Fourteen stalwarts who have dedicated 50 years or more to Jamaica’s tourism sector have been given the recognition they deserve. They took centre stage at the Golden Tourism Day Awards held at the AC Hotel in Kingston on December 11.
“As minister of tourism, this particular occasion is one that is close to my heart, as we recognise and celebrate those distinguished workers who have dedicated 50 years or more to working in our beloved tourism industry,” said Minister Edmund Bartlett.
“This moment is even more special as we continue on our path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And, indeed, we are recovering and recovering strongly,” he said.
One of the awardees, Jean Seaga Anderson, received special recognition for having worked in the sector for 65 years.
Her name is well known in the travel industry, especially in the mid-island town of Mandeville in Jamaica where she pioneered the operation of travel agencies. Anderson’s 65 years of sterling service had its genesis in a six-month stint as a social hostess at Silver Seas Hotel in Ocho Rios. She opened the first IATA-certified travel agency, Global Travel Service, in Mandeville in 1974. She has captained its development through the years from the agent having to manually make all arrangements for travel related matters to meeting the new technology demands by going digital.
“These awards are even more special because even when times were tough and borders were closed, it is the people here who remained dedicated to their jobs and helped us be able to welcome visitors back to our shores and to do so often in record- breaking numbers,” said Bartlett.
“I am truly honoured to have this opportunity to acknowledge and applaud your many years of commitment and dedication to this incredibly important sector that contributes so much to our nation’s economy. It is your legacies that have helped Jamaica become one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, both before the pandemic and now,” he told awardees.
They were also lauded by Director of Tourism Donovan White.
“Jamaica’s demand and success as a destination truly lies in the creativity and genuine hospitality of our people. We salute them for their years of hard work and dedication,” he said.