PUERTO RICO—Bahamian hotelier Stuart Bowe was named the 2016 Caribbean Hotelier of the Year by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

Bowe, the senior vice president and general manager, Resort Operations of Atlantis Paradise Island, received the coveted honor at the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum, hosted by CHTA, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Sunday.

Accepting the region’s premier hospitality award, Bowe credited his grandmother with teaching him service and attention to detail from “cleaning up the kitchen.”

Bowe’s contribution to the hospitality and tourism industry spans more than 27 years, having “cut his teeth” in customer service and management working at McDonald’s in his teenage years and entering the industry as a management trainee.

He subsequently worked his way up the ladder, storing and absorbing every experience to hone his leadership skills. Over the years he has worked in every department and in nearly all job categories, from dishwasher to busboy, from bartender to laundry attendant, from housekeeping to maintenance, from front desk to landscaping.

Stuart earned a BA in accounting in 1986 from Florida State University, an MBA in marketing summa cum laude from Walden University in 2009 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in applied management and decision sciences with a focus on leadership and organizational change.

Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, in a taped congratulatory message, described Bowe as “an exemplar” to be followed by generations of Bahamians. “He is a manager cum laude, one who has brought the pursuit of excellence to his work … on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, it is entirely on their behalf that I salute you for all that you have been able to do.”

“Stuart Bowe personifies Caribbean excellence. He is disciplined and innovative and a leader who inspires generations of Bahamians and Caribbean people through his accomplishments and his humanity,” said Frank Comito, director general and CEO of the CHTA and previously executive vice president of the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association.

Bowe was posted to Dubai from 2008 to 2010 to oversee the grand opening of the Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, serving as vice president of Resort Operations in the Middle East.

Returning to the Bahamas, he became active in the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, establishing numerous school programs to help children understand the importance of tourism and career opportunities in the sector. The junior hotelier program he was instrumental in setting up in primary and secondary schools has influenced more than 4,000 students.

Now in his third consecutive term, Stuart Bowe is the longest serving president of the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, and he currently serves as first vice president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

Also in winners’ row Sunday, Barbadian Heather Hinds, general cook at The Club Barbados Resort & Spa, was named Caribbean Employee of the Year, and Jamaica’s Derrick Wright, an income auditor at The Tyrall Club in Jamaica, was named Caribbean Supervisor of the Year. James Hepple, president and CEO of the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, captured the Caribbean Association Executive of the Year Award.