An award is more than a plaque on the wall or a trophy in a showcase, it sends a message of highlighting excellent performance that is reinforced by the quote conjured by the famous Martin Luther King Jnr ““If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
When the Minister of Tourism, Honourable Edmund Bartlett, back in 2008 created the Tourism Service Excellence Programme, his rationale was to give appreciation to the ones who have served the tourism sector with dignity and resilience. His reasoning was justified by the programme’s major objective “to reward and recognize tourism entities and individuals within the tourism sector who have displayed top notch customer service” Taking charge of administering the programme, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) set out to find the best of the best to reward and recognize.
The programme is then an encouragement to all tourism professionals, who despite their various circumstances, adorn themselves in the garment of service excellence, and put their best foot forward to ensure that our guests enjoy our island paradise. Although they serve is various sub sectors of the tourism industry, the interconnected nature of tourism requires input by all involved to ensure an inclusive and well-rounded destination. Therefore, the airport staff being the first point of contact should be welcoming and responsive. A craft trader would provide exceptional art pieces for the hotel’s lobby or authentic memorabilia that captures the memory of the visitor’s stay. A committed concierge who puts the guests’ needs before his own, a driver who skillfully and safely traverses the turns and curves of our island home armed with information they share with discerning travelers and so on.
The awards programme is cognizant of these points, hence the reason for its extensive list of awards categories and constant deliberations to ensure that the right persons are given a public spotlight. These beacons of service excellence are ambassadors, they hold the future of the sector in their hands, and with this major responsibility, they have performed at their utmost best, and have done the sector proud.
This programme which has evolved since its first staging for this year has over 200 nominations, 87 semi-finalists and the final 25 contenders selected to vie for the major awards and prizes. It is just as exhilarating. TPDCo even took it a step further and created special awards that will guarantee craft traders and Raft Captains a chance to walk away with prizes and awards. These two groups, which the company felt are usually underrepresented in the sector have helped to provide impact and have assisted in widening the tourism scope with creativity and genuineness, some for over sixty years.
Dr. Andrew Spencer (4th left, back row)– Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited (TPDCo) and David Dobson (5th left, back row) – Senior Director in the Ministry of Tourism join the Individual finalists of the 2019 Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEA). From left, backrow Representing Angelita McDonald – Montego Bay, Paul Norman-Ocho Rios, Akeem Miller-Port Antonio, Kenard Swaby-Kingston, Leroy Miller-Port Antonio. From left, front row. Maxine Henry-Negril, Giselle Bradshaw- Negril, Marsha Wiles- Ocho Rios, Sherritta Savage-Montego Bay and Celia Steele- Kingston. The occasion was the announcement of the 2019 TSEA finalists.