The Minister of Tourism, Transportation and Labour and the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association presented the Shoco National Tourism Awards of Excellence 2011, this past Friday, at the end of the first Tourism Summit, in a festive gathering at the Renaissance Convention Center.
The gala evening celebrated recognitions of outstanding achievements in tourism, awarding hotelier Gerrit Griffit of Divi Resorts a Lifetime Achievement Award.
While in past years the Shoco recognitions were bestowed by the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association, this year the awards were taken over by the Ministry of Tourism, Transportation and Labour, lending the program extra stature which accompanies official government citations. AHATA however remained as one of the proud main sponsors in conjunction with Digicel and Caribbean Mercantile Bank.
Hotelier Gerrit Griffit embarked on his lifelong career with Divi Resorts Aruba on June 1st, 1976, as General Manager of the Tamarijn Beach Resort. He celebrated 35 years of service with the popular Caribbean chain, not too long ago.
Griffith came to Divi as an accomplished, young, dynamic professional with an excellent education having completed his studies at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, in the USA. At Divi, Griffith made his way up the career ladder contributing his talents in many areas, demonstrating great passion for the industry and exceptional leadership when dealing with both resort guests and resort employees.
Even-tempered, self-motivated and filled with creative ideas which he is always the first one willing to implement, Griffith earned the love and appreciation of his resort guests and the admiration and respect of company management and owners, over the years.
In his present position as General Manager of both Divi Village and Dutch Village Griffith helped grow the property from 200 rooms to 489 rooms. Yet his contributions to hospitality cannot be expressed in numbers or statistics, it is his spirit that sets him apart, as a professional and as a human-being.
Griffith own and spreads around, a determination to get up in the morning and smile, come rain, come shine, Griffith is always equally stoked, equally enthusiastic and fired up, driving forward with consistent, ever-present optimism and speed. He moves fast, in a result-oriented pace, sweeping guests and employees into his momentum, while making sure they are all having a great time, as that high energy, continuously exhibited by Griffith is peppered with an excellent sense of humor and child-like zest for life.
Most of all, Griffith has dedicated the past decades to Guest Satisfaction, in a Barefoot Elegance environment, and while the atmosphere of his resorts is usually relaxed and informal, he still hold himself and his staff to a very high standard of service, with a distinct friendly and personal touch.
The Minister of Tourism Transportation & Labour, Otmar Oduber, talked about some of those rare and precious qualities from stage at the Renaissance Convention Center as he handed Griffith his well-deserved award. He also mentioned twice, that Griffith managed to infect his three children with the bug of excellence. His son Gerald Griffith won the Shoco National Tourism Award of Excellence, as Young Professional of the Year, in 2009.
In his address the Minister also recognized the great love directed by Griffith to his Island, Aruba, a love with he takes everywhere he goes, pouring in into everything his does, and pride of being an Aruban and able to share this lovely pida baranca, this piece of the rock, with vacationers from all over the globe.
Pictured here, hotelier Gerrit Griffith, receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award, SHOCO National Award of Tourism 2011, from Minister Otmar Oduber. Also Griffith surrounded by his loving colleagues and adoring family members.