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BTA: Tourism Ambassadors Shine In This Year’s Star Awards

News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda (May 10, 2019) – Entrepreneur and tourism ambassador Dennie O’Connor has taken home three Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) Star Awards, including Ambassador of the Year, for his sterling work at the front-line of tourism.

A signature event closing out April’s Hospitality Month, the awards ceremony was held last week at the new Visitor Services Centre Hamilton event space. The initiative is directly in line with the fourth pillar of the National Tourism Plan, Local Involvement, a chapter that aims to harness the creative and entrepreneurial potential of the island’s residents.

Also recognised at the event were winners Russ Ford II, Bermuda Transit Services, for Transportation; Marie-France Thompson, Lili Bermuda, for Retail & Shopping; Donna Alvarez, The Reefs Hotel, for Accommodations; Kyle James, Bermuda Development Agency for Local Ambassador and the BTA’s own Beverley Bennett for Travel Services. Mr. O’Connor was also recognised in the categories of Recreation & Entertainment and Food & Beverage. He will be considered alongside CTAs from across the US for the 2019 International Star Award.

“These CTA award recipients exemplify what Bermuda hospitality is about and collectively their passion for and knowledge of Bermuda is what helps to set our island apart from other destinations,” said Karla Lacey, Chief Operating Officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority. “The Bermuda Tourism Authority salutes them, and we encourage the entire community to join us in congratulating them for their dedication to consistently elevating the level of hospitality service delivery.”

Introduced to Bermuda by the BTA in 2015, the CTA programme equips tourism workers with the tools needed to enhance the visitor experience, increase community economic impact and build a positive destination image.

Renewed annually, this internationally recognised designation demonstrates badge holders’ knowledge about Bermuda’s attributes, features and attractions, and ability to respond to visitor inquiries courteously and professionally.

Mr. O’Connor, owner of Cosmopolitan Club Lounge and co-owner Tobacco Bay and Bermuda Triangle Experience, was among the first to qualify as a CTA, recognising instantly the “innate value in the programme”. He said he was both humbled and honoured to be nominated for the awards.

“We don’t do this job for the recognition, we do it out of the passion of our hearts, so to be nominated and win multiple times felt surreal. It’s important to become a CTA because it’s reflective of our passion for hospitality. It shows others that you are not only dedicated to the betterment of the tourism industry, but to Bermuda as a whole. Knowledge is power and being a CTA, you are armed with a wealth of knowledge, resources, and connections that make Bermuda shine.”

A son of the soil, Mr. O’Connor has worked in the tourism industry for 25 years, holding six different management positions at the Fairmont Southampton. He has been General Manager of Tucker’s Point Residence Club, Food & Beverage Director at Grotto Bay and sat on multiple boards. A firm voice in improving the island’s beach economy, his biggest goal is to inspire Bermuda’s young people. With three new restaurants in the works and an already thriving tour season, he said, “I want to show them first-hand that the tourism industry is booming with successful opportunities. Good things come when you persevere.”

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