Jamaican Tourism Award Recipients Celebrated At Caribbean Tourism Awards Luncheon

Today the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in association with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) presented two distinguished travel industry individuals, William B. Rodgers of Air Jamaica and Joe Pike of Travel Agent magazine, with awards of excellence for their efforts in marketing the Caribbean as a premier travel destination. The presentations were made during the CTO’s Allied Awards Luncheon held at the New Yorker Hotel as this year’s Caribbean Week in New York comes to a close. The Marcia Vickery-Wallace and Marcella Martinez awards honor significant achievements of individuals whose work has shared the Caribbean experience with the world.

During the luncheon, attendees were treated to the hospitality and taste of the Caribbean, including a delectable dessert prepared by Chef Julio Cesar Mercedes from Iberostar Rose Hall. 

Marcella Martinez Award
Established in 2004, the Marcella Martinez Award is presented annually for unparalleled achievement in the design and implementation of successful programs to strengthen and support Caribbean tourism. The award is named in honor of Jamaican Marcella Martinez, who dedicated her extraordinary career as a public relations professional to the promotion of tourism to the Caribbean. 

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett presented this year’s Marcella Martinez Award to William B. Rodgers, Air Jamaica’s Senior Director, Government & Community Affairs. The Tourism Minister noted, “This award is most deservingly presented to Will, as he is affectionately called, who has given more than three decades of service to Air Jamaica and has played a key role in promoting the Caribbean and its people.”

Rodgers is a seasoned veteran of the travel industry who came out of retirement on the request of the Government of Jamaica to serve as interim President & CEO of Air Jamaica in 2007. With more than 35 years experience working in the airline sector, his vast knowledge has been critical in the strategic placement and repositioning of Jamaica’s national airline.

He has served in several executive positions, including Senior Vice President in charge of Industrial Affairs, Director of Contracts & Technical Services, Vice President In-Flight Services, Vice President Marketing & Sales, as well as a ten-year assignment overseas as Vice President in charge of the company’s North American operations.

Rodgers holds a Certificate in Accounting and Strategic Marketing from Harvard University

The Marcia Vickery-Wallace Award
The Marcia Vickery-Wallace Award was established in 1987 as a tribute to Marcia Vickery-Wallace, former editor of Brides Magazine. Each year the JTB, in conjunction with the CTO, dedicates an award in her memory to a journalist who has followed in her footsteps with the same dedication to promoting the Caribbean region. This year Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch presented Joe Pike, Travel Agent magazine’s Caribbean expert, the Marcia Vickery-Wallace Award for the passion with which he has written about the charming culture of the region.

In presenting the award, Jamaica’s Tourism Director said, “Joe has visited and covered high profile events in countries all over the world, but since taking over the Caribbean beat, he has demonstrated a deep love for the culture and the people. He has traveled to and written on just about every island in the Caribbean, and cherishes each experience.”

Pike has been covering the Caribbean for about three years and in that time has visited the region more than 100 times. Some of his notable cover stories include ‘Family Travel in the Caribbean’ and ‘Hidden Caribbean Gems.’

On one of Pike’s first assignments to the Caribbean, he visited Chukka Caribbean Adventures where he participated in the Horseback Ride & Swim activity. He admits that while he was quite nervous riding alongside the cliff, his capable tour guide allayed his fears and made him feel safe and relaxed. This he believes embodies the spirit of not just Jamaica but the entire Caribbean adding that­ “if you trust them, they will trust you right back.”

Prior to working as a travel writer with Travel Agent, Pike was a staff writer for The Asbury Park Press based in the New Jersey Shore, covering local news. He holds a Master’s Degree in Newspaper, Magazine and Online Journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.