Tenth Annual Tourism Awards to honor the “Stars” of Tourism, Blue Water Grill & Xanadu Resort also Awarded
Industry representatives, stakeholders, celebrated guests and tourism friends all met at the Belize Biltmore Plaza’s River Hall on Thursday, June 10 with the purpose of accompanying and celebrating the recipients of this year’s Tourism Awards, now in its tenth year.
San Pedro has always had a strong presence at the awards and many nominees have come back home with winning trophies throughout the years. With no exception, this year two awards were handed out to for San Pedro. Blue Water Grill took home the award for Restaurant of the Year as they deliver a unique dining experience, ambiance, diversity and great service. Kelly McDermott Kanabar and her staff were present to accept their award.
Receiving a top award for the night was Ms. Celi McCorkle, for her pioneer work in establishing the hospitality industry and great and continuous contributions to the Tourism Industry. She took home the Lifetime Achievement award. San Pedro Town narrowly missed winning the new Destination of the Year Award and Xanadu Resort received special recognition for receiving Green Globe certification.
This year saw a total of 13 awards for the different categories and two special recognition awards. The National Tourism Awards Ceremony recognizes and honors industry partners and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the Industry.
For being essentially instrumental in preserving Belize’s cultural heritage through their music and fully exemplifying Belizean entertainment, this year’s Cultural Award of the Year went to the Three Kings of Belize; Mr. Wilfred Peters, Mr. Paul Nabor & Mr. Florencio Mes. Small Vendor of the Year went to Tutti Frutti Ice Gelateria for their creative, quality products and providing value for money with an exceptional service.
For his unmatched interpersonal skills, knowledge on Belize and ability to provide a memorable welcome and experience, Mr. Benjamin Awe was presented with the award for Frontline Person of the Year. Jaguar Reef Lodge proudly received the award for Hotel of the Year for excelling in service, ambiance, innovation and standards.
Receptive Service of the Year went to the Museum of Belize for their exceptional service to customers, offering an authentic Belizean experience and accommodating to the industry’s needs. For their variety, service excellence, innovation, safety and reliability Caves Branch Adventure Co. obtained the Tour Operator of the Year Award.
Small Hotel of the Year went to The Lodge at Big Falls for its authenticity in Belizean experience and great service while the award for Environmental Organization of the Year went to the International Center for Responsible Tourism for displaying conservation of Belize’s natural resources and promoting public awareness and education of environmental preservation.
Mr. Eloy Cuevas proudly took home the award for Tour Guide of the Year for his wealth of knowledge, positive attitude and dedication and commitment to exceptional tour guide practices. The newly introduced award for Destination of the Year went to Hopkins Village for its product enhancement, sustainability initiatives, high service standards, events and attractions. Tour Guide Rudolph Thompson was honored with a Special Recognition award for his ultimate example of dedication to the job and assisting in saving the life of a client. The other Special Recognition was given to the three Green Globe certified hotels in Belize: The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Hamanasi and Xanadu.
Every year, the Minister’s Award is presented to someone whose work and unselfish interest in the tourism industry is grounded in community service and activism. This year Mr. Brian Young filled those requirements as he became the most recent recipient of this award.
The BTB hosted approximately 250 people at the Award Ceremony. Musical Entertainment was provided by Carlos Perote and Ray Arzu Drummers. Dancing entertainment was provided by the Vista Dancers. MC’s for the night’s event were William Neal and Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez.
The 10th National Tourism Awards was broadcast live on BBN and streamed live on the Internet. At the event guests also had the opportunity to share in on their Tourism Awards experience through their Facebook and Twitter pages. Congratulations to all the winners.
More on Celi McCorkle
Celi McCorkle started the first hotel for San Pedro which was followed by the opening of the airstrip and dive shops, and the tour guiding business. Celi touched a lot of lives and opened the doors for the development of tourism. Additionally she has contributed much to the tourism industry through her efforts in BTB, BTIA, the Hotel Association and the Caribbean Hotel Association.
She was not only a pioneer, but a stalwart and pillar in tourism. On the side line Celi served as Chairlady of the new San Pedro High School and contributed time, patience, money and efforts towards education, something all Sanpedranos are grateful up to this day. This still very lovely woman, conscientious person, motivated business person, and very caring mother and friend has more credits to her name that it would take a book to do her justice. And just last year she was bestowed with Her Majesty the Queen’s Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).