This post is the last installment of our 2017 Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEA) blog series. For the period December 2017 to March 2018, we focused on service excellence and highlighted our 2016 TSEA National Champions; our goal was to give you a firsthand look at what embodies excellence and how these individuals overcame obstacles to be major winners in the tourism sector.
If you are just joining us, then I invite you to read the previous posts from the TSEA series, to get an idea of the awards programme. In a nutshell, the programme was created to recognize and reward individuals and organisations that consistently provide excellent service within the tourism sector.
On Saturday March 17, 2018, the ceremony for the 2017 Tourism Service Excellence Awards was held at the state of the art facility, the Montego Bay Convention Centre. Nine persons were awarded in the major categories of the awards: National Champions and Resort Area Champions.
From the 126 nominees and 21 semi-finalists, Mikhailla Robinson of the Jamaica Pegasus was selected as the Resort Area Champion for Kingston in the individual category and Hyatt Ziva and Zilara in the organization category for Montego Bay region. These two winners emerged as National Champions in the Individual and Organization categories respectively.
Seven other individuals and organisations were bestowed Resort Area Champions. They are Shanique Cunningham – Montego Bay, Romaine Meggo – Negril, Lennox Williams – Ocho Rios, Sandals South Coast, Sandals Royal Plantation – Ocho Rios, Sandals Negril, Courtleigh Hotel and Suites – Kingston.
Unbeknown to some of the semi-finalists, special awards would be allocated during the ceremony. The winners for this category received some enviable prizes and awards, in the form of grocery vouchers and scholarships amounting to over 1 million dollars. The winners of the special recognition category are John Byles, Chukka Adventures – Ocho Rios, Sue McKenzie, The Judy House – Negril, Jomo Pitterson, Dunn’s River Falls and Park – Ocho Rios, Janette Kaloo, Sunset Resorts and Villas – South Coast, Hopeton Powell, Olde Craft Market – Ocho Rios, Winston Jones, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara – Montego Bay and Michelle Sterling, Amstar DMC – Montego Bay. A special scholarship for post graduate studies was offered by the Northern Caribbean University to the Individual National Champion, Mikhailla Robinson.
The TSEA ceremony was indeed a celebration of excellence and was well represented by some of the country’s major tourism players and guests who came out in their glitz and glam for the formal affair. In keeping with the theme of excellence, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett was honoured for his recent award of 2017 Worldwide Tourism Minister of the year by the Pacific Area Writers Association (PATWA).
Guest speaker Senator Don Wehby, Group Chief Executive Officer for GraceKennedy Food Limited lent words of encouragement and applauded the tourism workers for their consistency in providing high touch service for the visitors who wish to experience all Jamaica has to offer. He implored the sector’s stakeholders to continue to create avenues for tourism workers to gain tangible benefits for their hard work.
Until next time, we thank our sponsors and all those who significantly contributed to another successful staging of the Tourism Service Excellence Awards, look out for us in 2019 when we roll out the 2018 TSEA series.