Hospitality awards serve as 'crowning moment'
Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
WESTERN BUREAU: IT WAS an ecstatic yet hugely surprised Dr Cecil Cornwall who copped The Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica's Personality of the Year title during the publication's 10th anniversary awards ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday night.
"I am indeed honoured to have got two awards in one week - the Sam Sharpe award and now this prestigious Gleaner Hospitality Award, which is indeed the crowning moment to the career of someone who has given over 25 years to the hospitality and tourism industry in the field of education and training. So I am indeed honoured and privileged and excited," Cornwall, who is the founder of Western Hospitality Institute, told The Gleaner.
"It is obvious that people are out there noticing my work, because who would have thought that the judges noticed my work and did such an extensive research to have submitted me for the award? I am totally grateful to them."
Cornwall copped the award ahead of three other tourism heavyweights: Tryall's Sam James, formerly of SuperClubs, general manager of Sandals Riviera in Ocho Rios, Brian Roper; and founder of Dolphin Cove, Stafford Burrowes.
Cornwall has provided an entry into degree programmes for scores of persons in the hospitality industry, many of whom would not have ordinarily matriculated to other institutions of higher learning.
Dubbed by many of the attendees as the Oscars of Jamaica's tourism sector, the Hospitality Jamaica Awards was established to honour the best of Jamaica's tourism offerings. It was staged by The Gleaner, in collaboration with platinum sponsors, the Jamaica Tourist Board.
Hospitality Jamaica is the island's only tourism trade publication.
Ten other categories were up for the taking on Saturday night. Island Car Rentals won top honours in the category of Best Transportation Company, edging two other finalists, Jamaica Tours and Glamour DMC.
Montego Bay's Half Moon was in fine form, copping the Jamaica's Best Eco/Sustainable Hotel and the Jamaica's Best European Plan Hotel awards, ahead of Tryall Club and Jake's in the former category and Jamaica Inn and Round Hill in the latter.
Jamaica's Best Convention Facility went to the Montego Bay Convention Centre. The other two nominees in that category were the St Andrew-based Jamaica Pegasus hotel and the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay.
Jamaica's Best Purveyor award was won by the Montego Freeport-headquartered Rainforest Seafoods, which came out ahead of its neighbours, Caribbean Producers, while Ocho Rios' Mystic Mountain held off finalists Dolphin Cove and Chukka to cop Jamaica's Best Attraction award.
The resort town of Negril shone on Saturday night as well, as the Norman Manley Boulevard-based Rondel Village took home the Jamaica's Best Small Hotel award to the Capital of Casual.
The world-renowned Round Hill Hotel, located in Hopewell, Hanover, walked away with the Jamaica's Best in Cuisine award, ahead of RIU Montego Bay and Half Moon Hotel.
There were four finalists in the category of Jamaica's Best in Entertainment. In this, RIU pulled out ahead of Sandals Resorts, Fiction Nightclub and Iberostar. However, Iberostar Grand went on to claim the Jamaica's Best all-Inclusive award over its counterparts, Sandals Royal Caribbean, RIU Tropical Bay and Jewel Dunn's River.