Saunders, Markantonis Attain Top Tourism Honors

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A legendary successful tourism entrepreneur and a dynamic hotel President lead the way in the Cacique Awards recognitions as two winners of the 14th Cacique Awards and finalists in all other categories were announced this week.

William Saunders, founder of Majestic Tours, was named the recipient of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation's Clement Maynard Lifetime Achievement Award while Kerzner President and Managing Director George Markantonis was named Hotelier of the Year for the 14th Cacique Awards.

In announcing the selection of George Markantonis as Hotelier of the Year, BHA President Sandy Sands said "The Hotelier of the Year is a coveted award that recognizes an accomplished individual at the pinnacle of hotel performance.  George's commitment to his company, our industry and the country is well demonstrated by the actions he has undertaken and by the respect he has earned from his employees and colleagues.

With more than 20 years proven experience in hotel management, his understanding of all aspects of hotel management is unparelled in The Bahamas.  Personally, and through his staff, he recognizes that no hotel is an island - and has worked diligently to engage his team in numerous organizations, including BHA, and our sister organizations the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.  Personally, and through his company, he has committed to sponsoring the HIV Foundation, the One Family Junkanoo Group and park restorations in addition to contributing to various charities, schools and community projects" stated Sands.

Mr. Saunders started Majestic Tours in 1959 and has been a BHA member since that time, and may in fact be the longest standing member of the association.  Today, Majestic is the largest ground tour operator in The Bahamas and one of the largest in the Caribbean.  It has grown to include a travel agency, a European division and local cruises. It represents tour operators based in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

After being named winner of the prestigious award, Mr. Saunders expressed genuine surprise and appreciation.  He said that he was happy that his company has been able to withstand tough economic times and continue to benefit the families of their employees.

"In these down times, everybody expected that there would be a tremendous fall off in tourism and that a lot of people would suffer," Mr. Saunders said.  "I am pleased and happy to say that in spite of the downturn, Majestic has kept everybody employed. We have put no one on a short work week and we have reduced no salaries. That is a blessing to everybody and I am very appreciative and thankful."

Finalists in other categories of the Cacique Awards are:

Manager of the Year:

1. Kressville P. Ritchie - Sandals Resort

2. Andrea Gray - Atlantis Resort

3. Mark Christopher Rolle - British Colonial Hilton

Supervisor of the Year:

1. Gerrina Cunningham - Comfort Suites

2. Vivienne Haynes - Atlantis Resort

3.  Michael Brian Russell - Wyndham Nassau Resort

Sales Executive of the Year:

1. Molly McIntosh - Green Turtle Cay Club

2. Desiree Moxey - Wyndham Nassau Resort

Employee of the Year:

1. Micklyn Lightbourne - Sandals Resort

2. Michael Neville Sampson - Comfort Suites

3. Frederick Cash - Wyndham Nassau Resort

Chef of the Year:

1. Noel St. Claude - Treasure Cay Beach Resort

2. Michael Nathan Adderley - Atlantis Resort

3. Seanette Brice-Cooper - Sandals Resort

Transportation:

1. Reuben Rahming - Nassau

2. Perry McPhee - Nassau

3. Sky Bahamas - Based in Nassau

Human Resources:

1. Christopher Smith - Nassau

2. Donnalee Bowe - Nassau

3. Marilyn Brennen - Nassau

Sports, Leisure & Events:

1. Justin Sands - Abaco

2. Island Roots Heritage Festival - Abaco

3. Ebenezer "Ebbie" David - Bimini

Creative Arts:

1 Maria Govan - Nassau

2 Bahamas National Youth Choir - Based in Nassau

3 Clayton Curtis - Grand Bahama

Handicraft:

1. Cheryl Adderley - Long Island

2. Dorethea Miller - Long Island

3. Eldena Miller - Nassau

Sustainable Tourism:

1. Leonard Cartwright - Long Island

2. Stuart Cove - Nassau

3. Friends of The Environment - Abaco

Minister's Award for Hospitality:

1. George Wilmore - Abaco

2. Ali Bain - Nassau

3. Victor Russell - Abaco

Finalists for the People's Choice music awards are:

People's Choice Music Award (Gospel):

1. Back in Da Ole Dayz - Minister Charles Drake and CMA Ensemble

2. Plead The Blood - Pastor Terrance Forbes

3.  We Praise - Shaback

People's Music Choice (Secular):

1. Endlessly medley - The Spank Band

2. I's A Bahamian - KB and The Sting

3. You Gern Talk It - T'Rez Hepburn

BHA will recognize the Hotelier of the Year and all hotel Cacique finalists at its Changeover and Recognition Ball on Friday, December 3rd.   The winners in all Cacique categories will be announced and recognized at the 14th Cacique Awards sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, in cooperation with the Bahamas Hotel Association on Friday, January 28th, 2011.