Missouri's tourism industry celebrated the efforts of its innovators, ambassadors and navigators during the 38th Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism.
The festivities culminated with the induction of Marci Bennett, executive director of the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau, into the Missouri Tourism Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals whose long-term contributions have had a positive effect on the tourism industry. Inductees have demonstrated their commitment to the industry beyond personal gain and have significantly and measurably contributed to the industry in Missouri. The persons inducted have left lasting impressions in the economy and welfare of the state.
Grammy-award-winning Missourian Sheryl Crow received this year's Spotlight Award. The award recognizes an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the tourism industry for noteworthy contributions in promoting or "spotlighting" Missouri as a destination. Crow's contributions to her hometown of Kennett have generated considerable publicity for that Bootheel community. She also has donated the use of her name, voice and face to a number of special marketing promotions and campaigns for the Missouri Division of Tourism.
The Sen. Emory Melton Legislative Award pays tribute to legislators and individuals who work with legislators to promote the value of tourism to the state and work to ensure that the industry continues to flourish. This year's award recipient was Dale Amick of Jefferson City. Amick is the Missouri Travel Council's longtime lobbyist.
The Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau received this year's Marketing Campaign Award, recognizing achievement in integrated marketing campaigns that led to increased visitation, expenditures and sales tax revenues. The Joplin CVB captured the award for its Boomer Digs Joplin campaign.
The Navigator Media Award recognizes broadcast, print and electronic media that have supported and promoted tourism with stories and images that both inform and entice. Missouri's tourism industry awarded Show Me Missouri and its publisher Gary Figgins of Kennett this year's Navigator Award. The quarterly magazine has featured Missouri destinations and lesser-known attractions since it was first produced in 1998. In addition to producing the magazine, Figgins serves as president of the Missouri Travel Council.
The Ambassador Award honors an individual, business or organization that has supported the state's tourism promotion by cooperating with Division of Tourism projects, providing publicity for the state's attractions or other efforts that help travelers enjoy their Missouri experience. Anita Meinz of Cape Girardeau has been greeting visitors to the Cape CVB for 21 years. At 84, she has become the face of the Cape organization and is a friendly, knowledgeable ambassador for the region and the entire state.