Belize honored its best in the tourism industry at a gala event held last Friday evening celebrating the 6th Annual National Tourism Awards hosted by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza in Belize City.
Mr. Ramon Nuñez, a trailblazer in the country’s vibrant and robust tourism industry, was honored during the evening and presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his unwavering commitment to service and tourism over the past 35 years, which he still very much practices in his current professional obligations. Einer Gomez of Ramon’s Village Resort epitomized Ramon’s life and his tourism successes before he stepped up to the podium to accept his award.
Ramon & Amy“Accomplishments do not happen overnight, but once you love your country and its people you are bound to make a difference allowing the people of a country to prosper together,” said Ramon Nuñez, after accepting the award from the Minister of Tourism, Godfrey Smith. “To me, tourism is my baby. I want to see every hotel, every business related to tourism to prosper. I want people to enjoy the natural wonders that God has given my island, my town, and all the other wonderful sites in Belize. But most of all, I want visitors to enjoy our hospitality, our friendliness, our comforts and safety while visiting Belize. So I encourage all of you to work with your hearts so that tourists love our country and return time and time again. Thank you for this award, which I share with all others who give their hearts for the development of tourism in Belize.”
Ramon concluded his acceptance speech by mentioning a wonderful piece of advice given to him years ago by his beloved mother, Mrs. Regina Nuñez: “Son, do what you do best- make people smile!” Belize’s tourism pioneer then ended by saying: “I dedicate my lifetime achievement award to my beloved mother, who is in Heaven.”
OscarA total of 16 awards were presented in various categories. Another local Sanpedrano receiving an award that evening was an emotional Oscar Gutierrez, Dining Room Supervisor at Victoria House, who was named Front Line Person of the Year for his over 20 years working the frontline and positively influencing our guests.
“I want to give special thanks to the BTB for acknowledging such position,” Oscar Gutierrez told Ambergris Today on Monday. “It is a great honor to win this prestigious award. I must say that providing service with great love and effort pays off eventually. I wish to dedicate this award to my parents, Eufemia and Oscar Sr., who have been and continue being my role models and inspiration.”
For their extensive accomplishment in promoting and preserving Belize’s cultural heritage, Kriole Council was presented with the Cultural Award of the Year, while Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) received the award for Environmental Organization of the Year for their unwavering support to conservation and preservation of Belize’s natural resources. The Educational Organization of the Year Award went to the Hugh Parkey Marine Foundation for their passion in nature and conservation and their provision of marine awareness and educational programs. Atlantic Bank Ltd. was bestowed the title of Corporate Organization of the Year for excelling in product and marketing innovativeness, quality of product experience and operational performance.
Receptive Service of the Year went to Old Belize for their consistent quality services to the tourism industry, while Joe Garel took home the Tour Guide of the Year Award for his dedication and commitment to tourism and Belize. Sea Sports Belize was awarded Tour Operator of the Year for their dedication in providing quality service to the industry, and the quaint establishment of Hotel de la Fuente in Orange Walk was awarded Small Hotel of the Year for its personal and community contribution to making Belize a destination with something special for every type of traveler.
Hotel of the Year went to El Pescador South-Punta Gorda for setting international standards and expectations and for assisting its guests to see Belize as a culturally interesting destination, as well as a premier eco-tourist destination. Small Vendor of the Year went to Ms. Donatila Chun and the Toledo Craft & Pottery Women’s Group for offering exceptional service and creative and quality products.
For the first time, Special Recognition was given to the BDF Air Wing Command & The Belize Disaster and Rescue Response Team for their unwavering commitment to serving the needs of the industry and providing support in times of difficulty. The Minister’s Award was presented to Mr. Tony Vega, Sr. for his foresight, perseverance and dedication to Belizean tourism, and Special Acknowledgement was given to Ambassador Charles Tsai for his contribution to the development of Belize and support to the tourism industry.
“Tourism has become a way of life for many of our Belizean people,” commented Godfrey Smith, Tourism Minister. “It is an industry that has seen much growth and received great recognition. The annual National Tourism Awards serves to recognize our industry personnel who have committed to the development of tourism in Belize over the years. Tourism is the only industry that reaches so far into our communities making each of us a part of the singular experience that we call Belize.”
The BTB hosted approximately 350 people at the award ceremony on Friday night January 20. Musical entertainment was provided by Nelita Castillo and Ricardo Corona. MC’s for the night’s event were William Neal and Gwen Nuñez Gonzalez. The National Tourism Awards Ceremony honored organizations and persons whose performance continues to characterize distinction, comprehensive industriousness, and are thus worthy of merit. A host of industry stakeholders, distinguished guests and tourism friends gathered to honor recipients in culmination of Tourism Awareness Week 2006 celebrations.
1. Hon. Godfrey Smith presents award to Ramon Nuñez.
2. Ramon Nuñez enjoys the night at the Tourism Awards.
3. Oscar Gutierrez with his Front Line Person of the Year Award.