The Aruba Oscars

About the AHATA Excellence Award Ceremony 2023

According to Tisa LaSorte,  President and CEO of AHATA, the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, and the organizer of the meticulously-executed event this last weekend, the evening was dedicated to the Excellence Award winners, individuals with a passion for service, and while work is not always easy, they waked up every day with a smile, leave their personal lives behind and spend the day making other people happy. Which is a noble calling, she adds. They go ahead and do their work, seriously and professionally, look for solutions, and drive the economic success of Aruba. It is also interesting to see where they hail from, the diversity of companies they work for and variety of positions they hold within the hospitality sector on our small island. They all play their part well, and Saturday night’s event was designed for them, to have fun, and know they are loved and appreciated.

Our people are the island’s greatest asset, said the Minister of Tourism and Public Health, Danguillaume Oduber, in his short address, just before dinner. They are affectionate, courteous and service-minded, and deliver a better tourism-product than any of our other competitor islands. Tonight, is a special night to thank them, they are who make it happen for Aruba. We would also like to motivate their colleagues to reach for excellence, and win the award next year. We are proud of our people, they work hard, they are our ambassadors of tourism, and the island today expresses gratitude and appreciation, for their colossal efforts.

I worked for 17 years in the private business on the island, says one of the award winners, Denise Harris, Amsterdam Manor,  I happen to talk to at the end of the event, on the sidewalk. I felt like wallpaper, she said. Then in the last two years I switched to hospitality. And imagine, I reached the highest level of accolades in just two years. I love my job and give it my all. I also went all out today, dress, shoes, hair, make up and nails, I made sure I looked like an Oscar winner tonight!

(It’s true they all looked glamorous, like Grammy/Oscar winners on stage!)

The official tourism industry award ceremony recognizing the extraordinary efforts made by top employees in the tourism sector, took place Saturday night. Winners were lauded for their commitment to service and the significant contributions they make to the island’s productive economy and successful tourism product, in 2023.

Each AHATA member company selected one employee from among their team members to be publicly recognized by the Aruba Hotel And Tourism Association for his/her exemplary dedication to his/her work place and its guests. During the elaborate dinner event, each honoree was invited to the stage to receives a trophy, a certificate, and a gift.

The evening unfolded at the Conference Center in Oranjestad, November 25th, 2023, supported by generous sponsors, Elite Productions & Entertainment; Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort, venue sponsor, Balashi Brewery, beverage sponsor with more than 230 elegantly dressed and excited industry professionals in attendance.

Event specialist Irma Bijen and the AHATA team came up with a most gorgeous and creative décor. The evening features many lovely, unusual touches, that included a bag or cookies to go. Thank you!

All honorees and guests enjoyed a welcome flute of Prosecco and hors d’oeuvres in the ballroom reception area, sponsored by Balashi Brewery and served by the Renaissance Team. Befitting the occasion the honorees were paid extra attention: They were met at the foyer of the Renaissance Convention Center, guided through to the reception’s main entrance and warmly welcomed by the President and CEO of AHATA, Tisa LaSorte.

The welcome reception was entertained by a solo performance by Chris Kross, a famed local talent, while honorees got their pictures taken with their guests against the AHATA Excellence Awards backdrop. A second photographer and videographer team was busily taking candid shots and video, shown in the ballroom at the end of the evening’s formal part.

The evening emcee Larissa Bermudez, exuding Hollywood glamour, took to the stage in a red, off the shoulder evening gown. She skillfully took the ceremony through its different paces, introducing dignitaries and most importantly, the evening’s valued award recipients. She was again, a most perfect master of ceremonies, welcoming the Minister of Tourism, AHATA Board of Directors, Board of Directors of ATA, Aruba Tourism Authority, CEO of ATA, Ronella Croes, President & CEO of AHATA, Tisa LaSorte, members of AHATA, and sponsors.

Cloud 9, a musical combo with guitarist Chris Cross entertained during the evening with a curated playlist that evoked the perfect mood for the occasion. Aruba’s national anthem, as sung by Mtchll, the band’s lead vocalist, was a most appropriate opening for an evening recognizing Aruba’s best, all deserving individuals who so admirably represent dedication to our island.

The Renaissance team delivered a three course dinner and replenish red and white wine glasses efficiently. Compliments to the culinary brigade on a tasty Cajun Jumbo Shrimp appetizer, a beautifully plated Angus Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauvignon sauce, truffled mashed potato and baby vegetable.

The extra special dessert, Dulce de Leche Cheesecake with bitter chocolate, provided the perfect sweet ending, to a refined evening.

More tomorrow!!


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November 27, 2023
Rona Coster