On Saturday, August 1st, the 2015 Belize Tourism Awards was held at the Holiday Hotel in beautiful Ambergris Caye (Belize’s most popular tourist destination). A better location couldn’t have been chosen since the reception venue was celebrating 50 years of being in business. This is a big deal in Belize because the travel industry is still very young and the tourism pioneers had to fight with tooth and nail to make things work. To this very day there is still not enough recognition by the government of tourisms important role in the economy. But enough about that, the 2015 award winners deserve the exposure and all the congratulations.
Front-line person of the year
Roberto Guerra of La Beliza Resort won the award of frontline person of the year. This honour goes to an individual who always puts the happiness of visitors and their experiences, before themselves. It is usually given to individuals such as bartenders, servers, and front desk staff.
Tour guide of the year
Desmond Ramirez of Belcampo Lodge won the award for tour guide of the year. This award is given to a tour guide that demonstrates exceptional knowledge of the Belize’s natural attractions and it’s history, culture and heritage. They give each guest an unforgettable vacation experience through exceptional leadership.
Cruise tour guide of the year
Axel Chavin of Dark Night Cavetubing Adventure won the award for cruise tour guide of the year. This award category is new this year and its purpose is to recognize tour guides who do exceptional work in the cruise industry.
Tour operator of the year
Caves Branch won the Tour Operator of the Year. This award is an affirmation of the positive and vital role of good tour operators in Belize. Priority is placed in providing superb excursions, excellent customer service, and most importantly, the safety of guests; which in return gives every tourist an unmatched vacation experience.
Cruise tour operator of the year
Calypso Train Tours won the Cruise Tour Operator of the Year. This award category is new this year and its purpose is to highlight the important role that cruise tourism has in the overall promotion of Belize as a destination.
Restaurant of the year
The Guava Limb Café won the restaurant of the year award. This honour is given to a restaurant which has demonstrated to surpass other food establishments by providing a wonderful dining experience through exceptional food, creative concoctions, and excellent customer service.
Guest House of the year
Hickatee Cottages won the guesthouse of the year award. This award is new this year – it has been separated from the small hotel of the year category. The focus is to recognize the important role of bed and breakfast accommodations.
Small hotel of the year
Table Rock Lodge received the small hotel of the year award. This award is given to a boutique hotel which strays from the ordinary but respects the elements that make Belize a unique destination. The hotel and staff must illustrate eco-consciousness, character and innovation.
Hotel of the year
Gaia River Lodge received the hotel of the year award. This honour recognizes a hotel that exceeds excellence in all forms – a true example to other hotels in Belize. Perfect ambience, the staff offers exceptional service and positive attitude, facilities and amenities are outstanding, and each visitor experiences the best of what Belize has to offer.
Festival of the year
The San Pedro lobsterfest won the award for festival of the year. This award is given to the best Belize festival that has achieved the most success by showcasing the country’s rich diversity and culture. This celebration should give visitors an amazing experience of everything that represents Belize.
Miriam Robertson received the Minister’s Award. This award is for an individual singled out by the Minister of Tourism and Culture, for a consistent portrayal of community improvement, activism and achievements in the travel industry of Belize.
Mrs. Celi McCorkle award
Previously known as the lifetime achievement award, the late Mr. Gerald “Jerry” McDermott won the Mrs. Celi McCorkle award. This award is given to a person who is bold enough to take risks and gloriously leads in the development of tourism in Belize. They are selfless individuals who strive to improve not only their environment but the lives of everyone around them.
The San Ignacio Hotel received the hospitality award. This award is given to a tourism business that offers exceptional service, plays a crucial role in the advancement of the travel industry and offers an authentic Belizean experience. Employees love working for this company and it reflects in how guests are treated.
This “annual” event had a hiccup last year and it wasn’t done, but click here to see the previous award winners of 2013.