Governor Nathan Deal - Georgia’s 82nd Governor (2011-2019)

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Industry awards presented at annual Governor's Tourism Conference

August 29, 2012

Georgia tourism industry professionals were recognized by their peers this week at the 2012 Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference. The joint tourism industry conference was hosted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau in Atlanta, Aug. 27-29. More than 500 tourism industry professionals from Georgia’s convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, hotels and more attended the annual conference.

“One of the state’s strongest assets is its draw as a tourism destination for millions of domestic and international visitors,” Deal said. “This $45 billion industry directly employs more than 391,000 Georgians and I thank them for their immeasurable contribution to the state.”

2012 award recipients, nominated by the Georgia tourism industry, include:

The Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau’s “Best of Lake Lanier Smartphone App” was recognized with the Paul Broun Award for Marketing Initiatives, given in memory of the late state Sen. Paul Broun Sr. of Athens. It is awarded to the entity that demonstrates an effective and unique marketing initiative.

Tonya Rosado, executive director of the Kingsland Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), received the Larry Allen Tourism Leadership Award, given in memory of the late Larry Allen, general manager of Stone Mountain. In her role as the president of the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus she helped to raise awareness of CVB organizations across the state.

Visit Savannah received the Al Burris Award for Creative Expression, named after former state Rep. Al Burris of Marietta. Visit Savannah was recognized for their Visit Savannah Video Contest. Overall, impressions for the contest exceeded 40,000 new Facebook fans.

Ginger Taylor received the Tom Kilgore Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplifying outstanding lifetime commitment to tourism. Taylor’s career began at the Plains Visitor Information Center, she served as a Regional Tourism Representative, became director of the Regional Tourism Representative program and served as the director of Community and Governmental Affairs for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Her significant organizational and leadership talents have earned her the respect and admiration of the tourism industry.

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.

Commissioner Lamar Paris of Union County was awarded the Tourism Champion in Government Award for showing extraordinary support by an elected official. His accomplishments include the acquisition and development of a golf course, a campground, covered horse arena and heritage center. In addition, Paris provided financial support to develop the county’s first tourism marketing plan which allows all lodging tax to be spent on tourism.

Destination Brooks was the recipient of this year’s Tourism Champion Product Development Award. The Quitman-Brooks County Tourism project was established after their participation in Georgia Tourism’s first ever Tourism Product Development Resource Team. The volunteer organization is responsible for creating a festival, website and new brochure.

Jim Nelems, founder of the Marketing Workshop, received the Tourism Champion Private Sector Award. Nelems has worked tirelessly to spread the message and garner support for Georgia Tourism. He is a founding member of the Southeast Chapter of the Travel & Tourism Association and was instrumental in bringing back “Georgia On my Mind” as the state’s official tourism theme.

The Tourism Champion Partnership Award was given to the Georgia Historical Society for its role in increasing visitation and tourism expenditures during the state’s commemoration for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. They partnered with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, as well as other state and private agencies on creating historical markers and an interactive website.

The Governor’s Tourism Conference is intended to educate members of the tourism industry about travel- and tourism-related issues on a national and statewide level, including emerging trends as well as ways to reinforce current tourism efforts and future initiatives.

The 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will take place Sept. 11-13 at the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort in Stone Mountain.

Stefanie Paupeck
Georgia Department of Economic Development