Travel writer gains recognition

Isla Cozumel, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean, presented San Diego-based travel writer Maribeth Mellin with the first ever Golondrina Award, on Oct. 18, at an awards ceremony at this year`s annual Gala Cozumel event, honoring the contributions of travel industry partners. 
The Golondrina award, created to honor North American travel writers and photo journalists, was given to Mellin in recognition of her continued dedication and journalistic contribution to the island of Cozumel.

Covering Cozumel since 1986, Maribeth Mellin, a member of the Mexican Writers Alliance and Society of American Travel Writers, has written numerous feature articles about the destination highlighting the island`s beauty, culture and ecology.  Mellin`s articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country and she currently has a monthly column, “Report from Mexico,” in the San Diego Union Tribune. 
Mellin has also extensively written and contributed to several guidebooks covering the region, including the Frommer`s and Fodor`s series, Traveler`s Mexico Companion, Access Mexico and The Unofficial Guide to Mexico`s Beach Resorts, all of which contained in-depth coverage of Cozumel. For her guidebooks, Mellin has received several honors including Mexico`s prestigious “Pluma de Plata” award and the Sand Diego Press Club`s Best of Show award.

“When I first visited the island in the early 1980`s, I camped on the sand at Playa San Francisco and felt perfectly safe and serene.  When I wasn`t snorkeling in the astonishingly clear silky sea I learned `canciones` from Cozumelenos at palapa-covered restaurants on the beach,” said Mellin. “A Yucatecan hammock became my favorite bed, achiote my favorite spice. Cozumel felt like home.”

As Cozumel`s top contributing travel writer this year, Mellin was hosted by Cozumel and attended Gala 2003, where she was awarded with a statue handcrafted in the shape of a golondrina, the Spanish word for swallow. Mellin`s work was displayed at the awards ceremony and in a special exhibit at the Museum of the Island of Cozumel.

“For years, North American travel writers have provided comprehensive exposure on Isla Cozumel, and we wanted to recognise Maribeth Mellin, for her contribution and her vision and confidence in our island,” said Gaston Cantarell Diaz, president of the Isla Cozumel Hotel Association and private sector representative for the tourism promotion board. “As Cozumeleños, we take pride in the beauty and spirit of our island, and we are thrilled that U.S. journalists are spreading the word.”
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