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MIAMI (June 2, 2019) – Veteran tourism executive John Bell will receive the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Icon of Hospitality Award at the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), taking place at the Hyatt Regency Miami, June 21-23, 2019.

The Trinidad-based Bell, CHTA’s first executive director, was the guiding force of the CHTA (formerly CHA) for 29 years. His framing of the key role of tourism in the economies of the Caribbean elevated the organization from its status as a traditional trade association to being the premier tourism organization for the Caribbean’s private sector.

The Icon of Hospitality Award was established in 2017 and is CHTA’s highest honor created to celebrate the careers and lives of extraordinary leaders whose work in Caribbean hospitality has stood the test of time and left its mark on CHTA and the region. The association’s Hospitality Icon award honors legendary professionals who have not only achieved phenomenal business success but have also mentored and molded those aiming for excellence in the region’s leading industry.

CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass stated: “Like so many others, John’s vision, enthusiasm and knowledge guided and inspired me to want to be part of this dynamic industry. Reflecting upon his many contributions and achievements, I could think of no more fitting person to recognize.”

Prior to his leadership of CHTA, Bell was President of the Trinidad and Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, 1971-1974; General Manager of Bel Air Hotel in Trinidad, 1967-1974; and Assistant Manager of Blue Lagoon Hotel, St. Vincent, 1964-1967. He began his tenure at CHTA (then CHA) in 1974 as the first executive director and chairman of the Small Hotels Advisory Council.

In addition to bringing together tourism and hospitality associations across the region, Bell is credited with driving membership of and interest in the work of CHTA, overseeing the creation of Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Taste of the Caribbean culinary event, the Leadership Conference for national hotel association executives, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference, the Caribbean Gold Book and the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, the region’s pioneering environmental organization. Most of these initiatives continue to benefit the industry today, serving as a lasting legacy to Bell’s work.

“CHTA is eternally grateful for the outstanding leadership which John has provided over many years to the association and the development of tourism throughout our region. His life’s work on behalf of our industry parallels the ascendance of the Caribbean to the world stage as one of the preeminent and most desired tourism destinations,” said Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of CHTA.

Bell will accept the Icon of Hospitality Award during the CHIEF Awards celebration on Friday, June 21, and join company with the first distinguished recipient, Professor Heinz Simonitsch of Jamaica’s famed Half Moon resort.

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

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