AHATA Excellence Awards 2019: The Aruba Oscars

The Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, AHATA, hosted its annual Excellence Awards celebration at The Ritz Carlton just recently.

Of the ten thousand individuals working for tourism, 57 were nominated and 8 won in different categories. It was an excellent evening overall from glamorous décor to delicious food, and no boring speeches, just heartfelt camaraderie, spontaneous cheers, and hugs, and mostly pride, in our most precious natural resource, our people. 

Congratulations to:

“Employee of the Year Small Company”: Lisyene Becker, The Mill Resort & Suites Aruba;

“Employee of the Year Large Company”: Edmond Kock, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort;

“Supervisor of the Year”: Justine Cremony, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba;

“Manager of the Year Small Company”: Jagdish Dialani, Diamonds International;

“Manager of the Year Large Company”: Edgar Cornet, RIU Palace Antillas;

“Young Tourism Professional 2019”: Manon Scholte Lubberink, De Palm Tours;

“Sustainability Champion 2019”: Frank Sabajo, La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino;

“Lifetime of Service 2019”: Victoriano Quant, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino.

Compliments to the AHATA CEO Tisa LaSorte on keeping the program kort en krachtige, short enough to retain our attention and powerful enough to move us to standing ovations.

De Palm Corporation, remained the main sponsor of the recognition event. They take it seriously and generously allowed for gold, black and white, art deco Great-Gatsby style menus, table clothes, ornaments, and towering-feathery table center-pieces. The room was embraced by a gallery of faces, as the nominees’ pictures formed a circular hug around the festivities.

The evening’s form and format were conceived by perfectionist Irma Bijen, of De Palm Tours Destination Management Services, and flawlessly executed by the banquet and event team of the resort.

Thank you Tropical Bottling for the wines accompanying our meal.

Emcee Larissa Bermudez got through the program efficiently never mispronouncing any names, and the photographers, an army of three, nicely disappeared as soon as a picture was snapped, never blocking the view of the stage.

Artist Gilbert Senchi was entrusted with the creation of the award and he picked a conch, a life-sustaining symbol in the Caribbean. Each winner got to take one home.

The evening included professional TV coverage and personal interviews which was also very well done, as each nominee and winner got their pictures of the night, on the spot, nicely framed as a souvenir.

That took some strategic planning.

The hardest job was naturally, that of the 3 judges, on faculty at the Universidad di Aruba. They had to pick and choose the winners from among our top performers, not an easy task.

Guest of honor, Minister di Tourism Danguillaume Oduber, watched as the industry reaffirmed its commitment to excellence and continuity, with two scholarship checks donated, one to Colegio EPI unidad di HORECA, and the other to the Universidad di Aruba, faculty of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Armin Solognier, representing Caribbean Mercantile Bank, presented the checks dedicated to a scholarship fund.

AHATA is grateful for its sponsors: De Palm Corporation, Caribbean Mercantile Bank, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, Tropical Bottling and High Performance. They couldn’t have done it without them


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November 30, 2019
Rona Coster