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Jun 9, 2011

Hoteliers and industry stakeholders awarded at Tourism Presentation

This morning the BTB held a presentation on the state of the industry. That was preceded on Wednesday by its annual award show. It is the premier event in the BTB calendar of activities in which the stakeholders get recognition in a number of categories; from the Frontline Person, to the best restaurant and the Hotel of the Year.  Both the west and the peninsula split the awards. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has a report.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Tourism in the Jewel has flourished into a multimillion dollar industry over the past decade becoming a perfect travel destination from what was once a hidden secret in the heart of Central America.  Nevertheless, the significance of changing and growing the tourism product is not lost on the industry’s many stakeholders who remain dedicated to the work that is necessary for its improvement.  The Eleventh Annual National Tourism Awards is the platform where recognition is given to the efforts of just about everyone involved in the travel business.

Selenie Matus

Selenie Matus, Director of Tourism

“We received a total of about four hundred and sixty nominations that came in from throughout the country for all the six important categories in the awards and this is an important process for us because it really helps us bring to the fore those examples in excellence and service that are so critical to growing the industry.”

Among the nominees for the coveted Frontline Person of the Year Award was Althea Schable.  A reservations manager at Chabil Mar in Placencia, her post exemplifies excellence and service in the hotel industry.  She is at the front and center of meeting and greeting guests at the resort.  It is no wonder then that Schable would receive the sought-after individual award.

Althea Schable

Althea Schable, Winner, Frontline Person of the Year

“I’m very much surprised that I did win it because at my job really all my co-workers are all frontline workers.  [They also provide] excellent service.  We all work together as a team.  I love my job, love where I work.  [They are] great owners [and a] great management team.  So it is a shock.  I’m honored to get it but it’s all for them too.”

Placencia with its breadth of sandy beaches and pristine marine ecosystems is synonymous with luxury getaways.  It is also famous for fine dining.  The prestigious honor of Restaurant of the Year was presented to Maya Beach Hotel Bistro.  Proprietors John and Ellen Lee have been in business on the peninsula for the past seven years.

John Lee

John Lee, Winner, Restaurant of the Year

“We do what we know.  We like food, we like wine and we started a small restaurant and it has just grown to something more than we expected and we’re glad that people there and people there and people in Belize like what we have to offer.”

Ellen Lee

Ellen Lee, Winner, Restaurant of the Year

“That’s the thing that’s the nicest about it to, you know, put in all that effort and to realize that people in Placencia are, you know, happy about our place and that now being recognized by the industry is the best thing that could happen.”

Not to be outdone by competition in the south the Cayo District also claimed two of the six awards.  Small Hotel of the Year went to Table Rock Jungle Lodge while Hotel of the Year went to Lucy and Mick Fleming’s the Lodge At Chaa Creek.

Allan Spring, Winner, Small Hotel of the Year

Allan Spring

“I think there’s something for everybody in the Cayo District.  Almost all the lodges are family run and they reflect the families and their things and Table Rock is a culmination of our dreams to come down to Belize to live with nature and that type of thing so we are right in the rainforest.  We haven’t cleared the trees and that type of thing.  We have outdoor thatched dining.  Cayo’s a beautiful where you don’t have to worry about mosquitoes and flies and yet we offer gourmet dining in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Our staff works really hard and we believe that they deserve most of the credit for this award.”

Expanding on the idea of family business which includes a number of Belizean employees turned extended relatives is Mick Fleming.  Amazingly the Lodge at Chaa Creek started with an initial investment of three hundred U.S. dollars.

Mick Fleming, Winner, Hotel of the Year

“Lucy and I are the co-owners of the Lodge At Chaa Creek and we’ve lived in Belize for thirty-four years and we’ve had a blast.  We have loved every moment of what Belize has to offer.

Mick Fleming

We have flourished under the freedom, I think, of what Belize has given to us and not just us as two individuals but the way that everybody who’s a part of our organization has developed and the skills that they have taken on and the cost of their lives.  I mean as I said earlier on there are people in the audience here who are part of our life and there are so many others at Chaa Creek who have been with us for anywhere up to twenty-seven years.  We have five members of our staff who were over twenty years and probably fifty percent of our staff who have been with us for ten years plus.”

