12th Annual Paradise Coast Tourism Star Awards Honors the Top Tourism Employees in Collier

12th Annual Paradise Coast Tourism Star Awards Honors the Top Tourism Employees in Collier

Naples, Fla.(May 7, 2014) – Collier County’s top tourism industry stars were honored at the 12th annual Paradise Coast Tourism Star Awards on Tuesday, May 6, a program held each year during National Travel & Tourism Week to recognize the most outstanding tourism and hospitality employees in the region.  Two hundred tourism industry leaders and employees attended the event at the New Hope Event Center in Naples.  The awards program was followed by a Travel Rally to support the benefits that tourism brings to the Collier County community.    

This year’s theme was Paradise Coast Grand Slamin honor of the major “home runs” scored in tourism results for calendar year 2013, which saw significant increases in number of visitors, visitor spending and economic impact; annual rooms nights and hotel occupancy; tourism jobs; and tourist tax revenue. Over 1.6 million visitors bring a total economic impact of over $1.6 billion to Collier County each year. 

Jack Wert, executive director for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) delivered a State of the Collier County Tourism Industry Briefing after the awards program, reporting on positive economic impact and a big jump in tourism jobs for the year 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

“We have emerged as leaders in the state of Florida in terms of tourism employment growth, with 33,900 tourism and hospitality jobs in 2013 and already 1,000 more recorded during the first two months of 2014,” said Wert.

An independent panel of judges selected the Paradise Coast Tourism Star award winners from the more than one hundred nomination forms submitted for six categories, including the Rising Star, Best Innovative Idea, Hotel Exemplary Service Award, Attraction Exemplary Service Award, Restaurant Exemplary Service Award and Hospitality Above & Beyond. 

In addition, special awards are given by tourism staff members each year, including the Reel Star Award for work in support of the film industry, the Sales Star for superlative support of destination sales efforts, the Sports Star for achievement in support of sports marketing and the Sports Council of Collier County, the PR Star for work in support of the CVB’s destination public relations efforts, the Volunteer Award for support of area visitor centers and the Director’s Award for Excellence in Tourism, recognizing ongoing excellence in support of the area tourism industry. 

The following Collier County tourism employees are this year’s Paradise Coast Tourism Star Award winners:

Rising Star
Ashley Brinker, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa

Best Innovative Idea
Lise Sundrla, Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District

Hotel Exemplary Service
Sean Barry, Vanderbilt Beach Resort & Turtle Club Restaurant

Attraction Exemplary Service
This year, the judges selected two winners for this award.  They are Ginny Mauceri, Florida National Parks Association and Mike Sullivan, Naples Botanical Garden

Restaurant Exemplary Service
Cindy McLaughlin, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa

Hospitality Above & Beyond
Security Team, Waldorf Astoria Naples

Tourism Volunteer Award
Pat Reichard, Greater Naples Chamber Visitor Information Center

Sports Star Award
Paul Kindred, Naples Florida Fire Juniors Soccer Club

Reel Star Award
Tracy Tirrell, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort

Destination Sales Star
Cathy Christopher, The Inn on Fifth

PR Star
Naples Bay Resort

Director’s Award for Excellence in Tourism
Dan Sullivan, GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort and Olde Marco Island Inn & Suites

The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is the official tourism marketing and management agency for Collier County, Florida, known as Florida’s Paradise Coast. The CVB produces the area’s ongoing destination marketing campaigns, website and visitor guides, and provides information and assistance for travel media, group meeting and event planners, tour operators and travel agents. The CVB is funded entirely by the Collier County tourist development tax collected by hotels, short term vacation rentals and campgrounds. No local property taxes are used to fund the CVB or its marketing campaigns and tourism industry support activities.  For more information visit www.ParadiseCoast.com or call 1-800-688-3600 for visitor information or 239-252-2384 to reach the local CVB office.  Follow the destination on Twitter @ParadiseCoast, and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheParadiseCoast

Media Contacts:

Doug Ruchefsky                                  
Lou Hammond & Associates               

JoNell Modys 
Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB
239-252-2425 / Cell: 239-580-8481

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