St. Kitts Honors Outstanding Contributions to Tourism

BASSETERRE (20st November, 2012): St. Kitts celebrated its tourism product in grand style last Saturday, with an awards event that honored individuals and businesses who had made a positive impact on the development of the tourism industry.

The ‘St. Kitts Experience’ Awards was held at the Carambola Beach Club, and was attended by a wide-cross section of the society, including the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ricky Skerritt, other ministers of government, hundreds of individuals representing the various sectors of the St. Kitts tourism product, along with professionals from the agricultural, manufacturing, and other related service sectors.

Earl Clarke and Pedro Douglas won the Legend of the Industry Award for their pioneering work in the taxi trade from as early as the 1950’s and 1960’s. Clarke and Douglas are credited for forming the first taxi associations in St. Kitts and Nevis. Both men have made significant contributions towards the development taxi and tour operations and by extension the development of our tourism industry.

Entrepreneur Maurice Widdowson was recognized for his strength and fortitude in the tourism industry and honored with the Pillar of the Industry Award. Widdowson has dedicated many years to tourism, and is the owner of the Caribelle Batik and Wingfield Estate. He has a record of “giving back” to the industry as a whole, through industry associations or other voluntary and cooperative forms of service.

General Manager of TDC Airlines, Elroy “Scout” Lewis was presented with the Award of Excellence. Lewis has worked with several airlines, namely British Airways, LIAT and US Airways as well as several chartered companies, and has contributed significantly to the development of the tourism industry. Commenting on the tremendous growth in the tourism sector, this airline executive says that it is critical that we educate our people on the values of tourism.

The Employee of the Year Award was given to Gillian Mills of the St Kitts Scenic, for her willingness to go beyond the call of duty, and her display of team work and a positive working attitude. Mills is responsible for tour development, sales, reservations, blocked space, settlements and tour operations. A committed, diligent and energetic worker, Mills may be considered a hard task master by some of her colleagues as she demands the best efforts in offering the “best tour in the world.”

The Environmental Excellence Award went to the Frigate Bay Development Corporation for the management of public spaces including parks, beaches, roadside verges and ponds, as well as the coastal area converted into the popular night-time entertainment sport – “The Strip”. In recent times, environmental issues such as watershed and biodiversity management as well as maintaining the cleanliness and aesthetics of the Frigate Bay area are some of its additional responsibilities of the corporation.

Serendipity Restaurant won the Achievement of Excellence Award for providing strong leadership, vision and direction for the organization, and for also providing adequate training for their employees and striving to continuously improve customer satisfaction.

St. Kitts gave the Pillar of Tourism Industry Award to Sunlinc for setting the standard in the tourism industry, and contributing a profound impact on the development of the industry and for corporate social responsibility program that illustrates its commitment to making a positive impact on the community.

As an individual award, Rosevelt Taylor was honored with the People’s Choice Award, for being a professional inbound tour operator with a goal to exceed the guests’ needs and desires. Taylor has demonstrated his love of country on every tour he conducts, offering a creative and new way to see the many interesting and historical sites of St. Kitts. This people’s man enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, and giving them a taste of the true Kittitian experience.

The Kittitian Experience Award went to Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack, which is a rustic, no-frills restaurant that is well known for its tasty local dishes. Located on the Frigate Bay Strip, it is famous for its sizzling Thursday night bonfire parties replete with fire eaters, raucous karaoke Saturdays and relaxing Sunday dinners. Described on Trip Advisor as “a cool, casual place to grab a bite” and a place which offers “awesome lobster, good food, good prices and a great band”, this restaurant is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

Royd Phipps won the National Champion Award for demonstrating a passion for drumming. This masterful drummer has shared his talent and the love of this art form with many. Joining the Department of Culture on January 1, 1999, he implemented the drumming programme in a number of schools to ensure the continuity of this significant music tradition. His deep love of drumming is rooted in a heritage linked to his grandfather, Selwyn “Lallaps” Liddie, a folklore legend in St. Kitts nurtured by his uncle Valentine “Taba” Martin. As a lead drummer of the Okolo Tegremantine Arts theatre, he has been afforded the opportunity of travelling the world and has just returned from a two-week cultural tour of Taiwan.

The ‘St. Kitts Experience’ Awards is a uniquely Caribbean evening experience with a mixture of entertainment, networking, and culinary enjoyment. The annual event is part of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority’s efforts to elevate service standards in the island’s hospitality industry and encourage the development of uniquely Caribbean visitor experiences, in order to enhance St. Kitts’ competitive position in the regional and global tourism arena.

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