The National Tourism Awards is one of several annual activities organized by the Belize Tourism Board to draw attention to achievements within the industry. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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8 Responses for “Hoteliers and industry stakeholders awarded at Tourism Presentation”

  1. Rod says:

    If you notice here not one belizean is mentioned this is what you get when you have a pm who is selling out the country piece by piece to the us only Americans taking over the whole country pm selling out the country for a few pieces of silver go on judas barrow sell out the whole country.

  2. c says:

    this should send a message to us all… the fact that lone americans won, menas that we need fu learn to do things betta.

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    Where are the Belizeans.This is prove that our country has been sold to foreigners.

  4. Disappointed says:

    I totally agree “c” from what I have observed Belizeans do not have any business sense. Their attitude when they have a business is to give the minimum and collect the maximum that is not good mentality when doing business. Americans like them or not do know how to do business and give good service for your money, and that is because they were taught that the US is so competitive when it comes to business that you do not have a choice but to give good service. In Belize the attitudes of Belizeans in business is “Take it or Leave it I don’t care someone else will buy it” then they wonder why they go out of business shortly after. Greed is not good character for doing business, referrals and repeat business is what keep a business going for years and years. When Belizeans learn that then maybe they will be better business people.

  5. cg says:

    oh will you please just stop. these people be it belizeans or americans are doing wonderfully for Belizeans and creating jobs. why does it all have to be negative? foreigners are everywhere. If you don’t like it tell all them Belizeans living in AMERICA to get their butts back home and work hard here to develop their own country and stop selling themself out to America.

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    All of the Americas are populated with immigrants. Even the North, Central and South American Indian tribes and civilations were formed by people migrating. I was born to parents who migrated. Over 5 generations of my family came before me as immigrants. And then, my entire geneology is made up of the first migrant tribes to Western Europe and the British Isles. So, having come from Jamaica, as a migrant Jew Gyal, yesssss. I am now in the promised land – the great and beautiful Belize. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to live here, to grow here, to love here. Some were born here and think they have no choice. I made the choice to come here, because I thought it was that great. You know what, it is that great, and it is that beautiful. Thank you to all my Belizean friends, and those I have yet to meet. Thank you! I love the Belizean people and I love being a part of the Placencia community. Finally, I’m home. Home is where your heart is. Well, my heart is in Belize. All of it!! I will spend the rest of my life bringing as many visitors as I can to Belize to experience the natural wonders that are in this incredible country. I want to share with the Belizean people the benefits of a healthy tourism industry. Belize is not selling out. Belize is here for the Belizeans, and I will play my part to make sure my fellow Belizeans join in the rewards.

  7. Mad at all the crime says:

    @ Rod. STOP BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT FOREVERYTHING! The reason why the awards have gone to all foreigners is because they allhave one thing in common and that is that they work as a “team”! They know their purpose, they know what they want hence they work and do the sacrifice and go the extra mile in their business.
    Fact of the matter is that the majority of belizeans ARE LAZY! they look and look for work yet pray they don’t find any. Very few Belizeans are willing to go the extra mile for their work especially if they are working for a belizean. I say it from experience because I run a business and I know how difficult and challenging it is to work with your very own Belizeans. They have little qualifications and yet they want mega pay cheques. How cane we ever reach to these award ceremonies if we as Belizeans do not work together. If we would only STOP putting politics into everything Belize would be a more prosperous and productive country.

    Hats off to Mr. & Mrs. Fleming. They have worked tediously for what they have and the award was well deserved!

  8. franz says:

    Belize is just not ready yet …..not even the panel of judges they are not seeing the big picture .everyone just want it easy and the people who have the money and the strings to pull always come on top ….that is Belize…..its not what u know ….LIK WE SEH……DA NO WEH U KNOW….. DAH NO WHO U KNOW…..!!!!!!!

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