CHA elects officials, hands out honors

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- When Simon Suarez takes overs the reins of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) in January for a two-year term as president, he will quickly put to use much of what he has gleaned from his career in the hotel industry.

Suarez is currently the executive vice president of development at Coral Hotels & Resorts in the Dominican Republic.

Suarez, who was elected during CHA's recent Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference, will succeed Ralph Taylor, chairman of Almond Beach Resorts in Barbados.

In other conference news, CHA named Rob Sherman, the managing director of Curtain Bluff resort in Antigua, as its Hotelier of the Year and presented him with its Golden Conch Award.

The Golden Conch Award, now in its 23rd year, honors individuals who have maintained a successful hotel operation and participated in CHA activities at both local and regional levels.

As CHA treasurer, Sherman serves as liaison between the association and Antigua, Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Sherman also is in charge of Antigua's Hello, Tourist hospitality career program and is a trustee of CHA's Caribbean Hospitality Training Institute and chairman of Antigua Sailing Week.

Other award winners at the Caribbean Hotel Indus- try Conference were:

  • Nataly Sint Jago of Avila Beach Hotel in Curacao, who was named Hotel Employee of the Year.
  • Gladys De Freitas of La Cabana All Suite Resort in Aruba, who earned the Supervisor of the Year Award.
  • Bernadette Nathaniel, Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association, and Rodinald Soomer, St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, who were named Hotel Association Executives of the Year.
  • Aruba swept the honors in the Green Hotel environmental category, with Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort winning for the small hotel division (fewer than 75 rooms) and La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort capturing the award for large hotels (more than 75 rooms).

    In addition to the hotel awards, CHA and award co-sponsor American Express named the Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust in Jamaica the recipient of the Green Area Award.

    This award was given for the group's educational programs and community involvement in teaching locals to reduce, reuse and recycle.

    Puerto Rico's Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort, Country Club & Ocean Villas won the Betty Sperber Tourism Education Award.

    The resort has a Hello, Tourist program for sixth grade students who learn how tourism affects Puerto Rico's development.

    The students visit cruise ships, a travel agency and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.

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