By anguillian December 14, 2012 08:41



Coba Restaurant, at Viceroy Anguilla, was the venue for the 2012 Tourism Gala and Awards Ceremony on Friday, December 7. The events, highlights of Tourism Week, were presided over by Executive Director of the Hotel and Tourism Association, Mrs. Gilda Gumbs-Samuel, and Director of Tourism, Mrs.Candis Niles. A large number of industry partners represented the public and private sectors at the twin functions.

The dinner and the awards ceremony were preceded by addresses by Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Haydn Hughes; President of the Hotel and Tourism Association, Delroy Lake; and Chairman of the Tourist Board, Leslie Richardson.

Mr. Hughes pointed to a number of objectives which he said were the goals for the establishment of the tourist industry. They included employment, the development of adequate infrastructure; the provision of some of the best collection of hotels and villas and to make Anguilla one of the safest and cleanest islands in the Caribbean.

He indicated that many of those objectives had been achieved. He said that Anguilla had some of the world’s best beaches, and there were a large number of restaurants offering unparalleled dining options. He praised the national culinary team which represented Anguilla over the years, and regretted the tragic loss of Jordel Gumbs,one of the island’s former upcoming chefs.

Mr. Hughes stressed the need for Customs and Immigration officers, ferryboat operators, porters and other persons, to welcome visitors to the island and to be cognisant of Anguilla’s dependence on the tourism industry.

“Compared with other high-end Caribbean destinations, we are special,” he continued. “The fact that over 90% of the people, who work in the hotels are Anguillians, make our product special and that’s why a visit to Colville Petty’s museum is a must.

“The Anguilla Community College has its Hospitality Studies Division which offers programmes from the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica. No longer is our tourism industry just for those who did not attain jobs in the public sector, or had the privilege to attend university. Hospitality workers can now enhance their skills in the industry and develop themselves and the tourism sector.”
The Parliamentary Secretary spoke about continuing efforts to market Anguilla and was grateful to a number of persons in Anguilla, and in the United States, who were assisting with the marketing of the island.

Newly-elected President of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association, Delroy Lake, lauded the people of the island for their hospitality shown to tourists and was delighted that a number of them were selected for awards for outstanding service. He stressed the need for local persons to be trained and to occupy leading positions in the industry. “If Anguilla is to succeed in tourism, Anguillians must be at the helm of the industry,” he emphasised. “We must ensure that Anguillians are trained at all levels of the industry.”

Mr. Lake pointed out some of the benefits of tourism to Anguilla and appealed to everyone to give the industry the support it deserved to ensure its survival and that of the island. He congratulated the nominees and winners of awards for a job well done.

Chairman of the Tourist Board, Mr. Leslie Richardson, spoke largely on tourism being the key to Anguilla’s economic success. “This industry is the main revenue earner for the island, employing many Anguillians. It provides employment for about 90% of the workforce and they pay taxes and create economic activity,” he stated.

“It is therefore incumbent on all stakeholders – and by extension to Anguilla on a whole – to do everything possible to ensure tourism remains vibrant and competitive… We need to improve our service at our entry points and control crime as safety is a major concern to all visitors. We also need sooner than later to increase our flights out of Puerto Rico and Antigua.”

The Tourist Board Chairman was of the view that 2013 promised to be a year of continued growth despite the slowdown experienced in the middle half of 2012. “We are heartened by a recent preliminary report from the ECCB which states that, according to data for the period January to September 2012, stay-over visitors increased by 23.7 per cent over the corresponding period in 2011. The Board is committed to re-directing our marketing strategies to boost our presence in the highly competitive marketing arena. It is the Board’s position, however, that a proactive approach must be made to aggressively take back Anguilla’s share of the market. This will require more targeted marketing activities, greater market segmentation and the ability to identify niche markets that will work best for Anguilla’s brand and product.”

The various award winners were as follows:

Ms Joyce Duncan, Seaport Employee of the Year, and Mr. Victor Nickeo, Airport Employee of the Year (both sponsored by First Caribbean International Bank); Cape Air, Allied Member of the Year (sponsored by Cap Juluca); Mr. Alan Gumbs and Mr. Navin Connor, recipients of the Pioneer Award (sponsored by Caribbean Commercial Bank).

DaVida Restaurant was the winner of Restaurant of the Year. The recipient was Owner/Manager, Vida Lloyd Richardson. Commenting on her award, she said: “We are truly thankful for the Restaurant of the Year Award. Since April 2009 the team has focused on developing an environment where guests will experience good old Anguillian hospitality with an Asian twist. We are blessed with a great team, great food personnel service and a special location, at Crocus Bay. Thanks for your support. Celebrate life at DaVida whenever you can.”

The Villa Member of the Year was Anguilla Villa Company represented by Catherine Orchard.

The winner of the Media House or Media Personality of the Year was Radio Anguilla (sponsored by Air Anguilla Express/Rainbow International). The award was presented to Felicia Hennis, Radio Anguilla’s Information Officer.

In receiving the award Ms. Hennis said: “Radio Anguilla is pleased to be recognized for its hard work. The Media of the Year Award is a testament of the hard work of the staff under the Direction of Ms Farrah Banks.

“Radio Anguilla continues to improve its programming and we are pleased to provide quality service to the community. It is a honour for Radio Anguilla to have been recognized for its contribution to the community, and for me I am especially proud of our news package. I’ve worked in the newsroom for at least ten years and we have always ensured that we are fair and balance in our stories. Let me thank the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association for introducing the Media award in its tourism celebrations.”

The other nominated station was Upbeat Radio.

The Employee of the Year Award went to Delta Hughes of Meads Bay Beach Villas (sponsored by the National Bank of Anguilla). The other nominees were Judi Anne Welch of Viceroy Anguilla; Miquel Medina of Carimar Beach Club; and Silvia Carty of Cap Juluca Resort, all of whom received certificates.

The Supervisor of the Year was Marcia Richardson-Forbes of Cap Juluca. Other nominees were Janice Cox of CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa; and Darren Connor of Viceroy Anguilla.

There were two special recognition presentations. The first, the F.U.F.I. Award (sponsored by Viceroy Anguilla), was in memory of the late Jordel Gumbs. The award was presented to Jackie Ruan of Ripples Restaurant who was a source of encouragement and support to Jordel. The presentation was made by chefs Dean Samuel and Darren Connor, Ethel Gumbs (Jordel’s mother), Jeff David and Gilda Gumbs-Samuel. The second presentation, a permanent crystal vase, was presented to Kathy Haskins, as Hotelier of the Year for 2012, by Delroy Lake. It was sponsored by Scotia Bank.

The Hotelier of the Year Award for 2012 was won by Jeff David (sponsored by Scotia Bank and was presented to him by Managing Director, Pamela Herbert). Until recently, Mr. David was General Manager of Viceroy Anguilla. Under his management the resort was further expanded and became involved in the sponsorship of various community activities as well as the Alwyn Richardson Primary School. He now resides in New York where he manages a major tourism property.

By anguillian December 14, 2012 08:41


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