The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) hosted the prestigious 16th Annual Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on July 23rd, 2019.The evening began with a welcome reception sponsored by The Westin. Guests mingled with their signature welcome drink “The Stingray”, concocted by Cayman Spirit Co and the Ritz-Carlton mixologist team. At 7PM, the crowd was welcomed and treated to a beautiful presentation of the National Song performed acapella by Jamesette Anglin followed by a blessing of the meal by Felix Manzanares of Journey Ministries. The co-hosts for the night were the charismatic Gaetan Babin, Past Board Member of CITA, as well as the lovely Tammi Sulliman of Cayman 27. For the first time in history, the event was broadcast LIVE on Cayman 27 which shared “The Magic of Tourism” with the viewing audience.
The Welcome Address for the evening was made by CITA President Theresa Broderick and kicked off the theme of the night as she recognized the work that goes into creating magical guests’ experiences in the Cayman Islands. She noted, not only is it the Magic of Tourism, but the Magic of the Cayman Islands and our people’s personal interactions that truly impacts our visitors and have them returning to our shores.
That fitting welcome was followed by a keynote address by Councillor of Tourism, David Wight. Councillor Wight gave a heartfelt speech recognizing the Lifetime Achiever as a well deserving recipient of this year’s award and had the crowd laughing at his humorous stories of growing up in Cayman in the Honoree’s presence during the younger years of Cayman’s tourism.
With a record-breaking number of nominations, the ceremony was fast paced while giving each nominee a time to shine and a well-deserved round of applause. The winners of each category were then announced and presented their Stingray Awards on stage, basking in their achievements while being cheered on by their peers, colleagues and officials in the audience. Finally, the Acting Governor, CITA Current and Past President, Theresa Broderick and Ken Hydes and Councillor Wight presented Mr. Attlee Bodden with the Lifetime Achievement Award, after a brief video was shown presenting Mr. Bodden’s story as well as his reaction to receiving this special accolade.
With so many talented nominees bringing something uniquely impressive to the table, the Nominations Committee had a difficult task determining the 2019 winners in each category. It was those nominees with pages of information about their work in the community and overall dedication to the tourism industry that stood out among the rest. Below are the outstanding winners who were selected after much serious consideration amongst the amazing quality of nominees. We take this opportunity to again thank all who took the time and effort to submit nominations and honor their colleagues.
The winners of the 2019 Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards are:
Manager – Cashema Rankine – Beach Suites
Employee – Cinthia Rochez – Marriott
Manager – Tim Adam – Cayman Turtle Centre
Employee – Rebecca Bush – Cayman Turtle Centre
Manager – Wesley Hepburn – The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Employee – Laurent Bodden – The Wharf
Manager – Tony Land– DiveTech
Employee – Barbara MacDowell – Little Cayman Beach Resort
Diamond Award – Gay Morse – Pirates Point Resort
Rising Star – Alecia Davis – Luxury Cayman Villas
Lifetime Achievement Award: Attlee Bodden
Quotes from winners and nominee business:
SANAM YAZDANI, SENIOR GUEST SERVICES REPRESENTATIVE: "We are so thrilled to have Alecia's hard work and dedication to the tourism industry recognized by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association. Each day, Alecia builds excitement and anticipation for guests of Luxury Cayman Villas, making them fall in love with all of Grand Cayman—from Bodden Town to Rum Point to East End—before guests have even reached the island. Alecia displays a genuine commitment to creating magical moments for families visiting Cayman and exemplifies the best in Cayman's hospitality industry. We are so lucky to have her."
ALECIA DAVIS, RESERVATIONS AGENT & CONCIERGE: "I was incredibly ecstatic and grateful to be recognized at the Stingray Awards this year. After overcoming the shock of hearing my name announced as the winner, I was so humbled to be invited to the stage in front of all my mentors from UCCI's Hospitality Studies Programme and the leaders of tourism in Cayman. I feel so fortunate to be a member of the Luxury Cayman Villas team and the hospitality profession here on island."
Luciano De Riso, Grand Old House and The Wharf
“ Laurent has been a great pride for us, an example for all the young Caymanian that want to get involved in tourism, hardworking, humble, willing and concerned about learning as a vehicle to success, he’s held a full time position with us at Grand old
House and Wharf all while studying as well. “
Dunja Yeap, Grand Old House and The Wharf
“We truly believe customer service is not a department, it should be everyone’s goal! Laurent completely took it inherent which made him the perfect nominee and a great example for all of us. Ultimately to aim to give one the best experience and share moments of truth and joy cannot be learned, it comes from the heart.”
Laurent Bodden, The Wharf
“I love Stingrays and I love my Island. So, to be acknowledged in my field for doing what I love is as amazing as it comes! I still have goose bumps to when they called my name! I look forward to seeing more of my countrymen and women getting noticed and awarded for their part in our industry!"
Gay Morse from Pirates Point Resort in Little Cayman also expressed her gratitude for winning the Diamond Award category for her Long Service to the Cayman Islands tourism industry. After decades of working in Little Cayman and dedicating her life to this industry, she was very honoured to be recognized in this way. She expressed her heartfelt sentiments about how much this means to her and was so happy to hear her peers say on the night of the event “You deserve this!”
Another congratulations to the 2019 Stingray Award Nominees and CITA Member
Allied & Transportation:
CITA wishes to thankg MC’s, Gaetan Babin and Tammi Sulliman for hosting the celebratory evening.
CITA appreciates all sponsors: The Ministry and Department of Tourism for the Title, Award Sponsorship. The Westin Grand Cayman Beach Resort for the Welcome Reception Sponsorship; The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for their Venue Sponsorship; Hurley’s Media for their Media Sponsorship and Explore as the Creative Sponsor. We wish to thank Tillie’s and Caymera International for the wonderful table gifts. Special thanks to EventPro, and Picture This for their continued support, and Celebrations Ltd. for the gorgeous table centerpieces bringing together the magical feel and ambience. Special thanks are also given to The Marriott, Sunshine Suites, Island Art Framing and the Cayman Spirit Co. The CITA acknowledges the superb service of the events team and AV individuals at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, outlining that their hard work and efforts made for an unforgettable night.
ABOUT CITA: The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) was formed in March 2001, through an amalgamation of the Cayman Tourism Alliance and the Cayman Islands Hotel and Condominium Association. The CITA represents tourism businesses from all sectors, including hotels, condominiums and villas, watersports operators, restaurants, attractions, airlines, tourism transport providers, cruise sector businesses and allied tourism service providers. The CITA represents close to 250 tourism businesses and is active in the areas of industry and government relations, marketing and events, industry development and education.