Today the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in association with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) presented two distinguished travel industry individuals, Ed Kritzler, author of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean and former JTB public relations executive; and David Swanson, contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler 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 York Helmsley 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.
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 Ed Kritzler, author of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean and former JTB public relations executive. The Tourism Minister noted, “Ed’s work has been a great influence on Jamaica and the Caribbean for many years. He was also a close friend and colleague to Marcella, which gives me more reason to be honored to present this award to him today.”
A New York writer, Kritzler is a recognized authority on Jamaica, having authored hundreds of articles on the island. In his 10-year tenure with the JTB, he was in charge of organizing trips to the island for members of the foreign press and broadcast media and managing the visitors while on island. Over the years, Kritzler developed new programs and, while serving as Jamaica’s film liaison officer, he was responsible for more than a dozen feature films and network documentaries.
Jamaica has been a part of Kritzler’s life for nearly 44 years. He caught the Jamaica “bug” while traveling during college, and later lived, worked and researched on the island. Kritzler has served Jamaica in many capacities over the years, but his true passion has been his research on the history of the island. After years of exploring and writing, his vision finally came to fruition in November 2008 when Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean was published by Double Day.
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 David Swanson, contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, the Marcia Vickery-Wallace Award. Swanson earned this award for his dedication to both Jamaica and the Caribbean islands as a whole, a personal attachment that stems from his first trip to Jamaica in 1986. This trip has inspired the majority of his stories to focus on the culture of this unique region, and has spurred many more visits to each of the individual islands.
In presenting the award, Jamaica’s Tourism Director said, “Without a doubt, David is one of our more ‘serious’ advocates for destination travel to the Caribbean today, praising as he does the many special charms, romance and the affordable access of our individual countries.”
In his 16-year career as a writer/photographer, Swanson has written multiple award-winning “Affordable Caribbean” columns for Caribbean Travel & Life magazine. He was chosen as the Travel Writer of the Year by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in 2007, and the following year received an award for the Best Feature Article in a Consumer Magazine from the CTO for his story on the region’s top twenty-five affordable lodgings.
Author, co-author and contributing editor to sixteen different travel guidebooks, Swanson’s stories and photographs have also been published in more than 50 North American newspapers and dozens of magazines. In fact, in 2007, his photograph of Carnival in Trinidad won gold in the Bill Muster Competition. Swanson has served as Secretary on the Society of American Travel Writers Board of Directors since 2009.