The Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo), the implementing agency for the Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEA) bestowed 4 individuals and 5 organizations at the resort area level and a National Individual and National Organization Champion as well 5 special recognition awards in the 2017 staging.
The ceremony to recognise and reward the winners was held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Saturday March 17, 2018. Created by the Ministry of Tourism, the programme saw its 6th successful staging. This year, both individuals and organizations that consistently showcased excellent customer service delivery were recognised for their contribution to the sector. From the 126 nominations, 21 were selected as semi-finalists and 9 emerged as winners.
The 2017 TSEA Resort Area champions in the organization category are Courtleigh Hotel and Suites – Kingston, Hyatt Ziva and Zilara – Montego Bay, Sandals Negril, Sandals Royal Plantation- Ocho Rios and Sandals South Coast. The individual winners are Mikhailla Robinson, The Jamaica Pegasus – Kingston, Shanique Cunningham, Sandals Royal – Montego Bay, Romaine Meggo- Sandals Negril and Lennox Williams, Golden Eye – Ocho Rios.
Mikhailla Robinson from the Jamaica Pegasus, Kingston emerged as the National Individual Champion and Hyatt Ziva and Zilara – Montego Bay, the Organization National Champion. Both received prizes valued at over 1 million dollars.
Minister of Tourism, Honourable Edmund Bartlett, during his address, encouraged the service providers to continue operating at a high standard, as their tremendous work ethic allows Jamaica to occupy a leading position, thereby contributing to economic growth and development of the sector and country.
“”You are the reason the sector has been growing consistently for the past 36 years, and because we have seen the importance of our people and their contribution to the sector, we have been developing strategies centered around human capital, which begins with training. This (training) allows you to hone your skills and creative energies to enable you to provide outstanding service.”
He went further to say that it is service that sets Jamaica apart and gives the country its competitive advantage.
“Service separates us and leaves a conversation on the lips of visitors for many years to come; hence our strategy to train is ongoing. With our Jamaica Centre of Tourism Innovation (JCTI), we will see our first cohort of graduates in April and the Craft Development Institute (CDI) will help you to broaden your scope and create exciting cultural items. Our intention is to create fully rounded Jamaicans who can cater to the world.”
He noted that once workers are allowed to realize their full potential, then they will be able to innovate and respond to the needs of the industry, which is no longer seasonal and workers will have sustainable jobs. Other initiatives to ensure their permanency include the tourism pension plan, which he stated will be presented to Parliament for approval this year.
Senator Don Wehby, Group Chief Executive Officer for GraceKennedy Limited, as guest speaker at the ceremony also encouraged the service providers to do their best at all times. During his presentation, Senator Wehby also called on the government to provide housing solutions for tourism workers, as he cites that people are the greatest resource and should be incentivized for their contribution.
“You (semi-finalists) keep Jamaica on the visitors’ minds as the best destination and reinforce the nation’s reputation each time you interact with guests, so as you continue to contribute to your sector’s growth, never be afraid to dream big, work hard, have a passion and believe in yourself. When you perform well, we are reminded that we have to protect you, our greatest asset and reward you for your dedication.” He said.