EUGENE, Ore., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Oregon Tourism Commission (dba Travel Oregon) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2014 Travel and Tourism Industry Achievement Awards, presented at the 2015 Governor's Conference on Tourism in Eugene, 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. 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 Alice Trindle, Executive Director of the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association. A tireless worker with an uncanny knack for building partnerships, Trindle has led the way in placing the great expanse of Eastern Oregon in the eyes of visitors.
"It's an honor to recognize Alice for her passion and decades of service to Oregon's travel and tourism industry," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. "She has an incredible ability to accomplish great undertakings with a limited budget. She is also a champion of building local partnerships to help Eastern Oregon achieve much more than any one person or entity could do on their own, all while ensuring that the region maintains its unique character and charm."
The 2014 Travel and Tourism Industry Achievement Awards were announced in these categories:
The Gene Leo Memorial Sustainable Tourism 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 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 St. Paul Rodeo Association, where the small community of little more than 400 residents hosts 10,000 visitors daily during the first week of July. Celebrating their 80th anniversary in 2015, the renowned event exemplifies Oregon's rural heritage celebrated with community involvement, stewardship and philanthropy.
The International Sales and Development Award recognizes excellence in the creative sales, marketing and development of Oregon as a destination in the international marketplace. The award was given to David Penilton, President of America's Hub World Tours. Penilton and Hub World Tours have been vital partners in effectively selling Oregon to the international markets. They have also been instrumental in offering familiarization tour assistance, helping international media and tour operators share the story of Oregon across the globe.
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. One of only two mobile historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sumpter Valley Railroad was named the winner of this year's award. Volunteers from across the state pitch in every summer to continue the restoration and operation of the railroad. Many of these volunteers share the history of the railroad and the important role it played during the region's early timber and mining heyday with visitors.
The Oregon Tourism Development Award recognizes creation of an innovative program, promotion or product, utilizing best practices, sustainability and creative problem-solving. This year's award was presented to the Willamette Valley Wineries Association for their efforts in creating Pinot in the City. This exceptional marketing opportunity allows Willamette Valley winemakers to travel as a group to various cities across the United States in order to showcase the region's award-winning wines, giving a taste of Oregon to both tour operators and potential visitors.
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 the state's economy. The award was presented to the Coos Bay Chapter of the Surfriders Foundation, a group of admirable advocates for the ocean and environment. The group organizes a number of beach clean ups and environmentally-friendly projects, including the annual Stand Up! for the Bay paddle event to engage awareness of Oregon's waterways.
The Oregon Tourism Leadership Award recognizes an individual who champions the value of tourism, and whose leadership behind the scenes contributes significantly to the recognition and impact of Oregon's travel and tourism industry. An advocate for business, tourism and the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, Steve McCoid, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, earned this inaugural award. A member of a number of non-profit coalitions and boards, McCoid has been instrumental in developing strategies to assist and advance the prosperity of restaurant and lodging operations in Oregon.
The Outstanding Oregon Advertising Award recognizes superior advertising communication, regardless of budget or medium. This inaugural award was presented to Visit Bend for their winter advertising campaign that included a mini-guide that appeared in both print and digital formats. In addition to the winter guide, they declared November "Ale Trail Month", and used radio promotions and Facebook contests targeted at beer fans throughout the Northwest to successfully drive visitation numbers during the often slow visitor season.
The Outstanding Oregon Content/Visitor Guide Award celebrates the best domestic or international content program that inspires travel to Oregon. 1859 Magazine was given the inaugural award by capturing the essence of Oregon for visitors, as well as its residents and admirers and in its bi-monthly statewide lifestyle magazine. Photo essays and well-crafted stories embody the breadth of the Oregon experience.
The Outstanding Oregon PR Initiative Award recognizes the best domestic PR program that resulted in quality earned media coverage and inspired travel to Oregon. A pair of organizations, Central Oregon Visitors Association and Travel Lane County earned the inaugural award for their partnership in highlighting the prolific bicycling product they have in their regions in the much-revered Bike Bible issue of Bike Magazine. But what's more, they leveraged the Bike Bible endorsement to highlight the importance of mountain biking and its economic impact with local print, radio and broadcast news.
The Outstanding Oregon Social Media Program Award recognizes the best international or domestic social media program that engages visitors and inspires potential travel to Oregon. The inaugural award was presented to Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory. Their 2014 social media strategy increased Facebook followers by over 20,000 with soaring engagement. All of their other social platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter) made tremendous strides in both telling and selling the Oregon story, as well.
The Outstanding Oregon Website Award celebrates websites that utilize industry best practices in design, technology, strategy and content to impact travel to Oregon. Travel Lane County was named the winner of this inaugural award. After re-launching www.EugeneCascadesCoast.org in 2014, they've seen an immediate increase in site traffic. Large, compelling images; trip-planning tools and use of social media sharing functions highlight the visual appeal and user experience.
The Outstanding Overall Oregon Marketing Program Award recognizes the best domestic or international overall marketing program or campaign that attracted visitors to Oregon. The inaugural award was presented to Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory for showing the people of Austin, Texas why the Territory is the perfect escape from the relentless summer heat. In a fun and unique way, they were able to garner more than 10 million impressions for this campaign. Their custom fleet of pedicabs wrapped in images from Mt. Hood Territory, a city-wide scavenger hunt, custom-designed billboards, radio spots and banner ads, all encouraged Austin residents to visit Oregon.
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 nearly 94,000 Oregonians. www.TravelOregon.com