awards in the areas of operations, sales and marketing, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability.
In operations, the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association was the winner, with second place going to Elegant Hotels in Barbados.
For the Best Practice in Sales and Marketing, the winner was the Aruba Tourism Authority, with The Crane and Elegant Hotels in Barbados placing second and third, respectively.
The recipient of the CHIEF Award for Social Responsibility was Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Second place went to the St Lucia Hotel
and Tourism Association, while the third-place winner was Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba captured the CHIEF Award for Environmental Sustainability. Runners-up honours were jointly
shared by Ocean Terrace Inn in St Kitts and Elegant Hotels in Barbados. Third place went to CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa in Anguilla.