Representatives from the Belize tourism industry and the public were hosted to a special night of recognition at the Third Annual National Tourism Awards held on Friday, November 15th at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. Approximately 250 people from the tourism industry including hoteliers, tour operators, tour guides, non-governmental organizations and the business community were in attendance to witness the event, which also included entertainment from Mango Jam Band and Mr. Pablo Collado.
Eleven awards were presented to the following organizations and individuals in the respective categories for the year 2002. Environmental Organization of the Year Award was awarded to Luis Garcia of Radio Ritmo, Corporate Organization of the Year is Naturalight Productions, and Educational Institution of the Year awarded to the Center for Employment Training, Cayo. Tour Guide of the Year was awarded to Mr. Mark McField of Belize City, Receptive Services of the Year was awarded to Tropic Air. Tour Operator of the Year went to Cruise Solutions and Hotel of the Year was awarded to Ramon’s Village. The recently added, Front Line Personnel of the Year was District Tourism Trainer, Mrs. MaryBeth Maestre. The Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of outstanding and continued commitment in the development of Belize’s Tourism Industry and awarded to Mr. George Bevier of Rum Point Inn in Placencia. Special Recognition was given to Mr. Hugh Parkey (posthumously) for his dedication to tourism in Belize. The recipient of the prestigious Ministers’ Award was Mr. Hildebrant Sanders, long-time taxi driver/guide providing courteous and reliable services to both visitors and Belizeans alike for some 35 years.
“Tourism has become a way of life for many of our Belizean people. It is an industry that has seen much growth and received greater recognition,” comments Tourism Minister, Mark Espat. “The annual National Tourism Awards serves to recognize our industry personnel who have committed to the development of tourism in Belize over the years. The Awards serve as a reminder that their efforts have a meaningful impact, necessary in achieving success and the Awards Ceremony is an important means of establishing role models and recognizing excellence,” Espat went on to say.
The National Tourism Awards Ceremony is an annual event organized by the Belize Tourism Board to identify and recognize those individuals and organizations within the tourism industry and others who make significant contributions to economic development and to the community. Nominations for the National Tourism Awards were received from visiting tourists, travel writers and from the local private sector organizations across the country. The winners were selected from a panel of credible private sector organizations. The 2002 National Tourism Awards marked the closing of this year’s Tourism Week. Congratulations to all Winners as well as Nominees.