US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Wyb Meijer (second from right) is the 2019 Caribbean Association Executive of the Year. From left is Frank Comito, CHTA’s Director General and CEO; Patricia Affonso-Dass, CHTA’s President; and Stacy Cox, President of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE).

St. Maarten hotel association executive Wyb Meijer, Aruban guest experience supervisor Berlinda Engelhardt and Puerto Rican security supervisor Luis de Jesus were named among three Caribbean tourism industry stakeholders who have exemplified excellence across the region’s bread and butter industry.

Meijer, executive director of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), was named the 2019 Caribbean Association Executive of the Year by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE) during the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) at the Hyatt Regency Miami last month.

Meijer, who was recognized as a professional who excels in association operations, destination marketing and community affairs, helped properties and association members recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma in 2017, positioning the trade association as a key thought leader. Along with the association, he provided detailed briefs to World Bank officials and local government, and he continues to generate new ideas and initiatives for the industry, and for the improvement of the local community and region.

Berlinda Engelhardt from the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino earned the Caribbean Employee of the Year title. Joining the Renaissance team in 2007 as a casino host, Engelhardt became a hotel concierge hostess within one year, before becoming lead guest experience supervisor, the position she has held for the past 18 months. Hailed for her impeccable guest service skills and for creating an inclusive environment, Engelhardt volunteers at Hands 4 Addicts, a local organization which helps provide grooming and hygiene care for drug addicts.

The Caribbean Supervisor of the Year distinction, honoring private sector hospitality employees who display excellence in leadership and management, went to Luis de Jesus, security supervisor at El Conquistador, the Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico. De Jesus, who currently oversees 25 employees, previously served as an engineering supervisor. He was cited for his team spirit, reliability and willingness to act as a resort ambassador across several departments.

“These Caribbean professionals are incredible ambassadors of Caribbean tourism, exemplifying the spirit of excellence that is required for us to remain competitive in our industry,” said Patricia Affonso-Dass, CHTA President, as she congratulated this year’s recipients and thanked industry stakeholders at all levels for their daily commitment to strengthening the Caribbean guest experience.

“Let us ensure that we continue to applaud the men and women who shine their light every day, sharing with the world what wonderful Caribbean hospitality is all about,” she stated.