|LONDON, UK -- November 13, 2007 -- The Caribbean Hotel
Association (CHA) marked the 10TH anniversary of the Crystal Palm Awards
of Excellence by paying tribute to four travel companies and two individuals
that have made a significant and positive contribution over the past year
to the development of Caribbean tourism in the United Kingdom and Europe.
The awards were presented at the gala dinner on Saturday, November 10,
2007, at the Riverbank Park Plaza in London.
More than 250 delegates from major supplier companies in the United
Kingdom and Europe and the private and public sectors of the Caribbean
tourism industry gathered to recognize the 2007 winners of the Crystal
Palm Awards. “The award winners are playing a major role in the growth
of tourism in the Caribbean - and have been a solid partner in the region’s
development,” said CHA President Peter J. Odle. “This recognition is our
way of recognising them for their continuing support,” he added.
|Left to right: Alec Sanguinetti, Caribbean Hotel Association
(CHA); Donna Banks, Anguilla Tourist Board; John Taker, Virgin Holidays;
Paula Martin, Travel Trade Gazette UK & Ireland; David Jessop, Caribbean
Council; Alison Nichols, British Airways; CHA President Peter J. Odle;
and Adam Daniels, British Airways.
Virgin Holidays, Winner, UK Operator
Virgin Holidays, winner of the Crystal Palm Award in the category for
Large UK-based Caribbean Tour Operator serves 13 Caribbean destinations
and enjoys the distinction of realizing outstanding passenger figures and
sustained growth from year to year. A longstanding partner of the
Caribbean, in 2005 Virgin Holidays also became the first private organization
to establish a corporate scholarship program through the Caribbean Hotel
Association Education Foundation, to provide financial assistance to Caribbean
students wishing to pursue a career in hospitality.
British Airways, Winner, Airline
In addition to serving ten Caribbean destinations, British Airways
has also forged agreements with Caribbean Airlines, American Airlines,
Liat, and Cayman Airways – which means that most of the Caribbean is accessible
to the UK traveler through one of the airline’s ten hubs. Above and
beyond an aggressive marketing campaign combining print and electronic
advertising, British Airways offers travelers a Caribbean-specific website,
www.ba.com/caribbean, which highlights the hidden treasures of the Caribbean
and helps consumers select the destination that best matches their interests.
Anguilla, Winner, Caribbean Tourist Board
Based on official statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization
covering 2004-2006, Anguilla emerged the undisputable winner of the Crystal
Palm Award in the Caribbean Tourist Board category. Through marketing
and promotional efforts in the UK market, the Anguilla Tourist Board achieved
in 2006 a remarkable growth of 35.8%.
Caribbean Hotels Ltd., Winner, Caribbean Specialist
Caribbean Hotels, a UK-based company with an office also in Barbados,
features over 400 hotels spanning 29 Caribbean destinations. With
100% of the business dedicated to the Caribbean, Caribbean Hotels Ltd.
has seen a phenomenal growth over the past two years that shows no sign
David Jessop, Winner, Outstanding Individual
David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council, publisher of
Caribbean Insight, and adviser to the Caribbean Hotel Association on trade
policy and related issues with the European Union and the United Kingdom
government. Under his guidance, CHA has strengthened its advocacy
agenda in Europe. In the past year alone, Jessop has helped CHA pave
the way for a climate conducive to the sustainable development of tourism
in the Caribbean, with efforts geared to ensure that recommendations for
the liberalization of regional tourism services are included in external
trade negotiations that the Caribbean is involved in. Meanwhile,
on the issue of climate change, he orchestrated a meeting hosted by CHA,
its environmental subsidiary, the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism
(CAST), along with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), to discuss
recent developments in UK government policy affecting the travel industry,
aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change.
Sarah Macefield, Winner, Travel Writer
Sarah Macefield has a built a prolific career as a travel journalist.
Although her expertise spans the globe, Macefield’s work as the Caribbean
features writer for Travel Trade Gazette and a frequent contributor to
consumer and travel-related publications is exemplary. Through her
writing, she has raised awareness about the Caribbean, generating interest
and excitement about the diverse and eclectic travel experiences that the
region offers. In 2006, she won an award from the Caribbean Tourism
Organization for best feature article in a trade publication in Europe
for the story entitled “The Caribbean Limbers Up for Cricket Fiesta.”
In what has become a tradition at Crystal Palm Awards, guests were
treated to a true taste of Caribbean hospitality, with a special Caribbean
fusion dinner prepared especially for the occasion by the 2007 Caribbean
Chef of the Year, Chef Fernando Parrilla from Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the evening featured a performance of Antigua's award-winning
Soca band El-A-Kru, renowned for their skill at bringing not only Soca
straight-up, but blending it with other genres into delightful concoctions.
In the spirit of partnership, CHA held a benefit auction at the gala,
raising US$40,000.00 for the CHA Education Foundation, through which scholarships
and special assistance is made available for the education of Caribbean
hotel industry personnel and students pursuing hotel careers.
The Crystal Palm Awards of Excellence is CHA’s premier event in the
European Marketplace. It was established in 1997 to recognise the
Caribbean’s leading travel partners in the United Kingdom and Europe.