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Hospitality Jamaica awards recognise Bartlett as pioneer - Tourism minister receives prestigious RJRGLEANER honour

Published:Sunday | November 17, 2019 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater - News Editor
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, 2019 Pioneer Award recipient, accepts the special Joy Spence (centre) blend from the master blender. Sharing in the occasion is his wife Carmen
The Gleaner’s Hospitality Jamaica coordinator, Janet Silvera, presenting the Hospitality Personality of the Year award to Christopher Issa of Crissa Group.

Western Bureau:

Flamboyant Tourism Minster Edmund Bartlett emerged as the brightest star among the galaxy of high achievers at Friday night’s glitzy RJRGLEANER Communication Groups Hospitality Jamaica 2019 Awards when he was presented with the Pioneer Award for his enviable contribution to local, regional and global hospitality.

Bartlett was at a loss for words as he initially struggled to describe how he felt to have defied the notion that ‘a prophet is not without honour but in his own country’, before an audience featuring politicians, stakeholders in tourism, sponsors and other personalities.

“No single award has meant more to me than this award I have received tonight,” said Bartlett, in reference to the numerous major regional and international awards he has won over the past three years.

“It is wonderful when your own people recognise you for what you have done.”

Hotelier Christopher Issa also stood tall, taking home the highly revered Hospitality Personality Of The Year award, having emerged as one of the most influential players in the hospitality sector, especially in Montego Bay, where he has been making an indelible mark on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard – transforming the former Breezes Hotel into the now popular S Hotel – and has emerged as a symbol of generosity and goodwill.

In fact, in accepting the accolades showered on him by Janet Silvera, the coordinator of the Hospitality Jamaica publication, Issa used the opportunity to shower praise on those who have partnered with him in his quest for success. He also made it clear that success will also come to those who put in the work to build the sector and keep it in the forefront as one of the nation’s stories of triumph.

“Jamaica deserves your best, and if you give your best, you will be surprised what Jamaica will do for you,” said Issa, whose expertise outside of tourism spans real estate development, entertainment, banking, finance, and securities.

One award, which took on added significance was Jamaica’s Most Eco/Sustainable Resort, which went to the Ocho Rios-based Jamaica Inn Hotel. The property lost one of its co-owners, hotelier Peter Morrow, in an aircraft crash in the United States last month.

Morrow’s contribution to and love of the tourism sector was also recalled in a video presentation which preceded his former colleagues walking up to collect the award, which they dedicated to his memory.

Bartlett, who was the keynote speaker, also saw some of his major contributions to the hospitality industry highlighted via video presentation, which had him smiling with pride as he subsequently strolled to the podium, reassurred that he is now fully recognised as a champion in the sector he has worked to build locally, regionally and internationally.

In his presentation, Bartlett chronicled Jamaica’s remarkable journey in tourism over the past 50 years, painting a picture of phenomenal success, especially in the past 25 years, which has seen the sector evolve into a mega-industry, creating employment opportunities for thousands of hospitality workers and putting the nation on a path to attracting five million visitors and generating US$5 billion in tourism earnings by 2021.

“Tourism is now a real industry where people are being trained and certified in it and are earning an income from it,” said Bartlett, who cited a recent Don Anderson poll in declaring that “tourism is the best option for investment in Jamaica”.