Iberostar, Rondell, Half Moon top Hospitality awards
Adrian Frater, News Editor
WESTERN BUREAU: HALF MOON, Iberostar Grand, and Rondell Village had their penchant for excellence rewarded in fine style Saturday night when they emerged the toast of The Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica 10th anniversary awards, which unfolded at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The 60-year-old Montego Bay-based Half Moon, a luxury resort and spa of enviable reputation, copped both the Jamaica's Best EP Hotel and the Jamaica's Best Eco/Sustainable Hotel awards; Iberostar Grand, also based in Montego Bay, took the Jamaica's Best All-Inclusive award; while Rondell Village, located in Negril, took the Jamaica's Best Small/Boutique Hotel award.
Committed to development
In hailing the three stellar awardees and the other recipients, Paul Pennicook, Jamaica's director of tourism, said the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB)-sponsored event shows that Hospitality Jamaica was fully committed to the development of the country's tourism sector.
"Tonight's event is a clear indication that Hospitality Jamaica does not confine itself only to the industry," said Pennicook. "Through this inaugural tourism awards, Hospitality Jamaica is showing its commitment to the growth of the industry itself in the broadest sense of the word."
On a night when rich accolades flowed generously, Dr Cecil Cornwall, who created the Montego Bay-based Western Hospitality Institute, stood out like a beacon among his peers, walking away with the esteemed Hospitality Personality of the Year award, which made him the first recipient of the Ken Kennedy award.
"This (award) means the world to me ... . It is the icing on the cake," said Cornwall, who fought back tears as he accepted the award. "I am elated ... unbelievably happy ... . Words cannot express my true feelings."
Janet Silvera, the coordinator of Hospitality Jamaica, said Cornwall was the ideal recipient for an award named in honour of the late Ken Kennedy, who was the visionary behind Hospitality Jamaica when it came to the fore a decade ago.
"Ken Kennedy was a visionary and so is Dr Cornwall, so I could not think of a person who is more suited for such an award," said Silvera. "Dr Cornwall single-handedly started training youngsters for the hospitality sector and has since risen to the level where he is now able to offer bachelor degrees internationally."
Cornwall's Western Hospitality Institute is often likened to a conveyor belt as a consequence of its continuous turning out of world-class graduates for the hospitality sector. Just last week, he was presented with the Sam Sharpe award for his contribution to the hospitality sector.
"We feel our tourism product is the best in the Caribbean, and we believe this is so because our stakeholders are able to compete among the best of the best in the world," said Silvera. "The people who got awards tonight are those who recognised that, in order to compete, they must be ahead of the game - world-class."
Jamaica's Best Transportation Company/ Destination Management Company (DMC) - Island Car Rental.
Jamaica's Best Convention Facility - Montego Convention Centre.
Jamaica's Best Purveyor - Rainforest Seafood.
Jamaica's Best Attraction - Mystic Mountain.
Jamaica's Best Eco/Sustainable Hotel - Half Moon.
Jamaica's Best Small/Boutique Hotel - Rondell Village.
Jamaica's Best in Cuisine - Round Hill.
Jamaica's Best in Entertainment - RIU Montego Bay.
Jamaica's Best EP Hotel - Half Moon.
Jamaica's Best All-Inclusive - Iberostar Grand.
Hospitality Personality of the Year (The Ken Kennedy award) - Dr Cecil Cornwall.