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Patricia Affonso-Dass Is Caribbean Hotelier Of The Year

Patricia Affonso-Dass, Group General Manager of Ocean Hotels Group in Barbados, is the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Caribbean Hotelier of the Year. This recognition is a testament to her decades-long dedication and exemplary leadership in the hospitality industry, underscoring her significant contributions to Barbados and the wider Caribbean region.

A true product of the Caribbean, Affonso-Dass was born in Dominica and lived in in Trinidad and Antigua before moving to Guyana where she grew up. She has lived in Barbados for the past 22 years.

After earning her degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University, she embarked on an impressive career spanning over 30 years. From her initial role with CHTA (formerly CHA, under the Caribbean Hospitality Training Institute), to her pioneering work in Guyana where she managed an eco-resort and was one of the founding members and early presidents of the Guyana Hotel and Tourism Association, to her current position at Ocean Hotels Group, she has consistently demonstrated a passion for excellence and a commitment to elevating Caribbean tourism standards.  

A passionate believer in the power of local hotel and tourism associations to be change agents for the industry and their countries, she served as President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, while also contributing to the regional development of the industry, serving on the Board and Executive Committee for CHTA and later being elected by her peers to serve as the organisation’s president.  

As CHTA President from 2018 to 2020, the hotelier navigated unprecedented challenges posed by a series of major hurricanes, followed by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. During her presidency, she played a pivotal role in shaping tourism policy and fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders.

Vanessa Ledesma, CHTA’s Acting CEO and Director General, commented, “Patricia’s exceptional leadership was instrumental in steering the association through this period of uncertainty and recovery. Her deep-rooted support for the development of Caribbean people has been exemplified throughout her career, as she’s discovered and developed countless local talent, mentoring and guiding them, with many moving on to positions of senior management and leadership in the industry.”   

Under Affonso-Dass’ strategic guidance, Ocean Hotels Group has become a center of hospitality excellence in Barbados. Her hands-on approach and visionary leadership have led to the successful management of properties such as O2 Beach Club & Spa, Sea Breeze Beach House, and The Rockley. Each property offers guests an unparalleled experience rooted in Bajan authenticity.

Renée Coppin, Chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), remarked, “Patricia’s commitment to service and excellence is unmatched. Her leadership has not only elevated Ocean Hotels Group but has also positively impacted the wider Caribbean tourism landscape.”

Beyond her professional endeavors, Affonso-Dass has tirelessly advocated for the industry, serving in various capacities within the BHTA. As President, she played a pivotal role in shaping tourism policy and fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders.

The Caribbean Hotelier of the Year Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by CHTA, recognises excellence in Caribbean hotel operations. It celebrates superior achievement in resort operations, food & beverage, marketing and sales, resort maintenance, staff training and motivation, innovative management, environmental practices, community affairs, and involvement with national and regional lodging industry associations.