2008 Alabama Tourism Award Winners

Thirteen tourism organizations, leaders and events were honored Tuesday night at the closing event of the three-day 2008 Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Governor and Mrs. Bob Riley attended the awards gala at The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover. The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile was named the Attraction of the Year; the Event of the Year Award went to the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in Gadsden for its “Art of Competition” exhibit; and the Brundidge Historical Society’s original folklife play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime,” was honored with the Governor’s Tourism Award.
 
Individuals recognized for outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry included Southern Living Vice President and Editor-in-Chief John Alex Floyd Jr. who was honored with the Media Advocate Award; U.S. Representative Artur Davis with the Government Advocate Award; Charles Winters, Vice President of Marketing, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau was named Tourism Employee of the Year; Gene Brett, Brett-Robinson Realty, Gulf Shores/Orange Beach was named Executive of the Year; and the Alabama Tourism Department Employee of the Year award went to Art Director Tommy Cauthen. Chalmus Weathers (posthumous) was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame.
 
The 2008 Organization of the Year was presented to the Decatur/Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau; Welcome Center of the Year went to the Sumter Welcome Center in Cuba; The Montgomery Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau received the Partnership Award; and the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro was honored with the Director’s Award.
 
The awards were first presented in 1998 and honor outstanding achievements in the state’s tourism industry. Each award winner is recognized as a key player in making tourism a strong economic force. Tourism contributed $9.3 billion to Alabama’s economy in 2007 and supported 170,000 jobs statewide. An estimated 22.4 million people visited the state last year. 

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