Belize Tourism Awards 2016

National Tourism Awards in Belize City
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On Saturday, October 22nd, the Belize Tourism Awards 2016 was held in Belize City. This year marked the 14th year that this event has taken place and with the theme Hollywood Glamour, the event had the perfect set up to celebrate the tourism stars of Belize.

Related: Top Luxury Resorts in Belize; Top Eco-Lodges in Belize; Top Destinations in Belize

Every year I look forward to this post since it’s a great way to keep up-to-date with the best resorts, hotels, tour operators, tour guides, and frontline personnel of Belize. Kudos to the 2016 award winners, and a bigger shout out to all the tourism stakeholders that support the industry and make Belize a top travel destination.

Here are the winners of the National Tourism Awards along with short videos created for them by the Belize Tourism Board:

Front-line Person of the Year

Luis Yamil Marin of Tropic Air won the award of front-line 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.

Belizean airlines such as Tropic Air are primarily used by tourists and offer tours such as scenic flights over the Great Blue Hole.

Tour Guide of the Year

Justo Navez of Caves Branch 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.

Tour Operator of the Year

Splash Dive Center 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.

Check out my list of tours and attractions in Belize for a list of the top things to do in Belize.

Hospitality Award of the Year

Splash Destination Management Company 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.

Hotel of the Year

San Ignacio Resort Hotel received the hotel of the year award. This honour recognises 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.

San Ignacio Resort Hotel is one of the top resorts in San Ignacio, Cayo.

Small Accommodation of the Year

Vanilla Hills 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.

Vanilla Hills is located near San Ignacio and offers boutique accommodations, including a jungle treehouse.

Restaurant of the Year

Running W. Steakhouse and Restaurant 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.

The Running W. Steakhouse and Restuarant is housed by the San Ignacio Hotel Resort and is one of the many excellent restaurants in downtown San Ignacio.

Major Festival of the Year

The Battle of the Drums 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.

Lifetime Achievement

Steve Maestre of The Great House won the lifetime achievement 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.

Minister’s Award

Vitalino Reyes of 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.

That’s it for the 2016 award winners – for a list of the 2015 winners, check out



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