Travel Oregon Announces Recipients of 2012 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Achievement Awards

Apr 15, 2013, 15:36 ET from Travel Oregon

SALEM, Ore., April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Achievement Awards, presented at the 2013 Governor's Conference on Tourism in Salem, Ore.

The annual awards recognize people and organizations across the state that go the extra mile to enhance the tourism and hospitality industry in Oregon. Nominated by their peers, the award recipients are outstanding examples of professionals who, by virtue of their vision, perseverance and dedication, are a credit to Oregon's tourism and hospitality industry.

The state's most prized recognition is the Governor's Tourism Award.  This year's award was given to former Speaker of the House of Oregon Representatives Larry Campbell, who was the key strategist in the conception and passage of HB 2267 in 2003, the Oregon Tourism Investment Proposal. He traveled the state to help cement broad-based industry support for the bill. The award was personally presented to Campbell by Governor John Kitzhaber.   

"Our robust tourism industry would not be where it is today without the Oregon Tourism Investment Proposal," said Governor Kitzhaber. "Since the passage of that milestone bill, we've seen incredible growth in this industry, with visitor spending up 42 percent and earnings for travel-related jobs up 44 percent. The modest investment we make promoting our state has an incredible return on investment, with $193 in new visitor spending for every $1 spent on our tourism advertising programs." 

The 2012 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Achievement Awards were announced in these categories:

The Gene Leo Memorial Award was established in 1994 to honor the late Gene Leo, known for his Oregon tourism contributions as Director of the Oregon Zoo, Portland Rose Festival and the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (now Travel Portland). Gene was an enthusiastic man who revered Oregon's natural beauty, loved her people and enjoyed the outdoors with gusto. This award recognizes an outstanding contribution for a tourism-related activity or attraction focused on Oregon's natural beauty or outdoor recreation. The award was presented to the owner of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Mike Keiser, for his philanthropic dedication to Oregon.

Keiser created the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance to disburse net proceeds from his Bandon Preserve golf course to benefit community projects that follow the "triple bottom line:" conservation, community and economy.   

The Oregon Tourism & Hospitality Industry Exceptional Partnership Award recognizes the efforts of a group of tourism organizations that together created a successful tourism program, promotion or product that is more successful than any single entity could have produced alone. It was presented to Oregon's North Coast Marketing Coalition. The communities of Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside and Cannon Beach combined resources to create a unique destination identity through a marketing campaign that asked their target audience, "Are you ready? It's time to go play."

The Oregon Tourism Development Award recognizes an innovative program, promotion or product created by an organization, business, community or region in Oregon that exemplifies best practices, sustainability and creative problem solving. The award was given to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and Oregon State University – Cascades. After decades without a four-year tourism and hospitality degree program in the state, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association spearheaded an effort with a group of tourism leaders and Oregon State University – Cascades, to initiate the Tourism and Outdoor Leadership Bachelor of Science degree in Bend.                   

The International Marketing Development Award recognizes excellence and creative accomplishment in the marketing and promotion of Oregon as a destination in the international marketplace. The award was given to the Oregon Brewers Guild.  The Oregon Brewers Guild has promoted Oregon as a world-class culinary tourism destination by participating in international trade shows in the key markets of Europe, Oceania and Asia.

The Outstanding Oregon Tourism Volunteer Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the impact of volunteers in Oregon's tourism and hospitality industry and on Oregon's economy. The award was presented to both the Pine Valley Fair Association and Waterhouse Falls Salmon Harvest. When the grandstand at Baker County's fairground was condemned, the Pine Valley Fair Association conducted a 120-day campaign that not only raised over $125,000 in donations, but rebuilt the entire structure in time for a major event. The Waterhouse Falls Salmon Harvest volunteers worked with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Neah-Kah-Nie High School, and Tillamook Bay Boathouse cannery to capture hatchery Coho salmon and process it for distribution to Tillamook County schools and food banks.     

The Oregon Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award recognizes an individual or group who demonstrated a strong commitment to conserving Oregon's natural and cultural resources through leadership in environmental stewardship and socially responsible practices. The award was presented to Umpqua Fishery Enhancement Derby. During its 21-year existence, the derby has raised a million dollars and leveraged those funds into more than $4 million for matching grants to support the Umpqua basin fishery. This off-season tourism event has bolstered the Douglas County economy and helps to introduce youngsters to the steelhead's lifecycle.

The Oregon Heritage Tourism Award recognizes outstanding use of Oregon's cultural or natural history by an Oregon individual, organization, business, community or region, to draw visitors to the state. The award was presented to the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee.  The Committee has worked for more than 25 years to restore and complete access to the Historic Columbia River Highway and the related Trail for public use and enjoyment. Nearly complete, the Trail provides expanded views of America's only Congressionally-designated National Scenic Area.

The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors' experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians' quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state's $8.8 billion tourism industry that employs more than 92,000 Oregonians.

SOURCE Travel Oregon