Congratulations, Hospitality Jamaica!
Paul Pennicook, director of tourism, addresses guests and awardees at the Inaugural Hospitality Jamaica Awards at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Hospitality Jamaica, a Gleaner product, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
I am honoured to be here tonight, to participate in this celebration with Hospitality Jamaica on this, their 10th anniversary. Hearty congratulations, from the team at the Jamaica Tourist Board. Our best wishes for your continued growth and success.
During these 10 formative years, Hospitality Jamaica has touched the lives of all of us, and through its pages, we have been kept informed on all aspects of our industry. And, it is not just a matter of reporting on the news.
From the beginning, Hospitality Jamaica has been served by intrepid coordinators who have not been afraid to ask searching questions. And so the publication reports on all aspects of our industry, helping to keep our industry players on their toes.
Hospitality Jamaica has grown over the last 10 years from strength to strength, and is, indeed, the only Jamaican media outlet offering dedicated coverage of tourism issues, be they local, regional or international. It is the sole trade paper in the region - a region that is tourism-dependent, so it is a big plus for us as a destination.
HISTORY IN OUR DEVELOPMENT
Tonight's event is a clear indication that Hospitality Jamaica does not only confine itself to report on the industry. Through these inaugural tourism awards, Hospitality Jamaica is showing its commitment to the growth of the industry in the broadest sense. Jamaica is a mature tourist destination. In fact, the first hotel incentive programme was developed in the 1890s, and our first marketing brochure was published way back in 1910. So we have, in fact, been at this for some time.
Because the industry has been around for a while, it is important to find new ways to motivate the players/practitioners, and to assist in continually raising standards. These awards contribute to those ideals.
Let me be clear: there are existing award schemes which honour different sectors within the industry. But currently, there is no single award scheme which honours persons and entities across the board.
A GREAT MOTIVATOR
This is the primary reason that the Jamaica Tourist Board wholeheartedly supports the Hospitality Jamaica Tourism Awards. It serves as a motivator for the entire industry to keep improving. And it is as we keep improving, that we will be able to differentiate ourselves from other warm-weather destinations.
To all awardees, I say hearty congratulations. Ten entities have been adjudged 'Best in Class'. Well done! From where I sit, destination Jamaica has an amazing and diverse product. To be selected "best" means that you are functioning close to or at the top of your game. That makes our work at the Jamaica Tourist Board a little easier and even more enjoyable. I have not spoken to the judges, but my knowledge of the industry tells me that this should have been a very competitive set of nominees.
And tonight I will have the distinct honour of presenting a special award to one individual. To quote Cesar Chávez, "We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community ... our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own." All I will say at this point is, keep on doing what you are doing - it is a well-deserved award. Congratulations, again, to all the winners.
And in closing, let me wish you all a fantastic and memorable evening.