Alabama Tourism Award Winners

The 2009 Alabama Tourism Awards were presented Tuesday night at a black-tie awards ceremony at the Marriott Grand Hotel in Point Clear as part of the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Tourism leaders and representatives from throughout the state along with First Lady Patsy Riley attended the awards banquet. The tourism awards honor outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry. Each winner is recognized as a key player in making tourism a strong economic force in the state. Tourism contributed $9.6 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2008 and supported 170,000 jobs statewide. An estimated 22 million people visited the state last year.
The Alabama Tourism Department coordinates the awards program. Award winners are as follows:
Government Advocate Award – Representative Richard Lindsey, 39th Congressional District.
Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame – Tony Rayne; founder and past president of Abbeville Chamber of Commerce.
Media Advocate Award – Raycom Media.
Governor’s Tourism Award – J. Gary Ellis, President of Compass Marketing, Inc., Gulf Shores.
Organization of the Year – Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association.
Attraction of the Year – The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Event of the Year – BayFest, Mobile.
Tourism Executive of the Year – Michael Gunn, VP of Convention Sales, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Tourism Employee of the Year – Jennifer Moore, Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Partnership Award – Alabama Barbeque Association.
Welcome Center of the Year – Sumter Welcome Center.
Theme Campaign – Alabama Scenic River Trail.
Rising Star Award – Kalleigh Drake, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce.

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