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May 20, 2013

Placencia sweeps Tourism Awards

The biggest event in the tourism calendar is the National Tourism Awards. This year it did not disappoint; the event was moved to Bannister Caye where the guests, dressed in white, arrived by catamaran from the Old Belize pier. The highlight was the announcement of the nine winners in the industry… and move over San Pedro, the hottest area is the Placencia peninsula. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Twelfth Annual National Tourism Awards, held in recognition of the efforts of all stakeholders in the travel industry, took place on Bannister Caye on Saturday night.  The event, organized by the Belize Tourism Board, was well attended.  It highlighted the importance of developing and strengthening our tourism product.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“Your commitment to service excellence helps to set us apart from our competitors in this region.  As we present the awards this evening, several key words will resonate: development, high standards, innovation, sustainability, authenticity.  These are just some of the things that help to make our tourism product offerings parallel to none.  Tourism continues to be one of the main pillars of our national economy and for this reason, among others we must always seek to improve capacity of Belize as a world class premier vacation destination in order to meet the increasing demands of the ever-discerning traveler.”


Candidates for the sought-after Small Hotel of the Year Award included Singing Sands Inn, a private, out-of-the-way seafront resort on Maya Beach.  It offers a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea, as well as the nearby Placencia Lagoon.


Winner, Small Hotel of the Year Award

“My wife and I, her sister and her husband, we wanted to find a place in the Caribbean to do a life change so we found the Singing Sands in May of 2008 and then [we] closed it, renovated it and re-opened in February of 2009.  Our tag line is casual elegance, so what we’ve tried to do is create more of a Belizean feel here, you know, with your thatched roof cabanas, not your typical resort, boutique resort and our aim is to make it intimate.  I believe it’s very sexy.”


Placencia, with its stretch of sandy beaches and immaculate surroundings, is one and the same with haute living.  It is also celebrated for fine dining.  The impressive distinction of Restaurant of the Year went to Maya Beach Bistro.  It is the second time proprietors John and Ellen Lee would win the prestigious award.


John Lee

John Lee, Winner, Restaurant of the Year

“This is a great honor and I’m sure all of our staff are watching this tonight and they’re really happy and it’s them who have made this what it is and we’re really proud of them all.”


Among the nominees for Frontline Person of the Year was Natalie Ranguy of Chabil Mar’s Villas.  Her job epitomizes quality of service in the hotel industry.


Natalie Ranguy

Natalie Ranguy, Winner, Frontline Person of the Year

“Whenever I do anything I do it to the best of my ability and I thank you very much for this award and I’ll share it with the rest of frontline. Thank you.”


The night’s biggest win for Hotel of the Year, a victory for an industry stakeholder outside of Placencia, went to San Ignacio Resort Hotel.


Miriam Roberson, Proprietor, San Ignacio Resort Hotel

Miriam Roberson

“It’s very humbling.  It’s quite an honor.  We did it Paulita!  I can’t believe it!  It’s really hard to wrap up thirty-seven years in just a few words but we’re living a legacy and it makes it even more special. We are, like I said, living a dream and reliving a dream, building a dream that started a long time ago.  But the people that are behind it, our staff, who would fill this stage if they knew what was happening tonight, we owe them the biggest thank you and we take this back home to them.”


Of the nine categories for this year’s awards, seven went to individuals and businesses in Placencia.  Chairman of the local chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association is Stewart Krohn.


Stewart Krohn

Stewart Krohn, Chairman, Placencia BTIA

“It was almost a clean sweep Isani, just a great night for Placencia.  I think it’s a credit for how the community pulls together at that destination, you know, we get into our little scrapes now and then but when it comes down to it everyone is working towards a common goal and we want the destination to be the best it can be.  We want the country to be the best tourism destination in the world.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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7 Responses for “Placencia sweeps Tourism Awards”

  1. Storm says:

    Congratulations to all of the winners, who have worked hard to open up new areas for tourism. Their communities are lucky to have them.

    As for Ambergris Cay, the awards might reflect what we all see in the news and comments here, San Pedro is going down the drain, too many thugs, too many drugs. Sad to see that. The King is dead, long live the King!

    San Pedranos should think long and hard about how far they want to let their island descend before they start to work and fight to reclaim it and restore it. Is it time to throw out the “elected leaders” there under whose leadership the island is going to hell?

  2. oscar965 says:

    @storm…I agree with you 100%. This Island has seen an influx of hard working Belizeans and people from around the world..and it was honest hard work that got San Pedro to where it is. But with the good also come the bad…and yes too many thugs have come in…but when you try to do something to stop this…there is public outrage…things like having a manifest on the boats for the police and authorities to know who comes in and out…and so many other good ideas to take the crime element out…but then they put in the human rights issue…the issue that a Belizean has a right to be where they want…so politician bend down to the public outrage and the thugs stay on the island…sad….so sad….

  3. Eye in the Sky says:

    Did the police ever find out who murdered Kelvin Wade on Bannister Caye several years ago.

  4. Seletar says:

    @Eye in the Sky, you have an impressive memory, and ask a good question. Wonder if we’ll see an answer?

  5. legodis says:

    Oscar ,Storm,I just hope you all are talking about personal experience in the field of tourism ,if yo have any,it is obvious that the winners have been elected before hand , It is also obvious that the BTB is focusing on places that need the marketing and the exposure.

    Happy to say that San Ignacio’s winning is well deserved,after so many years in business.
    But very disappointed that the front line personal of the year could not even say a good speech and that our very own minister could not even recognize San Pedro’s great achievement as The number 1 island in the world,could you imagine the world recognizing San Pedro and our very own country not doing so ,this leaves too little to talk about the BTB.
    Regarding the thugs ,anywhere you go there are thugs .I surely hope you do not live in Belize city because if you all do then be very careful the stone might just happens to come back and hurt you.

  6. pedro says:

    placencia is getting all the credit, but I hope they know what development comes with, just wait and you will be surprise, I wish then good luck.

  7. Luisa says:

    legodis you are perfectly right… San pedro has just been nominated best island of the world and many others.. This is just marketing so these businesses have a chance. san pedro has alerady earned its repputation and everyone knows iit has the best resorts, restaurants and first class service. A San pedro hotel won the best hotel in the world. So they do not need these local awards and is bestowed to destinations that need the push. In san pedro no one reallly looks forward to these awards anymore. they look for international awards.. hope it helps placencia because at the end we are all belizeans

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