VIP Sunshine Awards Did you Receive some Bermuda Sunshine? Did a Bermuda resident go above and beyond making your experience one to remember? Nominate that special person for the Bermuda Sunshine Award. YOU COULD WIN A FREE HOTEL STAY IN BERMUDA! Winners... 3rd Sunshine Award Winner, Ms. Aishah Muhammad Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnessy, VIP Chair, Pinning the winner, The Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, The Hon. Shawn G. Crockwell,The third quarter Sunshine Award Winner Aishah Mohammad, Mr. Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). Ms. Aishah Muhammad of Co-op Taxi was nominated by Maria Gonzalez of Ireland who said, "I would like to nominate Aishah because she is a true ambassador of Bermuda for the following reasons: I contacted her company originally to book my return taxi fare for me and friends. She always replied in a timely and friendly yet professional manner. This made a very good impression on me about her company and Bermuda. A couple of days before traveling to Bermuda, I asked her if she could help me find cultural events or anywhere I could see the Gombey dancers, also restaurants where I could try local foods like Hopping John, etc as I was more interested in getting to know Bermuda and its people than just doing the beach. Aishah had gone further than the extra mile, she contacted me within 24 hours with lots of information on where to eat, what to do and even sent me a video to show me the location of the tennis courts where the Gombey Festival was going to take place. She even tried to arrange for me to meet Heather Nova, when she found out I was a big fan, who happened to be in town that week I was there. When I arrived in Bermuda, I had a very stressful time as my luggage was delayed for 24 hours. Aishah sent me a bag of goodies to my guesthouse with a sarong, t-shirt, Bermudan souvenirs, newspapers, postcards and other goodies that made my day when I had nothing to wear. She and her partner Peter came to visit me the following day and we spent a couple of hours chatting and enjoying some drinks together. They made me feel at home in Bermuda and they helped me realize in my first 24 hours in the island what Bermuda and its people are about. It was an amazing cultural exchange full of laughter and it made all my worries about the missing luggage disappear. They diffused the situation. A couple of days later, Aishah organized a boat trip and Hoppin' John lunch for me, but because of a storm, it got cancelled. The following morning, I woke up and I found a bag full of Bermudan gifts. There was a Gombey hat that Peter got for me, a bottle of Gosling rum, ginger beer, and a picture drawing with a frame of a Gombey dancer, drawn by a local artist. This was a gesture I did not expect at all. They did it out of kindness and expecting nothing in return, their aim was to make sure I loved Bermuda and I had a great time there. Aishah kept calling me every day to make sure I was ok, I felt like I had a mother there, looking after me. She has become a friend now, she is my Bermudian friend that I will never forget. She is a true ambassador of Bermuda, she made me love the island and its people. We had a cultural exchange I'm proud of and I look forward to one day welcoming her in my home in Ireland." The Chair of Visitor Industry Partnership, Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnessy is proud to congratulate and thank Ms. Aishah Muhammad for making Ms. Gonzalez's Bermuda holiday such a special memory, "She truly deserves this award as she exemplifies the true Bermudian spirit of Hospitality and friendship and brought some special Sunshine to Ms. Gonzales's vacation". The Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, The Hon. Shawn G. Crockwell commented, "I wish to sincerely commend Ms. Aishah Muhammad for her outstanding efforts in helping to make a visitor to our shores feel so welcome. As a country of people who are renowned for their love of travel, I think most of us have experienced the frustration of missing luggage at some point or another – if only we all had a 'Ms Muhammad' at those times to pop up with a goody bag and something to wear! These kinds of stories really warm my heart and encapsulate the spirit of Bermuda." Congratulating Aishah, Chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Mr. David Dodwell commented: "If everyone in Bermuda treated our visitors in the same manner that Aisha treated Ms. Gonzales, not as a stranger, but as a friend she just hadn't met yet, there would be queues at every gateway airport for flights to Bermuda!" Ms. Muhammad received a VIP Sunshine Award Pin and a congratulatory lunch at the Victoria Grill compliments of the Island Restaurant Group, with the Minister of Tourism,The Hon. Shawn G. Crockwelland Mr. Bill Hanbury, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnessy, the Chair of the Visitor Industry Partnership. Mr. Hanbury remarked, "In the short length of time that I have been with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, I have listened to a few of the talk shows, read the letters to the editors and talked to many people from all walks of live. There is nostalgia and a yearning that imbues the community for the heyday of tourism in Bermuda. Perhaps it is a wish not only for the economic advantages but also for the respect, excitement and friendliness that visitors found when they came to these shores. We need a renewal of that warmth and friendliness so that people just can't stay away from us. Aishah Mohammad epitomizes the inherent personality of Bermudians: proud of their country, proud of their heritage with a need and a joy to share their island with others. In addition to her celebratory lunch and Sunshine Award pin, Ms. Muhammad will be treated to a hotel stay at the beautiful Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa, complete with dinner and breakfast, compliments of Mr. BusharaBushara, General Manager. 