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Top tour operators to be honoured at Blue Mountain Awards

Published:Wednesday | April 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM
During both church services, The Jamaica Tourist Board donated to the outreach ministries of each church. Above, Marshalee Spencer, senior manager, Human Resource Department, makes the presentation to Deacon Dr Anthony Allen (left) of the Bethel Baptist Church. The donation will be used for the significant outreach work the church is doing in the community.
JTB AND ITS PARTNERS GATHER TO GIVE THANKS - The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) family and its industry partners gathered at the Bethel Baptist Church in Kingston and the Calvary Baptist Church in St James to commemorate the JTB's 60th anniversary. It was at time for the collective to give thanks to God for the accomplishments of the organisation over these six decades. Above, director of tourism, Paul Pennicook (fourth right) is surrounded by former directors of tourism, JTB staff members, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and its agencies, tourism partners and stakeholders. April through December 2015 is earmarked as the 60th anniversary celebratory period. During this time, there will be a planned schedule of commemorative activities.

THE TOP-selling tour operators for Jamaica will gather in Montego Bay, the island's tourist capital for the Blue Mountain Awards on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Jamaica's prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, will be patron and a special guest at the black-tie gala honouring top-performing tour operators. This event is one of the activities to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

First given in 1983, the Blue Mountain Awards were created to honour tour operators who generated the most business for Jamaica. They have been awarded on three other occasions, with the most recent being in 2005, when the selection committee recognised top operators from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), Italy and Germany as part of the JTB's golden anniversary. Then, tour operators from the island's main source markets won fourteen awards.

The award committee is chaired by Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's director of tourism, and comprises members of the JTB and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

In his reflection on the 60th anniversary of the JTB, Pennicook said, "As the JTB celebrates this important milestone, we are cognisant that there are a number of individuals, entities and organisations that have contributed to our success. The tour operators are a major part of that success as they sell travel on behalf of Jamaica. We remain a top destination in the region, because they help us to maintain our market share. I am, therefore, delighted to have this opportunity to appreciate these partners who help us share the Jamaican experience with the world."

The criteria for winning this prestigious award is based on productivity and percentage increase in business. This will be determined by assessing the total number of room nights booked for 2014 and the tour operators' individual percentage change in revenue over the last two travel periods. This year, 12 awards and five special awards will be given to tour operators. The awardees are from the United States, Latin America, Canada, the UK and Europe.

The invite-only weekend affair will begin with an evening reception on Friday, May 1. On Saturday, May 2, guests will play golf or enjoy spa treatments, then attend a black-tie award ceremony hosted by Simpson Miller later that evening at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

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