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Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett (left),. converses with two of the 2018 Tourism Service Excellence Awards individual finalists – Nardia Angus (centre) from GoldenEye Resort, St. Mary, and Kingsley Blake from Round Hill Hotel, Hanover, during a ceremony at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on March 12 to announce the 19 entrants.
Photo: Rudranath Fraser

Story Highlights

  • Tourism service excellence will be celebrated this weekend when industry stakeholders are rewarded for outstanding performances in 2018.
  • Ten entities and nine individuals, representing Jamaica’s five resort regions, are vying for coveted prizes in the Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEAs).
  • Included are airfare to multiple island destinations courtesy of Caribbean Airlines; high-level accommodation by Sandals; a cruise courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited; and $100,000 cash.

Tourism service excellence will be celebrated this weekend when industry stakeholders are rewarded for outstanding performances in 2018.

Ten entities and nine individuals, representing Jamaica’s five resort regions, are vying for coveted prizes in the Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEAs).

Included are airfare to multiple island destinations courtesy of Caribbean Airlines; high-level accommodation by Sandals; a cruise courtesy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited; and $100,000 cash.

Winners will be named during a glitzy ceremony to be held on Saturday (March 30), at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James.

The 19 finalists were chosen from 107 nominees, comprising 64 individuals and 43 organisations.

Contending entities are VIP Attractions and El Sol Vida – Kingston; Jamaica Inn and Miss T’s Kitchen – Ocho Rios; Deja Resort and Half Moon Hotel – Montego Bay; Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience and Ultimate Freedom Bed and Breakfast – South

Coast; and Tryall Golf and Country Club and Beaches Negril – Negril.

The individuals are Caraline Bonner (VIP Attractions) and Duane Phillips (Knutsford Court Hotel) – Kingston; Nardia Angus (GoldenEye Resort) and Paul Norman (Dolphin Cove Attraction) – Ocho Rios; Conroy Thompson (Half Moon Hotel) and Kingsley Blake (Round Hill) – Montego Bay; Coleen Powell Gordon (Jakes Treasure Beach) – South Coast; and Shenade Quarrie (Sandals Negril) and Yanike Brown (Beaches Negril) – Negril.

The awards scheme is organised by the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) in tandem with the Ministry of Tourism and several other portfolio agencies, and private-sector stakeholders.

Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who spoke during the launch at the Spanish Court Hotel earlier this month, highlighted the extent of stakeholder input that goes into organising the event, noting that “each year, it gets bigger and better”.

Additionally, he said the sense of accomplishment by workers who are adjudged winners “has given them pride, as it has provided levels of exposure for them in other parts of the region”.

Mr. Bartlett also underscored the importance of service excellence in tourism, noting that 60 per cent of the value of visitors’ experience in any destination “is service”. He noted that those who do it best will secure the greatest dividends.

This, he pointed out, was evident for Jamaica in 2018, when the country “broke records” on the way to surpassing 2017 visitor arrivals and earnings.

“We entertained 4.31 million visitors and they spent US$3.3 billion. That helped us to employ 120,000 people directly… and indirectly, another 250,000. These out-turns also enabled tourism to contribute some US$450 million to the gross domestic product [while] the overall US$3.3 billion generated enabled us to provide over 50 per cent of the foreign exchange for the country,” the Minister outlined.

He noted that delivering high-quality service has made the destination competitive, and has enabled Jamaica to generate repeat business averaging approximately 42 per cent, which is the highest in the Caribbean.

He said the 2018 TSEA finalists have contributed significantly to that out-turn, for which they are being celebrated.

“Every one of you is a winner. We [all] are winners because we are offering a higher customer value proposition than our [counterparts],” he added.

For his part, TPDCo Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Spencer, pointed out that among the TSEAs’ objectives “is not just to honour you… but to make what you have done aspirational and inspirational to others”.

Stakeholder partners and sponsors for the 2018 TSEAs include the Jamaica Tourist Board, Tourism Enhancement Fund, Spruce Up Jamaica, EXIM Bank, HEART Trust/NTA, and Montego Bay Convention Centre.