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Entrepreneur Dennie earns top tourism award

People person: Dennie O’Connor, Bermudian entrepreneur and winner of the 2019 International Certified Tourism Ambassador Star Award after receiving local awards (Photograph provided)

A Bermudian entrepreneur hailed as a “shining example” of a tourism ambassador has won an international award for his work in the industry.

Dennie O’Connor won the 2019 International Certified Tourism Ambassador Star Award after receiving three local CTA Star Awards, including Ambassador of the Year, in May.

Mr O’Connor, the owner of Cosmopolitan Club Lounge and co-owner of Tobacco Bay and Bermuda Triangle Experience, said: “With tourism as a main staple of our economy, I feel as though this award is not just for me, but for Bermuda as a whole.

“Being able to go up against others outside of Bermuda and come out on top has been incredible because it has allowed us to showcase Bermuda’s first-class hospitality and beauty on the world stage.

“I see no end in sight for me as I look to grow the tourism hospitality sector with world-class attractions, people and services.”

Karla Lacey, the Bermuda Tourism Authority chief operating officer, said Mr O’Connor had exemplified Bermuda hospitality for more than 25 years.

“His passion and knowledge of Bermuda is what helps to set our island apart from other destinations,” she said.

“Most recently, his commitment to quality service delivery has helped set new standards, and provided a measurable positive economic impact, for the island’s beach economy.

“He is a true asset to Bermuda’s tourism industry.”

Mickey Schaefer, president of the Tourism Ambassador Institute, said Mr O’Connor was “a shining example for the 17,000 other CTAs internationally”.

John Marks, of the TAI International CTA of the Year selection committee, said they had been impressed by his longstanding commitment to Bermuda hospitality.

“He has been responsible for getting more than 40 of his employees CTA certified, and in many cases paying for the programme out of his own pocket,” Mr Marks said.

“He and his staff believe in Bermuda, and go that extra distance to make the visitor experience both meaningful and enjoyable.

“Countless people comment that Mr O’Connor always goes above and beyond, ensuring that guests have a smile on their face, just as he does.”

Kevin Dallas, chief executive of the BTA, said the award proved what the authority already knew — that Mr O’Connor was world-class.

Mr Dallas added: “He embodies the spirt of hospitality that visitors rave about after a trip out here.

“This award is also a reminder that quality service is essential to a good visitor experience and a critical part of Bermuda tourism’s comeback story.

“We salute Dennie and all the people on the front lines every day making the island a distinctly hospitable place.”

Introduced to Bermuda by the BTA in 2015, the CTA programme offers tourism workers tools to enhance the visitor experience, increase community economic impact and build a positive destination image.

Renewed annually, this internationally recognised designation demonstrates badge holders’ knowledge about Bermuda’s attributes, features and attractions and ability to respond to visitor inquiries courteously and professionally.