2nd Sunshine Award Winner, Mrs. Gladys Madeiros Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnessy, Chairperson of the Visitor Industry Partnership, Minister of Tourism and Transport , the Hon. Shawn Crockwell, JP,MP, Second Quarter Sunshine Award winner, Mrs. Gladys Madeiros, and David Dodwell, Chair of the Tourism Authority. The second quarter winner of the VIP Sunshine award is Mrs. Gladys Madeiros who was nominated by Ms. Randi Stirn of Maryland. Ms. Stirn highlighted his experience with Mrs. Madeiros: "I had the very good fortune of being assigned to seat 20 E on my Bermuda bound plane out of Baltimore. As soon as I took my seat, I was greeted with a smile and a sunny hello from the stranger next to me, who I soon learned to be Mrs. Gladys Madeiros. Over the course of two hour plane ride, this vivacious, energetic ray of sunshine told me all about her native country. A born and bred Bermudian, this woman proudly shared her knowledge of her homeland, openly and honestly. Gladys informed me of where to visit, where to eat, sites not to be missed and places only the locals know about. In mid sentence, she interrupted, "why don't I take you around myself? I'm free this Thursday and Saturday, just give me a call!" She handed me her home telephone number. Being a native Baltimorian, I was not used to this kind of unprovoked hospitality, warmth and friendship. My plane encounter was a wonderful way to begin my time away. So my daughter (whom I was meeting in Bermuda) and I called Gladys up the very next morning, and she arrived at our hotel, the Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, a few hours later with her daughter in-law, ready and eager to show us a beautiful Bermudian day. We began the day with a golf cart ride and tour around Tuckers Point. She offered us freshly baked banana bread and ginger beer and we continued our tour down the southern coast of Bermuda, down the roads "the buses can't take you." We paid a visit to the lighthouse and took in the amazing view, ate a delicious traditional fish cake sandwich on raisin bread with bananas and avocados and finished the day with a stunning walk from Long Bay all the way to Horseshoe Bay, stopping at each cove to take a dip in the prestige aqua blue water and bury our feet in the Bermuda's pink sandy beaches. This woman was truly divine. Without reservation, she opened up her entire day just to show us a good time. Even more striking, she opened her heart and home to us, treating us not like tourists, but like family. I have never experienced hospitality and love like this from a stranger. Gladys made our vacation truly memorable and is the reason that we will surely return to this beautiful country. Gladys is a true ray of sunshine and a blessing to the lives she touches. Mrs. Madeiros was treated to a hotel stay at the beautiful Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, complete with dinner and breakfast, compliments of Mr. JP Martens, General Manager: Grotto Bay is pleased to support the Visitor Industry Partnership's Sunshine Award since it is individuals like this quarter's winner, Mrs. Madeiros, who make Bermuda a very special place for residents and visitors alike. One of the most common compliments I receive is that the people of Bermuda are so friendly and that their hospitality is second to none. Mrs. Madeiros proves this. The success of our tourism industry depends heavily on what Bermuda is famous for, friendly people. I wish to congratulate and thank Mrs. Madeiros for her indirect contribution to the hospitality industry since it is hospitality, as displayed by Mrs. Madeiros, that will make our visitors come back to our beautiful Island. Mr. James G. Tweed, the first winner of the VIP Sunshine Award programme Pictured Left is Mr. James G. Tweed, the first winner of the VIP Sunshine Award programme with Mr. David Dodwell, Chair of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnesssy, Visitor Industry Partnership (VIP) Chairperson. This quarterly programme is designed to highlight a Bermuda resident who has gone 'above and beyond' to make a Visitor's stay in Bermuda 'one to remember'. Visitors are encouraged to nominate a resident using a nomination form that can be found in monthly publication 'This Week in Bermuda' or online at www.vip.bm Mr. James G. Tweed was nominated by Mrs. JoAnn M. Brown of New York State. When her family visited Bermuda, they felt that Mr. Tweed went above and beyond his duty as a public transportation bus driver. She explained, "Our family had the pleasure of being passengers on his bus twice in the 3 days while we were docked in Bermuda. Mr. Tweed greeted all his passengers with a big smile and friendly demeanor. He obviously enjoyed his job and was proud to call Bermuda his home. He didn't only drive us to our destination, but he also proudly explained the sites and culture of Bermuda. At one point he stopped the bus so the passengers could take a picture of one of the many beautiful beaches of Bermuda. Mr. Tweed represented all the people of Bermuda, very kind and friendly. We have traveled to many islands in the past, and Bermuda is our top pick! We are looking forward to returning to Bermuda someday and we will proudly recommend family and friends to visit Bermuda Mr. Tweed received a VIP Sunshine Award pin and a congratulatory lunch with the Minister of Tourism. Mr. Tweed received a VIP Sunshine Award Pin and a congratulatory lunch, compliments of the Victoria Grill, with the Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Shawn Crockwell, JP,MP, the Chairman of the Tourism Board, David Dodwell and the Chair of the Visitor Industry Partnership, Dr. Barbara O'Shaughnessy. After hearing about this programme, the General Manager of The Fairmont Southampton, Mr. George Terpilowski awarded Mr. Tweed a complimentary hotel stay with dinner and breakfast.