US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Paul Collymore of The Landings Resort & Spa in St. Lucia is congratulated by (from left) CHTA’s Frank Comito, Patricia Affonso-Dass and Bill Clegg.

Leading tourism stakeholders from the Bahamas and St. Lucia took top honors at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) annual Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) Awards Celebration before a packed house last week at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Hotels, attractions and tourism stakeholder organizations from throughout the Caribbean were evaluated in four categories covering Business Operations, Environmental Sustainability, Sales and Marketing, and Social Responsibility.

From the Bahamas, Small Hope Bay Lodge in Andros, Valentines Resort & Marina on Harbour Island and the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) scored heavily with the judges. St. Lucia also registered strong placements by The Landings Resort and Spa, Bay Gardens Resorts and Bel Jou Hotel.

In the Business Operations category, The Landings Resort & Spa captured first place, as judges were impressed with its outstanding success in turning around the resort’s fiscal performance.

Following in second place was the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), which partnered with airport stakeholders at Lynden Pindling International Airport to develop new operation procedures to manage significant passenger growth and improve the passenger experience throughout peak travel periods.

In third place, Atlantis Submarines (Barbados) Inc. was recognized for its exemplary dedication to the highest principles of safety and reliability.

In the Environmental Sustainability category, Small Hope Bay Lodge in Andros placed first. The Bahamian property launched a major re-engineering and upgrade initiative focused on solar power, as part of its refurbishments following the 2016 hurricane season.

Second place went to Bay Gardens Resorts in St. Lucia, recognized for its recent reduction of single-use plastics and Styrofoam products, as well as its 20 percent reduction in energy usage across occupied hotel guestrooms. Blue Horizons Garden Resort in Grenada took third place in the category for its comprehensive approach towards reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba was honored with the Environmental Sustainability “Hall of Fame” award for ongoing leadership and excellence in this category.

Valentines Resort & Marina on Harbour Island in the Bahamas took the top spot in the Sales and Marketing award category. Through new social media and email marketing initiatives, the property saw significant increases in room revenue.

Second place was awarded to The Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos, recognized for its rebranding and new market position. Without significantly increasing marketing spend, the property recorded remarkable room revenue growth and increases in direct bookings. Third place was awarded to Bel Jou Hotel with rebranding initiatives contributing to robust gains in Average Daily Rate, room occupancy and overall room revenue.

In the category of Social Responsibility, Sandals Resorts International took first place for its efforts in Jamaica. Last year, the Sandals Foundation launched its Whitehouse and Bluefields Solid Waste Reduction Project with funding from the United Nations Environment Program. This project seeks to educate and provide residents on Jamaica’s South Coast with a structure for solid waste management through effective waste separation.

In second place, The Landings Resort & Spa in St. Lucia was recognized for its commitment to various interest groups, including schools and civic organizations. In third place, Half Moon Resort in Jamaica was recognized for its recent partnership with SOS International Children’s Village to assist the operation in its Barrett Town, Montego Bay location.

CHIEF was one of three CHTA events held in Miami last weekend. Taste of the Caribbean also took place at Hyatt Regency Miami featuring top culinary teams from more than a dozen Caribbean nations and territories as they competed for recognition and awards. In addition, CHTA shared the teams’ talent through its signature cultural celebration, entitled Caribbean305, on Saturday at Mana Wynwood.