US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

richard-headshotManaging Director of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort Richard Doumeng and eight exceptional individuals employed in the tourism industry were honored Nov. 5 at the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association’s 15th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala. Over 300 guests gathered at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort to recognize the Tommy Star nominees.

The association was delighted to award Doumeng with the prestigious Award of Excellence. His work with numerous tourism organizations as well as time spent supporting community initiatives extends throughout the Caribbean. Doumeng’s investment in the success of the tourism industry is evident in all of his endeavors.

“I am tremendously honored to receive the VIHTA’s Award of Excellence recognizing my contributions to our industry and community,” said Doumeng. “My real joy and pride comes from being able to recognize and acknowledge the amazing perseverance, effort and good will put forth by the Doumeng and Bolongo family. For more than 40 years, the key to Bolongo’s success has been the wonderful people who work there. The dedication, ability and caring by my co-workers, for our guests and each other, have made it possible for me to embrace organizations outside of Bolongo and to become the recipient of this prestigious award.”

Doumeng has almost 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry in the USVI and New York City. Currently, Doumeng is the managing director of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, which includes the catamaran Heavenly Days, the Lobster Grille and Iggies Beach Bar & Grill. He also currently serves as chairman on the board of directors and past president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, and member of the board of directors and five-time past president of USVIHTA, as well as with several other notable organizations. Doumeng has been on the CHTA board of directors since 1992 and the USVIHTA board of directors since 1991. During his term with both associations, Doumeng served on various committees as the chair or as a member. In 2010, he received the CHTA Hotelier of the Year Award.

Throughout his extensive career, Doumeng has also shown a personal commitment to civic participation and outreach. He has served as the chairman for Project Safe Neighborhoods and a board member for the United Way and Crime Stoppers.

“It is our pleasure to honor Richard Doumeng with the Award of Excellence. He has been a vital member of the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association for 25 years, and his contributions to the association and territory are immeasurable,” said USVIHTA President Lisa Hamilton. “Richard’s support and efforts have helped to make the territory one of the leading tourism destinations in the Caribbean.”

In addition to the Award of Excellence, the event highlights individuals in the tourism industry who offer a unique and creative approach to hospitality. These dedicated and talented employees make the most of each guest interaction and are essential to the success of local tourism. Award recipients include: Activities and Attractions Associate of the Year Maive Jackson from the Westin St. John Resort & Villas; Hospitality Support Service Associate of the Year Jasmin Fredericks from the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas; Public Service Representative of the Year (Government) Sharon Rosario from the USVI Department of Tourism, St. Croix; Restaurant Associate of the Year Isla Bertrand from Dinghy’s Beach Bar & Grill; Retail Associate of the Year Dwane’ Mills from the Westin St. John Resort & Villas; Transportation Associate of the Year Dieter Becker from Cape Air; Hotel Supervisor of the Year Cathriellah Shabazz from Tamarind Reef Resort & Spa; and Hotel Associate of the Year Phillippa Webbe from the Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas.

Tommy Star nominee Kim Marie Jn Baptiste, concierge manager at the Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas, attributed her successes to teamwork and her colleagues.

“The team that I manage have also developed a trust for me and they believe in me. In my mind, I won. Not the award, but the moment where recognition reminds you of the time you spent looking at trends, creating best practices, thinking of ways to make everyone shine and wondering what is the best way to achieve consistency and instill positivity amongst the team,” said Jn Baptiste.

This year’s theme, Cotton Club, transported guests to the roaring 1920s as Dion Parsons, Grammy award winning drummer and composer, set the mood with the VI Jazz Ensemble. The event also gave attendees an opportunity to network with colleagues and share industry information.

Thank you to the 15th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala sponsors: the USVI Department of Tourism, the Marriot Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach Resort, the Resort Owners’ Coalition, Concessions International, Designed by Felipe, the West Indian Company, Limited, D. Winston Media, Concert Works and VI-ATM, LLC.