Four tourism stalwarts honoured for their service
President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association Omar Robinson (left) greets chairman of theCOVID-19 Resilient Corridors Committee John Byles prior to the start of a Jamaica Information Service(JIS) Think Tank held at the agency's regional office in Montego Bay, St James, recently.

FOUR stalwarts of Jamaica's tourism industry — John Byles, Nicola Madden-Greig, Camille Needham, and Donald Grizzle — are among those being honoured in this year's national honours and awards.

The appointments to the Orders of the Societies of Honour could not have come at a better time, as the industry continues to provide leadership in keeping the economy afloat amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, its injurious effect on certain lifestyles, and the efforts to overcome the widespread economic devastation.

Byles has been honoured with the Order of Distinction (Commander), while Grizzle, Needham and Madden-Greig have been honoured with the Order of Distinction (Officer).

Byles is the chief executive officer of Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which owns the nature adventure operation Chukka Cove in St Ann.

Undaunted by the threat of the novel coronavirus, he insists that “the outlook for Jamaica is positive”. He also maintains that, with thousands more rooms coming and cruise lines adding more vessels and increasing their commitment to the region, “the Jamaican brand is strong in the market base”.

Grizzle, the owner of the famous Charela Inn — a Negril-based hotel that grows its own food — is a pioneering hotelier and farmer in Negril whose property is located on the famous seven-mile stretch of beach. It appeals to travellers searching for an “authentic Jamaican experience”.

Madden-Greig has been group director, marketing and sales at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston; group director, marketing and sales at Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort (Jamaica), and group director, marketing and sales at Courtleigh Hotel & Suites.

She has also been on the board of Pegasus Hotels of Jamaica Limited, Tourism Product Development Company, and National Hotels & Properties Limited and served as vice-president of Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA).

She holds an MBA from The University of the West Indies and an undergraduate degree from Florida International University.

Needham has been the executive director of the JHTA since her return from the United Kingdom in 1983.

While in Britain she served as the assistant to the managing director of Caribtours Limited, where she was responsible for general administration and staff supervision, hotel rate negotiation, and liaison with airlines, hotels and ground-handling agents. Her responsibilities included inspection visits to the Caribbean.

Prior to leaving Jamaica in 1981, she was assistant general manager of the JHTA. In the 1970s she was also an administrator with the Ministry of Education.

Needham has chaired the advisory committee for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Technology, Jamaica, served on the board of directors of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust and as an ex-officio member of several tourism-related committees as well as been a member of the steering committee for Jamaica's Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development.

She was a three-term president of the Kingston Club of Skal International, the travel industry's principal worldwide club, from 2006-2008.

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter

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