Saint Lucians here and abroad are abuzz after what most have dubbed, a mesmerising maiden year of the Saint Lucia Tourism Awards – The GIMIES!
As the signature black carpet lit up beaming towards the golden backdrop of live size GIMIES, the specially invited guests, nominees, partners, and live streaming audience were treated to extraordinary performances and pure joy from the winners of the night!
In his official capacity as the Minister of Tourism, Investment Creative Industries, Culture and Information, the Honourable Dr. Ernest Hilaire lauded the efforts of this event and brought some fresh insight into the upwardly mobile position the government is aspiring to undertake, in the development of the industry.
‘The Ministry of Tourism is committed to supporting sustainable practices and innovation, and to make provisions for these initiatives in the tourism development bill. It is about you, the individuals and the organisations who have made Saint Lucia proud over the years. The late nights and early mornings have not gone unseen. We applaud the immeasurable efforts of everyone who ensures persons who visit our shores have a personal and exceptional experience. We are proud as a nation and the GIMIES is our opportunity to say thank you for all that you have done!’
He added, ‘I am pleased to be the minister to inaugurate the GIMIES, the highest-level achievements in Saint Lucia. Let us always continue to strive for the highest levels of achievement in our country as we a forge a way forward in rethinking tourism.’
In discussions on the planning and execution of the ceremony produced by Trevor King, the reviews are in – SPECTACULAR!
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Investment Creative Industries, Culture and Information, Ms. Donalyn Vittet,
‘We have gone through the experience of producing it from the ground up and utilised a fair and transparent process with the audit department lead by Yvonne James, and judges led by Mrs. Cointha Thomas. …As this is the first year, we have streamlined the initial list to thirty awards in organizational and individual awards, rewarding stellar service. I must applaud the entire team from the advisory committee, GIMIES planning committee and all auxiliary staff members and vendors who went above and beyond to work long hours to curate an authentic and memorable experience.’
She added that the Lifetime Achievement, Special Recognition, and the People’s Choice were added to recognise long-term contributions, and also highlighted that the learnings from this first experience will assist the committee in better preparing for the next edition in 2024.
The champions of the night were serenaded by our very own Michael Robinson who brought life to the ceremony with the official GIMIES song, with support from Vibez Productionz, Ransum Recordz and Kayo Music – Saint Lucia elite music producers.
The presenting partners from the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Industry and the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority both emphasized how promising the industry is and why such award ceremonies were not only pivotal but timely in the current changing tide on the world stage.
Echoing these sentiments, the Prime Minister, Honourable Philip J. Pierre, encouraged this approach and stressed on the need to truly rethink the way in which we see tourism to ensure Saint Lucia secures its rightful place on the world stage.
He added, ‘For the tourism industry to flourish, the people must be involved. As a mantra, the benefits of tourism must reach to as many people as possible. I am happy we are recognising the people who help ensure the industry survives. Saint Lucia can become the best tourism destination in the world with the people, the beauty, and natural resources. The people are the most important thing that makes Saint Lucia so special as a destination.”
A massive thank you to our partners who helped stage an amazing GIMIES:
Presenting Partners – Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association.
Premium Partners – Bank of Saint Lucia and Saint Lucia Electricity Services
Supporting Partners – Commercial Supplies, NRDF Institute of Business Studies/ABE, Saint Lucia Distillers Ltd., Heineken Saint Lucia, UWI Open Campus and American Airlines
Winners of the night who walked away with a custom-made GIMIE (created by Jalim Eudovic) were:
Independent Restaurant Employee of the Year: ALI FLORTON
Independent Restaurant of the Year: ORLANDO’S RESTAURANT & BAR
Port Employee of the Year: KERVIN MARTIAL
Craft and Souvenir Retailer of the Year: ANDREW MONDESIR
Sites and Adventure Business of the Year: RAINFOREST ADVENTURES ST.LUCIA
Destination Management Company of the Year: BAREFOOT HOLIDAYS ST. LUCIA LTD.
Independent Wedding and Events Planner of the Year :AWESOME CARIBBEAN WEDDINGS
Small Hotel of the Year: FOND DOUX ECO RESORT
Small Hotel Employee of the Year: WESLEY ALEXANDER
Collection De Pétites Employee of the Year: ERINE BEAUBURN AC
Collection De Pépites Business: SUNNY PALM VILLAS
Large Hotel Employee of the Year: KAREN PAUL
Medium Hotel Employee of the Year: JULIAN JOSEPH
Large Hotel of the Year: SANDALS GRANDE ST. LUCIAN
Medium Hotel of the Year: THE LANDINGS RESORT & SPA
Marine-based Transport Business of the Year: HACKSHAW’S BOAT CHARTERS LTD.
Marine-based Transport Employee of the Year: DAVIDSON EUGENE
Land-based Transport Business of the Year: HIBISCUS TOURS ST. LUCIA
Land-based Transport Employee of the Year: WILTON JEREMIE
Sites & Adventure Employee of the Year: PONTION SIMON
Independent Tour Guide of the Year: JASMINE KOULY-JEAN MARIE
Community-based Tourism: SOUFRIERE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
Tourism Education & Training: SANDALS RESORTS ST. LUCIA
Sustainable Tourism: FOND DOUX ECO RESORT
Social Partner in Tourism: SANDALS RESORTS ST. LUCIA
Destination Stewardship & Resilience: HOTEL CHOCOLAT
Youth in Tourism: YOHANCE CAZAUBON
Tourism and Hospitality Student of the Year: SHARKIM LEONCE
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Prime Minister’s Award: MATTHEW ANTHONY COTTER BEAUBRUN
People’s Choice: CRESSIDA ROMANY
Special Recognition for Meritorious Contribution in Tourism: SIMONA JULES
Special Recognition for Meritorious Contribution in Tourism: PERCIVAL MC DONALD
Special Recognition for Meritorious Contribution in Tourism: CANICE THOMAS
Special Recognition for Meritorious Contribution in Tourism: ANISTA BROWN
Special Recognition for Meritorious Contribution in Tourism: BERTHIA PARLE
The gala event was live streamed on Choice TV, NTN and The GIMIES social media platforms and a recording is available for viewing on these platforms.
SOURCE: Ministry of Tourism