Thursday, September 3, 2009

Governor Perdue Honors Tourism Leaders at Industry Conference

Annual tourism event held at Lake Lanier Islands Resort

Governor Sonny Perdue honored several of the state’s most dedicated tourism professionals at the 2009 Governor’s Conference on Tourism at Lake Lanier Islands Resort yesterday. The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (GACVB) and the Tourism Development Alliance of Georgia (TDAG) hosted the joint tourism industry conference from August 31 – September 2. More than 400 tourism industry professionals from around the state attended the annual conference.

Award recipients were nominated by Georgia’s tourism industry professionals. Recipients of the 2009 tourism awards include:

The Antebellum Trail was recognized with the Paul Broun Award for Marketing Initiatives, given in memory of Senator Paul Broun of Athens. The trails seven communities joined forces to create the Antebellum Trail Pilgrimage to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the trail this spring. The Antebellum Trail features Athens, Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville, Macon and Gray/Old Clinton.

Lisa Smith, Executive Director of the Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau, received the Larry Allen Award for Excellence in Tourism, given in memory of the late Larry Allen, general manager of Stone Mountain. Smith was recognized for her excellent leadership skills, community involvement and innovative thinking. Smith serves as the President of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

The Macon Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) received the Al Burris Award for Creative Expression, named after Representative Al Burris of Marietta. The Macon CVB was recognized for their creative and innovative USB Guitar Flash Drive used to attract meetings and media to Macon.

Bill Hardman, Jr., President & CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society (STS), was honored with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Hardman, Jr. has worked tirelessly to promote travel and tourism in the state of Georgia since 1969. An innovative leader and a true tourism champion, he has twice been named Georgia’s Travel Industry Leader of the Year. In 2007, he was appointed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior to serve on the National Park System Advisory Board.

Georgia State Representative Larry O’Neil was awarded the Legislative Award for his outstanding support of the tourism industry during the Legislative session. Representative O’Neil is the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing House District 146, Warner Robins. During his tenure, tax bills have been introduced that support tourism including a bill creating oversight at DCA and the Performance Review Board (HB1415) and legislation for Callaway Gardens and the hotel tax (HB1168). He was also present for the Zoos Incentive Bill (HB 129); the Civil Rights Museum (HB 349); and the Symphony Incentives bill (HB 395). He also championed the Tourism Product Development Act (HB 1129); the limited liability act to protect the state’s small agri-tourism businesses; the tax credit bill for growing Georgia’s film industry (HB 110) and numerous other pro tourism tax credits.

The Tourism Champion Awards were created in 2003 to acknowledge the support and guidance given to the state’s tourism industry by individuals and organizations who have taken leadership roles in developing tourism opportunities in communities across the state. This year’s private industry partner is Sean McGinnis and Emmis Publishing. Emmis’ publication collection has grown to include the state’s travel, golf, kids, African-American, calendar of events and foreign language guides. The partner agency award goes to the Department of Transportation for establishing Georgia’s Old Federal Highway Driving Trail, a first-class heritage tourism product. The product development award went to Martin Harmon Director of Public Relations at Roosevelt Warm Springs. Harmon is responsible for the re-location of the Smithsonian Exhibit “Whatever Happened to Polio?” from the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., to Warm Springs.

The Governor’s Conference on Tourism is intended to further educate members of the tourism industry about travel and tourism related issues on a national and statewide level, reinforce existing tourism development efforts and plan for future initiatives. It offers a opportunity for discussion on the challenges and opportunities faced in a changing world, an economic forecast for the industry, current travel trends, the development of a strategic plan, methods of supplementing tourism dollars and how to develop tourism products.

The 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will take place August 30 – September 1 in Athens, Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. For more information, visit
Community News You Can Use
Follow us on Twitter: @gafrontpage

No comments: