CTO to Honour Four Tourism Stalwarts with Lifetime Achievement Awards at Annual Caribbean State Ball

NEW YORK, NY (May 14, 2002) - The Caribbean Tourism Organization will pay tribute to four individuals for their superior contributions and tireless devotion to the growth and success of Caribbean tourism at the 29th Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball, taking place on Friday, May 31, 2002 at the Waldorf-Astoria.  The distinguished honourees of the Lifetime Achievement Award are:

John Bell, CEO and director general, Caribbean Hotel Association; James Pepperdine, executive vice president, Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown; Erick “Willy” Rotin, past chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Association (predecessor of CTO) and co-founder of the Hotel Association of Guadeloupe (posthumously); Michael Youngman, former director of marketing, Caribbean Tourism Organization.

In the past, CTO has presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to several prominent figures who have made significant contributions to the region, including: Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Earl Graves, Cicely Tyson and New York Congressman Charles Rangel.

John Bell: John Bell joined CHA in 1974 and was appointed its first Executive Director and chairman of the Small Hotels Advisory Council.  In 1982, he was appointed to the position of executive vice president where he helped the membership of the association grow by over 300 percent.  In June 1998, CHA changed his title to Director General and CEO.

Over the past 28 years, Mr. Bell has helped create subsidiary companies to deal with the CHA`s thriving activities in training, publishing, culinary, environmental management and real estate development.  Mr. Bell has overseen the creation of several CHA signature events such as CHA Marketplace, a series of business meetings between hoteliers and wholesalers; the Small Hotels Retreat; the “Taste of the Caribbean” culinary event; the Leadership Conference for national hotel association executives; the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference; and the annual Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference.


James Pepperdine: James “Jim” Pepperdine is executive vice president of Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown (YP&B), America’s leading marketing, advertising, research and public relations agency specialising in the travel and hospitality industry.

From 1972 to 1974, Mr. Pepperdine served as president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). In 1974, he was selected by the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTA) to serve as executive director.  During his two-year tenure at CTA, he was responsible, among other things, for creating various CTA chapters, establishing an office in Europe, and producing Caribbean supplements or special sections in consumer trade magazines.

In 1976, Mr. Pepperdine helped found Robinson, Yesawich & Pepperdine, now Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown.  At that time, he created and sponsored the prestigious Caribbean “Hotelier of the Year” Award, which is presented annually by CHA to the most outstanding hotelier in the Caribbean.

Erick “Willy” Rotin: Erick “Willy” Rotin was completely devoted to the growth of tourism in Guadeloupe.  Mr. Rotin co-founded the Hotel Association of Guadeloupe in 1976 and served on its board until 1990. From 1978-1985, he was a Regional Delegate of Tourism and under his direction, the first official event of the Route du Rhum, an international nautical event, took place in Guadeloupe in 1978.

Mr. Rotin was well-respected and admired by his colleagues which led him to be elected in 1981 as President of the Caribbean Tourism Association (CTA), an organisation that consisted then of 27 member countries in the Caribbean. Also in 1981, he opened the Regional Centre for the Observation of Tourism Activities in Guadeloupe. From 1983-1984, he was Interim President and Director General of Air Guadeloupe.

Erick “Willy” Rotin died on January 25, 1997.

Michael Youngman: Michael J. Youngman, an English-born and educated airline and marketing executive, assisted in the evolution of American Airlines and subsequently became the airline’s first Director of Marketing for the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

In November 1991, he assumed the position as Director of Marketing for the Caribbean Tourism Organization and held this post until he retired in March 2002 from an extensive and highly successful career in Caribbean tourism.  As CTO’s Director of Marketing, he was responsible for all regional marketing activities worldwide for member states of CTO.

He served on the Board of the Caribbean Tourism Association (which preceded CTO) for four terms as Secretary/Treasurer, where he helped to develop and launch the concept of CTO Chapters.  Under his direction over the past 10 years, the CTO Chapter system has grown to 44 Chapters worldwide.

He counts among his most cherished accomplishments the CTO/CHA Regional Marketing Programme of 1993 that dramatically reversed a downward trend in the North American Market. The programme was the first of its kind and has since been copied by other destinations.