The NAF Academies of Miami-Dade County Public Schools

M-DCPS’ Academy of Hospitality & Tourism Names Gene Prescott 2023 South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year


The Advisory Board of Miami-Dade Public Schools’ NAF Academy of Hospitality & Tourism (AOHT) is delighted to announce that Gene Prescott, Chairman & CEO of Seaway Hotels Group was named South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year at the 32nd Annual Awards Luncheon held November 16, 2023 hosted by the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Gene Prescott, a pioneering force in Florida’s vibrant hospitality industry, has left an enduring mark on the region’s growth over several decades. Gene’s work since his arrival in Florida four decades ago has culminated with far-reaching statewide industry impacts. With over four decades of experience in the travel and hospitality sector, Gene’s achievements stand as a resounding testament to his unwavering expertise and dedication. 

Gene’s leadership at Seaway Hotels Group also demonstrates his tireless advocacy for Florida tourism. Under his leadership, the organization provided hotel accommodations, luxury suites, wedding and meeting halls, golf, and events packages in Florida. One of Gene’s most significant achievements was his purchase of the iconic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables in 1992. Built in 1926, the Biltmore Hotel was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1996 and has become a social, civic, and political epicenter in Miami-Dade County. 

Beyond his impressive work in the hospitality industry, Gene is an exceptional community member whose contributions have significantly improved Florida’s tourism industry. He has taken on instrumental roles within various boards at Florida’s paramount institutions and organizations, all focused on driving economic growth within the state. 

Gene has been a valued member of the Orange Bowl Committee since 2021, serving on its finance and investment committees. He has also been an Advisory Board Member of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management since 2003, as well as on the board of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, where he received the prestigious Hotelier of the Year Hall of Fame award in 2013. Gene is a past chairman and has served on the board of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2003 and currently serves on the Florida International University Board of Trustees. 

Other distinguished nominees of this year’s South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year include Founder and President of Bibi Art Media, Bibi Andrade; General Manager of the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, Julissa Kepner; General Manager of the Marriott and AC Fort Lauderdale Airport, Mychal Milian; General Manager of The Betsy South Beach, Jonathan Plutzik, CEO of the Orange Bowl Committee, Eric Poms, and Executive Director of Ocean Drive Association, Ceci Velasco.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ AOHT is a member of the non-profit organization NAF. Academies are  located in 18 Miami-Dade County Public high schools. Proceeds of the South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year luncheon benefit work-based learning activities and scholarships for AOHT students and professional development for teachers. The mission of AOHT is to prepare a diverse community of high school students for post-secondary education and careers in hospitality & tourism. 

Photos by: Al Ricketts Photo