SUNRIVER, Ore., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2013 Travel and Tourism Industry Achievement Awards, presented at the 2014 Governor's Conference on Tourism in Sunriver, Ore.
The annual awards recognize people and organizations across the state that go the extra mile to enhance the travel and tourism 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 Tim Wood, recently retired Director of Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. An advocate of quality experiences for the more than half-billion visitors to state parks during his tenure, Wood helped to position Oregon as a national leader in natural resource stewardship, cultural resource stewardship and interpretation.
"It's an honor to recognize Tim for his years of service," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. "His affinity for the natural wonders of Oregon and penchant to partner with Travel Oregon and bike proponents throughout the state led to the creation of the only Scenic Bikeways program in the country and an abundance of exceptional State Park opportunities that Oregonians and visitors can enjoy."
The 2013 Travel and Tourism 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 jointly presented to avid fisherman, conservationist and builder of the Steamboat Inn, Frank Moore and the inspirational filmmaker, John Waller, of Uncage the Soul Media. A soon-to-be-released film, "Mending the Line," captures Moore's love for the North Umpqua River and his quest to return to France to fish the rivers he crossed after landing in Normandy following the D-Day invasion.
The Oregon Travel and Tourism Industry Exceptional Partnership Award recognizes the collaborative efforts essential in creating and promoting an effective tourism program or product that is more successful than any single entity could produce alone. It was presented to Carolyn Hill, CEO of Travel Southern Oregon, for her work to align a diverse group of tourism organizations under the Travel Southern Oregon umbrella. With her leadership, multiple organizations are now sharing resources and working together for the common good of the region.
The Oregon Tourism Development Award recognizes creation of an innovative program, promotion, or product, utilizing best practices, sustainability, and creative problem-solving. Two awards were presented in this category. Allison George, Stakeholder Development Manager at Washington County Visitors Association was recognized for her work to develop and launch the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, Oregon's 10th Bikeway. Ashley Horvat, Oregon's Chief Electric Vehicle Officer, was recognized for her development of the state's EV Tourism Program and for developing EV itineraries for visitors. Horvat's efforts have helped Oregon lead the way nationally in EV infrastructure.
The International Marketing Development Award recognizes excellence in the creative marketing and promotion of Oregon as a destination in the international marketplace. The award was given to Jennifer Morkert, Sales and Marketing Manager of Newport's Elizabeth Street Inn. Morkert and the Elizabeth Street Inn have consistently delivered excellent value and unique visitor experiences while providing the tools that tour operators and wholesalers require to effectively sell Oregon to the global tourism market.
The Outstanding Oregon Tourism Volunteer Award recognizes the significant commitment by an individual or a group of individuals who exemplify the positive impact volunteers have on Oregon's travel and tourism industry and on the state's economy. The award was presented to Mike Cosgrove, the immediate former chair of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways Committee at the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. Cosgrove founded and coordinates John Day's lone bike shop – an organization run solely by volunteers who recognize the value of attracting cyclists to their community.
The Oregon Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award recognizes the outstanding leadership, stewardship, philanthropic and socially responsible practices that embody a strong commitment to decreasing the environmental impact of the travel and tourism industry. Two lodging properties were recognized in this category. WildSpring Guest Habitat's founders, Michelle and Dean Duarte of Port Orford were saluted for their early participation in the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund and for their communications around the importance of the sustainable environment at their eco-friendly, zero carbon resort. Portland's Heathman Hotel and its general manager, Chris Erickson, were also honored for exemplifying sustainable tourism leadership. The property offers electric vehicle charging infrastructure and sustainability packages for guests. The Heathman Hotel was an initial adopter and advocate of Travel Oregon Forever programs, as well.
The Oregon Heritage Tourism Award recognizes outstanding incorporation of Oregon's authentic cultural or natural history as a way to draw visitors to the state. In light of the Portland Japanese Garden's 50+ year history and strategic planning for an expansion that will benefit future generations, Stephen Bloom, CEO of the Portland Japanese Garden was lauded with this year's award. The world-class attraction has provided cultural, creative and educational opportunities for more than 3.5 million visitors.
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 $9.6 billion tourism industry that employs more than 94,000 Oregonians. www.TravelOregon.com
SOURCE Travel Oregon