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Omar Robinson (right), first vice-president, JHTA, presents the Hotel Manager/Supervisor of the Year Award to Marcia Morris, executive housekeeper, The Jamaica Pegasus.
Wykeham McNeill (left), minister of tourism and entertainment, congratulates Lifetime Achievement Awardee Joyce Wright, founder, Rondel Village Resorts.
Nicola Madden-Greig (right), president, JHTA, presents the Tourism Employee of the Year Award to Christopher Bailey, Appleton Estate rum tour maintenance coordinator/ supervisor.
Earl Cummings (left), senior air conditioning and refrigeration technician at Sandals Royal Caribbean, celebrates his receipt of the JHTA Hotel Employee of the Year Award with JHTA executives Nicola Madden-Greig (second left), president; Adam Stewart, second vice-president; and Camille Needham, executive director.
CEO of Sandals Resorts, Adam Stewart, shows off his Hotelier of the Year Award.
Nicola Madden-Greig (centre), president, JHTA, presents Local Transporation Provider of the Year Award to Fred Smith of Tropical Tours Limited and Mary Chambers.

JHTA awards super achievers

THE JAMAICA Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) recognised its super achievers of 2014 at its annual awards ceremony in Montego Bay recently. A summary of the awards are as follows:

Hotel Manager/Supervisor of the Year

The JHTA's Hotel Manager/Supervisor of the Year award was presented to executive housekeeper of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Marcia Morris. The other nominees were George Beswick of Couples Sans Souci, Karen Rose Grant of the Round Hill Hotel, and Nicole Mason-Lowe of Couples Swept Away.

Morris scored 100 per cent in every category considered. She was dubbed a natural leader and motivator who is held in high esteem by colleagues and guests, and one who brings her values, energy, love for people and all her skills and talents to the workplace. She was also described as a committed conservationist who is always on the lookout for ways to save the organisation money, and as a manager who employs tight controls and creativity without compromising service standards.

Abe Issa Award for Excellence

The Abe Issa Award for Excellence went to national swim champion, Alia Shanee Atkinson. This award is not limited to persons who work within the tourism industry, but is presented to individuals, groups and entities that have contributed significantly to the tourism industry and have achieved successes in promoting the reputation and image of Jamaica as a tourist destination, whether directly or indirectly and whose performance in any field brings honour, fame and glory to Jamaica. The award recipient must be of unquestionable integrity and high ethical standards.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award was 95-year-old physiotherapist and founder of the Rondel Village in Negril, Joyce Wright. Described as charming, hospitable, creative and strong. Wright was praised as a "pioneering matriarch whose innovativeness got her family's tourism business going and kept it growing for more than 30 years. She was also heralded as a pillar of the Negril community who has made an invaluable contribution to the building of the Negril resort and Jamaica's tourism.

Tourism Employee of the Year Award

The South Coast Resort area was not left out of the winnings as Christopher Bailey, maintenance cocoordinator/supervisor of the Appleton Estate Rum Tour in St Elizabeth emerged ahead of Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour's Robert Ricketts to cop the Tourism Employee of the Year Award. Bailey received accolades for being versatile and flexible and for being the go-to man in his organisation for everything relating to the general maintenance and upkeep of buildings, grounds and equipment.

Bailey scored full marks for the year's performance in every category and was described as possessing all the qualities required to excel in the tourism industry.

"A versatile and flexible team player, he assists in all areas of the operation, always extending himself to ensure that visitors have a first-class experience. Be it tour guiding or serving in the gift shop, he can be counted on to perform with excellence in any department. Professional to the core, he delivers above and beyond expectations ... . Morale is very high among the award-winning team he leads. He ensures that the work gets done, for example, the grounds and the entire facility are kept in immaculate condition. Nevertheless, he manages to make the working environment very pleasant with his humour and positive outlook," Bailey's citation read.

The Hotel Employee of the Year

The Hotel Employee of the Year Award went to Earl Cummings, senior air conditioning and refrigeration technician at Sandals Royal Caribbean. The other nominees in that category were Rohan Gordon of Eden Gardens Wellness & Lifestyle, Vivian Panton of Sans Souci, and Francella Shaw of the Charela Inn Hotel in Negril.

No stranger to awards, Cummings has copped several of Sandals' top awards, including the Ultimate Team Member of the Year for his work ethic and the value to the engineering team and the resort. He was described as an intuitive, truly outstanding hospitality professional with a genuine love for people, as well as hard-working and dedicated to his purpose.

Hotelier of the Year

CEO of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart wont Hotelier of the Year award ahead of Kathleen Doehler, of Club Riu Ocho Rios and Professor Henry Lowe of Eden Gardens Wellness & Lifestyle.

"An innovator, he is driven by a determination not only to maintain the company's hard-won reputation, but also to keep the organisation striving towards higher and higher levels of achievement. His confident, inspired leadership motivates his team members to outperform themselves, raising standards and setting benchmarks for others to follow along the way ... he has kept the organisation moving forward ... breaking new ground ... entering into uncharted territories ... and engaging in multimillion-dollar expansions," Stewarts citation read..

"He has done the work, met the criteria and raised the bar in all aspects of hotel management, displaying extraordinary creativity and innovativeness. He has continued to serve his country and his region remarkably well as tourism leader and philanthropist in his own inimitable way. He is admired and respected by his business leader colleagues, the tourism industry and his own team members for his abilities, warmth, sense of humour and humility," it added.

Awards were also presented in the Allied Members category:

Purveyor of the Year

The Purveyor of the Year award went to the 190-year-old J. Wray & Nephew, which came out ahead of Rainforest Seafoods and Smith & Stewart Distributors. The Gruppo Campari Company was lauded as the oldest company in Jamaica with a "tradition of garnering kudos for excellence ... for quality brands ideal for the hospitality industry and excellent customer service, outstanding Corporate Citizenship and for providing consistent support of the JHTA and the tourism industry as a whole".

Attraction of the Year

There was only one nominee for Attraction of the Year Award, and that went to Dolphin Cove, which was cited as unique attraction which lends excitement to the list of things to do in Jamaica, appealing to young and old, adventurous and cautious, visitors and locals. The attraction was also praised for its visionary and innovative management; service excellence and meticulous maintenance of international quality standards.

Local Transportation Provider of the Year

The Local Transportation Provider of the Year went to the Montego Bay-based Tropical Tours, which emerged ahead of Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours and Tourwise Limited. One of the largest destination management organisations in Jamaica, with over three decades of experience in the hospitality business, Tropical Tours was praised for its reliable transportation system, quality of its fleet of vehicles and its exceptional service delivered by well-trained, accommodating professional staff, including competent, knowledgeable drivers.

Int'l Airline of the Year

The International Airline of the Year Award went to JetBlue Airways which came out ahead of their colleagues American Airlines and British Airways. Jetblue was commended for providing on-time service; exceptional, well-trained customer-focused staff; clean planes; comfortable travel space and enjoyable flights, as well as its dedication to increasing airlift and growing the market. It also received kudos for supporting community projects and charitable causes for sponsoring West Indies cricket. 

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