Nominations for the 17th Cacique Awards to be held in April 2017 are now open.

These awards celebrate the best and brightest in the country’s hospitality industry. The ceremony, themed The Business of Tourism, will be held at the Baha Mar Convention Center on April 8th.

There are eighteen local and five international categories. They include Employee of the Year (Front of the House); Employee of the Year (Heart of the House); Chef of the Year; Sales Executive of the Year; Supervisor of the Year; Manager of the Year; Hotelier of the Year; Transportation of the Year; Local Airlines and Tour Operators of the Year; Sports and Leisure of the Year; Special Events of the Year; Creative Arts of the Year; Handicraft of the Year; the Sustainable Tourism Award; the Clement T. Maynard Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Minister’s Award.

This year, officials have added a special award: the Willfred "Willie Love" Knowles Tourism Ambassador Award.

Chairman of the Cacique Awards, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Harrison Thompson, said the awards are meant to honour the trailblazers in the tourism sector.

“Excellence is The Bahamas’ number one brand. When we talk about excellence all around the world we speak about The Bahamas. That’s why we say It’s Better in The Bahamas, and the best is yet to come,” he said.

“I would like to encourage [you to make] nominations as soon as possible. You can nominate [anyone] you feel is deserving of recognition and you can nominate for more than one category.”

Vice President of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Suzanne Pattusch, said the Cacique Awards are about recognizing breathtaking service.

“We are here to recognize the people and it is the people that make our tourism industry. This year we extended our listing to recognize the wide range of persons in the industry. So, we hope that these categories will touch as many people as have impacted tourism,” she said.

“We know that everyone matters in tourism. I’d like to thank employers who have taken the time to nominate those they think should be awarded. There is always a winner. But the mere fact that you were nominated means that you are being recognized for putting forth the level of excellence that we admire.”

Ian Poitier, the director, writer, and choreographer of the awards said the experience of these awards will be like no other.

“This is not just a piece of entertainment. This is an essential part of what we do, and doing it in this way means that people are more drawn to it. When people come to our country, they are not aware of some of the challenges that we face. They want to engage the side of our culture that is meaningful to them and that they can take back home and this is a part of that,” Mr. Poitier said.

Nominations can be made online at www.caciqueawards.com or you can collect forms at any Bahamas Ministry of Tourism office in the Family Islands and abroad. Nominees must be Bahamian, and people may be nominated for more than one category. The nomination forms specifically outline what the requirements are for each category.

The deadline for nominations is January 20. The nominees will be announced at a later date.

For more information, contact the Ministry of Tourism at 242-302-2000.

Media Contact: Kendea Smith | ksmith@bahamas.com | 242-397-2786