Thumbs up for Hospitality Jamaica Awards
Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau: When The Gleaner Company's premier tourism product, Hospitality Jamaica, celebrates its 10th anniversary during a glitzy awards gala this Saturday night at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in St James, the event will have the full blessing of major stakeholders in the local hospitality sector.
Businessman Godfrey Dyer, a former chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), said the birth of the inaugural Hospitality Jamaica awards can serve as a platform through which excellence in the industry is recognised for years to come.
"I was president of the JHTA (Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association) when Hospitality Jamaica was launched 10 years ago," said Dyer, arguably one of the most respected voices in local tourism. "I gave the keynote address at the launch, so I am naturally proud to see the achievements to date."
He added: "Such an event is the ideal tool that is needed to encourage industry players to strive for excellence."
In a recent interview with The Gleaner, Jamaica's director of tourism, Paul Pennicook, another reputable personality in the hospitality sector, said the awards gala would be a unique opportunity to highlight the successes of the industry.
"Jamaica's tourism product is outstanding, and this kind of recognition will serve as a motivator to keep improving. The Jamaica Tourist Board is pleased to support the Hospitality Jamaica Tourism Awards," said Pennicook.
ALL SYSTEMS GO
With just days to go and the event generating enormous energy, which is being driven by the grand expectation as to who will be specially recognised through the awards for their contribution to the sector, Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica's coordinator, said it was now a case of all systems go.
"There is a huge buzz about the event, and we have already shortlisted the nominees for each category," Silvera told The Gleaner yesterday. "More than 200 persons have so far confirmed that they will be in attendance … . We will be showcasing some of Jamaica's best in entertainment."
Awards will be at stake in 10 categories. The awards include the Best EP, Best All-inclusive, Best Small/Boutique, and Best Eco/Sustainable hotels.
The other categories include a Best Purveyor, Best Transportation (ground or air), Best Attraction, Best in Entertainment, Best Convention Centre, and Best Cuisine. One individual in the sector who has excelled over the years as a good ambassador of the industry will be recognised.
"We're thrilled to be involved with this timely, forward-thinking project," Dittie Guise, the general manager of the Montego Bay Convention Centre's, told The Gleaner recently. " … We've always maintained that what's good for Jamaica is good for us."