Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur received the 2012 Governmental Tourism Leadership Award from the Southeast Tourism Society, an Atlanta-based organization that covers 12 southeastern states. The Huntsville-Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau nominated Orr for the award which honors an elected official whose support or influence enhances the tourism industry.
“The Shining Example Awards highlight some of the best work in travel and tourism. The winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow,” Huntsville CVB CEO Judy Ryals said.
State tourism director Lee Sentell said that Orr has been a strong supporter of the Alabama tourism industry. As chair of the Alabama Senate Budget Committee, Orr created a $5 million fund to support the marketing and development of attractions through the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Historical Commission. More than 200 agencies benefited from the grant program, Sentell said.
Orr accepted the award at a Huntsville press conference attended by Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison Mayor Troy Trulock, along with 28 North Alabama tourism representatives.
Mobile’s Bayfest music festival was named the top event or festival of the year within the 12-state area.
BayFest was awarded the Shining Example Award from among other annual events with attendance of more than 100,000. Also, in order to be considered for the award, BayFest had to show a high level of organization, event production and community involvement.