Ala. Dept of Tourism presents Tourism Awards - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ala. Dept of Tourism presents Tourism Awards

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Department of Tourism is announcing its awards on a wide range of categories. It's all part of the 2010 Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism Awards.

Star Wars Exhibit Named Event of the Year

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center's "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" exhibit has been named the 2010 Alabama Event of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department. The award will be presented at a black-tie ceremony on Tuesday, August 17, at the Renaissance Hotel and Spa in Montgomery. 

The exhibit debuted at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center June 25 and runs through September 6. It features more than 80 props and costumes from all six Star Wars movies. More than 60,000 people have visited since the opening of the exhibit and it broke even financially within the first 10 days. 

"It is a great honor for the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit to be named the event of the year. We are proud to have made an impact in bringing tourists from all over the Southeast to our great state," said Space & Rocket Center CEO Larry Capps. "We will continue to reach to tourists to return to Alabama as we bring Narnia, CSI, Sue the T-Rex and Be the Dinosaur to the Space & Rocket Center this upcoming year." 

Criteria for Event of the Year include outstanding performance, outstanding economic impact statistics, quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts, additions and/or improvements designed to increase appeal to tourists, increased attendance, and the enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourist destination.  

Elmore County Economic Development Authority gets Partnership Award

Elmore County Economic Development Authority (ECEDA) received the tourism department's 2010 Partnership Award.    

The ECEDA hosted the first Alabama Festival and Event Development conference in Wetumpka in June 2010. More than 200 event planners and organizers attended the tourism related conference from all over the state. The one-day conference provided information to communities to help plan events, budgets, funding, and publicity. 

"We want to thank the Alabama Tourism Department and AUM for partnering with us on this conference and are honored to have been recognized," said Barry Mask, Executive Director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority. 

Criteria for the Alabama Tourism Partnership award include outstanding efforts by two or more businesses, organizations, attractions, events, and/or individuals to combine their resources in creative, innovative, and/or cost-effective ways to promote tourism in Alabama; quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts; and enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourism destination. 

Tourism Department Employee of the Year

Cynthia Flowers, Executive Manager for the state tourism department has been named the 2010 Tourism Department Employee of the year.

Flowers has worked with the tourism department for the past 15 years and has served as Executive Assistant to director Lee Sentell for the past six years. She also serves as Personnel Director for the state tourism department. She is responsible for coordinating the yearly Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism Awards Banquet. 

"She not only serves as the state tourism liaison to all aspects of the tourism industry, government officials and state agencies, she keeps my schedule in order and then finds time for personnel duties," said tourism director Lee Sentell. "She is definitely an asset to our industry and the state. It is an honor to see Mrs. Flowers recognized for her hard work and dedication." 

Flowers is also board member on the Federal Reserve Board Tourism Council. She was highlighted in the National Association of Professional Women Magazine in April 2010 as a recognized professional Woman in America. 

Criteria for the Alabama Tourism Department Employee of the Year include outstanding job performance; development of new and/or improvement of existing projects that benefit tourism; positive impact on the ATD's image within the industry; enhancement of state image as a tourism destination; and letters of recommendation from others.

Alabama Music Hall of Fame named Attraction of the Year

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame (AMHOF) has been named 2010 Attraction of the Year by the Alabama Tourism Department.

Since 1986 the AMHOF has inducted 63 musicians, song writers, producers and other music professionals. In 2010, seven music professionals were inducted into the hall of fame at an awards ceremony in Montgomery. 

"We are deeply honored to be chosen as the state's attraction of the year. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame is dedicated to our ongoing mission of recognizing and preserving our state's rich musical heritage," said John Briggs, Chairman of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Board. 

AMHOF provided its recording studio for the Travel South Conference in Birmingham in April 2010. Attendees at the tourism and travel conference were able to record songs and take away a souvenir CD. The recording booth was a big hit. The hall of fame is also credited with hosting the "All in One' concert with headliner Mac McAnally at Norton Auditorium in July. 

Criteria for the Attraction of the Year award include outstanding economic impact statistics, quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts, additions and/or improvements designed to increase appeal to tourists, increased attendance and the enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourist destination.

The 14 winners are as follows:

·         Lifetime Achievement Award­—Dr. David Bronner, CEO Retirement Systems of Alabama

·         Government Advocate Award—Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange

·         Media Advocate Award—Lynn and Milton Fullman

·         Governor's Tourism Award—James W. Rane Sr., CEO Great Southern Wood, Abbeville

·         Organization of the Year—Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

·         Attraction of the Year—Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia

·         Event of the Year—Star Wars exhibit at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville

·         Tourism Executive of the Year—Patti Culp, Alabama Travel Council

·         Tourism Employee of the Year—Angie Pierce, Alabama Mountain Lakes Association 

·         Alabama Tourism Department Employee of the Year—Cynthia Flowers

·         Partnership Award—Elmore County Economic Development Authority

·         Welcome Center of the Year—Grand Bay

·         Theme Campaign— City of Valley & Cotton Mill Reunion

·         Rising Star Award—Christine Elmore, Dothan Convention and Visitors Bureau

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Dept. of Tourism

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