Southeast Tourism Society Names
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Region’s Travel Attraction of the Year
Attractions, CVBs, Individuals Also Earn Shining Example Awards
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2013) – The 6.5 million, 1.2-mile-long Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has received a Southeast Tourism Society Shining Example Award
as the Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year.
The Southeast Tourism Society
, which promotes travel in a 12-state region, presented 11 other Shining Example Awards as part of its 30th
anniversary celebration in Jacksonville on Nov. 5.
Three tourism promotion organizations received Shining Example Awards for their overall work:
- The Louisiana Office of Tourism was named the state travel department of the year.
- The Charleston, W.Va., Convention and Visitors Bureau received the award for CVBs with budgets less than $2 million.
- The Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau received the award for CVBs with budgets greater than $2 million.
In addition, the Governmental Tourism Leadership Award went to three jurisdictions in Virginia that recognized the power of cooperation and joint marketing. They are the City of Roanoke, the City of Salem and Roanoke County that united to support the Roanoke Valley CVB and its new tourism brand, “Virginia’s Blue Ridge.”
John Dersham, executive director of DeKalb County Tourism in Alabama, received the Rising Star Award given to a tourism professional with fewer than five years in the industry, and Jim Wescott was the posthumous recipient of the Beacon Award for leadership. Wescott promoted the South Carolina Lowcountry for 27 years before his death earlier this year.
Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tenn., received the Tourism for Tomorrow Award for its work in sustainable tourism. It was the 2012 Tourist Attraction of the Year.
Festivals that won Shining Example Awards were the Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs, Miss., and the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset, Ky.
The top marketing award went to Visit Greenville in Greenville, S.C., for its “Yeah, THAT Greenville” promotion of the popular Carolina Upcountry destination, and the niche marketing award went to the Virginia Beach CVB for its work to promote wedding tourism.
"The best work in travel and tourism wins Shining Example Awards, and winners are examples that others in the industry can follow," said STS President and CEO Bill Hardman. "Winners truly are shining examples in tourism, which is the largest, second-largest or third-largest industry in every Southeastern state."
Two special awards completed the celebration.
+ The Dorothy Hardman Spirit of STS Award went to Ron Kuhlman, vice president of tourism marketing and sales for the Virginia Beach, Va., CVB. Kuhlman joined STS at its founding. He has been a career-long advodate of regional promoton and is on the STS board.
+ STS Chairman Susan Thomas presented the Chairman of the Board Award to Alisa Bailey, CEO of the Charleston, W.Va., CVB, for her work for STS this year. Bailey, who has been state tourism director for both Virginia and West Virginia, was named West Virginia’s Tourism Professional of the Year earlier this month.
STS started the Shining Example Awards program in 1985. Here is the full list for 2013.
Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year
Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade – Myrtle Beach, S.C.
CVB of the Year (budget less than $2 million)
Charleston, W.Va., CVB
CVB of the Year (budget greater than $2 million)
Greater Ft. Lauderdale CVB
Top 20 Event/Festival of the Year (attendance up to 100,000)
Master Musicians Festival – Somerset, Ky.
Top 20 Event/Festival of the Year (attendance more than 100,000)
Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival – Ocean Springs, Miss.
Tourism for Tomorrow
Ruby Falls – Chattanooga, Tenn.
State Tourism Office of the Year
Louisiana Office of Tourism
Governmental Tourism Leadership Award
City of Roanoke, City of Salem and Roanoke County, Va., for support of the Roanoke Valley CVB and its new tourism brand, “Virginia’s Blue Ridge”
Rising Star Award (for extraordinary on-the-job performance by someone with fewer than five years in tourism)
John Dersham – executive director of DeKalb County Tourism in Alabama
Beacon Award (for demonstrated tourism leadership)
Jim Wescott – executive director of the South Carolina Low Country Tourism Commission
Best Marketing Campaign
Visit Greenville (S.C.) for its “Yeah, THAT Greenville” campaign
Best Niche Marketing Campaign
Virginia Beach CVB for its wedding tourism campaign
Chairman of the Board Award
Alisa Bailey, CEO of the Charleston, W.Va., CVB
Spirit of STS Award
Ron Kuhlman, vice president of tourism marketing and sales for the Virginia Beach, Va., CVB
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to promoting and developing tourism in its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, lodging properties, resorts, convention and visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, travel media and other travel-related organizations.
Tom Adkinson, APR