Tony Mason, Chief Executive Officer of the Falkland Islands Tourist and H.E. The Governor of the Falkland Islands, Mr. Colin Roberts, presented the 2015 tourism awards on 1st April 2015. It was also a successful finale for CEO Mason who now has an even more ambitious task with the Falkland Islands Tourist Board in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Mason said he was extremely pleased with the turnout of this year’s event which recognised contributions to the tourism industry at large. “Tourism is in the top three sectors contributing to the GDP of the Falkland Islands. It is a vital industry to the continued and future growth of the country. This year we saw a significant increase in cruise passenger numbers. In 2012/13 season we welcomed 29,000 cruise passengers, 2013/14 season we welcomed 38,000 cruise passengers and this year we are very pleased to have welcomed over 55,000 visitors to our country. The only way is up for tourism to our beautiful islands.”
H.E. the Governor welcomed guests from all areas of the tourism sector to Government House, where the event was held, before turning the presentations over to Mr. Mason. After welcoming everyone to the ceremony, Mr. Mason thanked the Governor and staff of Government house for their support of tourism under his direction for the past three years.
“The award nominees are made by tourists visiting the Islands, and the person or organisation with the highest number of votes in each category wins the award. This is a tourist based voting system, so it’s the visitors’ choice for the awards at the end of the day” said Mr. Mason.
The award categories were: Driver of the year, Taste of the Falklands, Tour Guide of the year, Best Visitor Experience, Outstanding Customer Service, Agency of the year, Camp Accommodation offering the best overall experience, and Stanley Accommodation offering the best overall experience.
And this year’s winners are:
Driver of the Year : Derek Pettersson
Taste of the Falkands: Waterfront Hotel
Visitor Experience: Volunteer Point
Tour Guides of the Year: Cat Davison & Brad Moriarty
Outstanding Customer Service: The Harbourview Gift Shop
Public Services: FIGAS
Agency of the Year: Falkland Islands Holidays
Camp Accomodation: Pebble Islands Lodge
Stanley Accomodations.: Lafone House
Manager Director Awards: Hon. Mike Summers, MLA
The final award of the night was “The Managing Director’s Award” which recognises one individual for “outstanding contributions to tourism”. The winner of this year’s award was the Honourable Mike Summers, MLA. In a speech given by Mr. Mason, he said:
“This year’s Managing Director’s Award is being presented to Mike Summers, who has made outstanding contributions to the Falkland Islands Tourism sector for many years.
In the early days Mike Summers was the first manager of the tourist board while it was under the direction of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation.
During that period Mike Summers was involved in privatising the booking service and disposed of all the lodges to private ownership which has been instrumental in development and the growth of the tourism product.
While overseeing tourism the cruise industry began to grow from expedition vessels initially; this has resulted in large cruise ships coming to the Falklands today.
Mike Summers has been a strong supporter of tourism while I have been on the Islands and has chaired the Falkland Islands Tourist Board during one of its strongest and most productive periods.
I am pleased to present this year’s ‘Managing Director’s Award’ to someone I have the highest level of respect for and I am most happy to call a friend.”
The evening was enjoyed by everyone in attendance and kick starts the planning for the next tourism season.
At the end of the ceremony H.E. The Governor Mr. Colin Roberts noted Mr. Mason’s accomplishments and service to the tourism industry in the Falkland Islands and wished Mr. Mason the best in his newly appointed role with the Falkland Islands Tourist Board in the United Kingdom.
MercoPress will have an exclusive interview with Tony Mason, Chief Executive Officer of the Tourist Board in the coming days with an update on the new tourist board plans moving forward.