The annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit (formerly known as the Governors Tourism Industry Conference) is an educational and networking event for the state’s diverse tourism and travel industry, but it is also an event that recognizes the hard work, contributions, and leadership among individuals and companies within the industry. This year’s event had almost a 10-percent increase in attendance despite the economy. Overall Maryland’s tourism industry continues to see positive growth and increased visitor numbers thanks to the efforts of professionals in the industry. The MTC gives six Professional Awards and eight Marketing Awards to members of the MTC nominated by their peers and/or employers.
• Tourism Person of the Year: Susan Jones, Director of Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.
• Audrey Davenport Hospitality Person of the Year: Brigitte Peters, Tourism Director for the City of Havre de Grace.
• Professional of the Year: Lisa Dennis, Director of Events and Advertising for the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.
• Impact Award: Worcester County Tourism for the Host Our Coast Promotion Project.
• Maryland Tourism Education Foundation and Educational Development Award: Michael Haynie, Managing Director for Baltimore’s Tremont Plaza Hotel and Tremont Grand.
• Tourism Advocate Award(s): Senator James Robey, Delegate Guy Guzzone, and Howard County Tourism and Promotion.
• Industry Partnership Award: National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center for Baltimore Waterfront Invasion, and Visit Baltimore.
• Cooperative Promotion Award: St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism for the Celebrate 375 Campaign.
• Cooperative Promotion Award: Queen Anne’s County Department of Economic Development, Agriculture and Tourism; Kent County Office of Tourism; Cecil County Department of Economic Development, Agriculture, and Tourism for the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway Alliance.
• Best New/Improved Product or Event: Talbot County Office of Tourism for the Talbot County Bicycle Trails.
• Best Printed Promotional Material: Havre de Grace Office of Tourism for their destination guide Journey to a Simpler Time
• Best Visitors Guide, Destination Compendium: St. Mary’s County Division of Tourism for Discover St. Mary’s County Destination Guide Discover St. Mary’s Maryland Begins Here.
• Best Electronic Marketing: Garrett County Chamber of Commerce for the WTAE-TV Ad Campaign.
• Best Shoestring Budget: Howard County Tourism and Promotion for Spirits of Ellicott City.
• Judges Award: Linganore Wineries.
Mary Jo McCulloch, President and CEO of the Maryland Tourism Council said the awards recognize the hard work and dedication of industry members and inspire creativity and new initiatives across the board.