Gerald Christ is Hotelier of the Year
Sandals Royal Caribbean's Gerald Christ and Sandals Montego Bay's Kadeen Black topped the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's (JHTA) national awards at the organisation's 57th anniversary Annual General Meeting at Moon Palace in Ocho Rios on Saturday.
Christ, a 40-year veteran who has spent the last 12 years with Sandals Resorts International climbing the ladder to the position of general manager, is credited for his excellent analytical skills, sound business insight, and capabilities as a goal- and result-oriented professional.
The veteran hotel executive was up against the likes of Moon Palace Managing Director Clifton Reader and tourism stalwart Casita Storer, who is the general manager of Negril Tree House.
"His ability to motivate and energise has resulted in the maintenance of a highly enthusiastic team," said the JHTA.
Christ, who was born in Austria, first came to Jamaica in 1984 and worked as a trainee at the Half Moon Club before taking up a position at the Trident Villas and Hotel in Port Antonio, Portland.
The man, respected for his customer service skills, shared the spotlight with junior member of the Sandals team Black, a front-desk agent who was described by a mystery shopper as "the whole package: professionalism, multi-tasking and perseverance".
Tourism Enhancement Fund Chairman Godfrey Dyer and retired hotelier Louis Grant were both recognised with Ultimate Lifetime Achievement Awards, while Mike Fennell received the Abe Issa Award for Excellence.
Dyer, a former JHTA president who owned the Wexford Hotel for several years, shared the stage with Grant, who served in every facet of management at Sandals Resorts.
"The exemplary work of these persons embodies what has made Jamaica a truly great destination - from the hotel manager who carefully organises, leads and inspires his team to success to the hotel and tourism worker whose initiative and drive allows for the realisation of the vacation dreams of our visitors," stated JHTA President Omar Robinson.