The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association recently held its summit event to recognize employees, supervisors, and managers in all components of tourism on the island, “The Superstars of Tourism.”
For the past 30 years, the PRHTA has been holding this awards event, the only that recognizes the best talent in tourism in Puerto Rico. In addition to the supervisors, employees, and managers, the Hotelier of the Year, Casino Member of the Year, Restauranteur of the Year, and Allied Member of the Year is recognized.
The event had been postponed due to the passage of Hurricane María last September.
“We are very proud of performance by the employees recognized during the awards night. These star employees place the name of Puerto Rico as high as possible because they have great qualities when it comes to offering a service of excellence to the public. The attention, dedication, and care with which they work make them stand out to their clients and colleagues,” said PRHTA President Clarisa Jiménez.
“It was a night full of excitement and celebration where all those who attended were treated as each deserves,” she said.
Throughout the evening, the professionalism, excellence, and dedication of the industry’s employees, as well as the partners of the year, were recognized.
The highest awards were bestowed to:
- Cristian Hernández of Delta Air Lines – Allied Member of the Year
- Chef Raúl Correa of Zest at The San Juan Water Beach Club- Restauranteur of the year
- Ismael Vega, general manager of the Metro Casino – Casino Member of the Year
- Sam Basú, general manager of the Sheraton Puerto Rico- Hotelier of the Year
Winners in the casinos category were:
- Katherine Acevedo of the Tropical Casino at the Holiday Inn Ponce- Employee of the Year
- Vicky Mattai, Casino Metro- Supervisor of the Year
- Hector Maldonado of the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino- Manager of the Year
In the food and beverage category, the winners were:
- Efraín Diaz, Hotel Caribe Hilton- Employee of the Year
- Marangelie Pérez of the Caribe Hilton Hotel- Supervisor of the Year
- Andre Gomes, of the Ritz-Carlton San Juan- Manager of the Year
- Alfredo Amengual of the El Conquistador Hotel & Resort- Area Manager of the Year
The Hotel category competition had winners for a medium hotel (76-299 rooms) and a small hotel (1-75 rooms) and a winner for a large hotel (300+ rooms) following the recommendation of the Organizing Committee. The winners were:
- Alberto Rivera of the Embassy Suites San Juan- employee of the year of small/medium hotels
- Luvidiette Diaz from the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino Hotel, and Cindy Hernandez from the Ritz-Carlton San Juan, tied for the large hotel employee of the year.
- Francisco Martinez of the Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort – supervisor of the year in the medium / small hotel category
- Jesmarie Pérez from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel San Juan- supervisor of the year in the large hotel category
- Cesar Ostolaza of the Courtyard by Marriott Miramar Hotel- hotel manager of the year for medium / small hotels
- Marta Valentín of the Ritz-Carlton San Juan- manager of the year in the large hotel category
- Letty Rivero of The Condado Plaza Hilton- area manager of the year in the large hotel category
The winners in the allied members category were:
- Delis Miranda for Delta Air Lines- employee of the year
- Ramón Corrada for the International School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts
- José A. (Tony) Santana for Universidad Del Este- manager of the year.
More than 115 nominees representing hotels, casinos, restaurants, and allied partners (businesses interact with tourist activity and the tourism industry such as airlines, tour operators, car rental centers, insurance agencies, universities, among others), were nominated by their employers and went through a panel interview process where their performance at work was evaluated, as well as the quality of service and attention offered to visitors and locals.