Named First Recipient of the CHTA ‘Icon Of Hospitality’ Award
At Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) in Coral Gables - FL, USA
Legendary Caribbean hotelier Heinz Simonitsch, who defined luxury hospitality and environmental sustainability, will receive the first Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Icon of Hospitality Award.
Simonitsch of Jamaica's famed Half Moon resort in Montego Bay was conferred the high honor today, his 90th birthday, for his tireless and innovative contributions to the region's hospitality industry. Simonitsch is credited with pioneering the pairing of luxury resorts with ecological sustainability and community benefit approaches. Simonitsch moved to Jamaica in 1963 where he leapt to prominence when he expanded The Half Moon Club into a 400-acre resort where luxury became synonymous with environmental sustainability and community benefit innovations, which included local access to the resort's medical facilities.
Prior to his iconic innovations in the region, Simonitsch enjoyed a distinguished career in the Caribbean tourism industry, earning many distinctions since he began in 1953 as dining room captain at the Elbow Beach Surf Club in Bermuda before he became the managing director of Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club in 1965 until his retirement in 2002. Today, he splits his time between Jamaica and his home country of Austria, where he owns the Grandhotel Lienz, which opened in April 2009.
The former CHTA Caribbean hotelier of the year received many accolades, including the Honorary Order of Distinction, Commander Class (CD) conferred by the Governor General of Jamaica for outstanding contribution to tourism in Jamaica and the Caribbean; the Golden Cross from the Austrian Government for his long service as Honorary Consul General in Jamaica; the International Humanitarian Award from the American Friends of Jamaica for his commitment to helping the Jamaican population; the title of Professor awarded by the Austrian President for services and outstanding contribution to Austria; and the Blue Mountain award conferred for exceptional contributions to the continued growth and development of Jamaica's tourist industry.