The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) on June 5 presented two distinguished travel industry individuals, Marcia Erskine, Managing Director of Marcia Erskine and Associates; and Baz Dreisinger, freelance writer, with awards of excellence for their efforts in marketing the Caribbean as a premier travel destination. Marcia Erskine was presented with the Marcella Martinez award while Baz Dreisinger received the Marcia Vickery-Wallace award. The recipients, who were chosen because of their commitment to covering and marketing the Caribbean as a premier travel region, were presented with their awards during the CTO’s Caribbean Media Awards Luncheon held at The New Yorker Hotel as part of activities to mark Caribbean Week in New York 2014.
The Marcia Vickery-Wallace and Marcella Martinez awards honor the significant achievements of individuals whose work have shared the Caribbean experience with the world.
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 Deputy of Director of Tourism Donnie Dawson presented this year’s Marcella Martinez Award to Marcia Erskine. According to Mr. Dawson, “Marcia embodies the spirit behind this award. And those who know her, know that her passion for the region is undeniable. Her impact is far reaching, having developed and implemented public relations support for several tourism related entities including the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, British Airways, Delta Airlines, BWIA, Half Moon Resort, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Hotel Four Seasons, the Wyndham Kingston Hotel as well as ESPN Caribbean.”
In the Caribbean, Mrs. Erskine served as public relations representative for British Airways, spanning the entire region with responsibility for Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Cayman Islands, the Islands of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. She has also led teams of Jamaican hoteliers on overseas marketing missions throughout the Caribbean, the United States and Europe. Her company has had the distinction of representing the Barbados Tourism Authority for several years and during that time hosted a number of Crop Over Festival promotions in Kingston.
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 Regional Director in charge of Airline and Tour Operator Tony King presented the award to freelance journalist Baz Dreisinger. She writes about Caribbean culture, travel and music for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice and Wall Street Journal, among other outlets. She also writes and produces on-air segments for National Public Radio (NPR).
Baz, whose love for the Caribbean, its culture, music and lifestyle is unparalleled, earned this award for her dedication and commitment to reporting on the Caribbean region. She is well traveled and has written numerous stories that reflect each island’s cultural nuances – going beyond the sun, sand and sea to explore off the beaten path locations.
In presenting the award, Mr. King said, “While Baz finds it hard to sum up what excites her most about the Caribbean, an apt phrase is my spirit takes to it. Baz, who has been covering the region for many years describes the Caribbean as a legacy of paradoxes: joy and struggle, beauty and complexity, peace and exhilarating energy.”
Baz has written extensively about the Caribbean and describes her most compelling features as two New York Times cover stories in which she got to explore the history of Caribbean rum and cocoa. Another such feature includes one she penned for Caribbean Travel and Life on Carnival in Trinidad where she played mas for the first time. Mr. King noted that while every island has a piece of her heart, Baz lists Jamaica as her most memorable. Currently, Baz serves as an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College.
The Jamaica Tourist Board is a co-sponsor of this year’s Caribbean Media Awards Luncheon.