Virginia Beach, Va. (May 9, 2014) – This week the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) hosted two significant events to celebrate the travel and tourism industry, which is the second largest revenue generator for the City of Virginia Beach. On Monday, May 5th, Governor Terry McAuliffe traveled to Virginia Beach to speak to an audience of more than 200 business and community leaders at the Virginia Beach State of Tourism Industry luncheon.  

Prior to arriving in Virginia Beach, Gov. McAuliffe issued a proclamation recognizing May 3-11, 2014 as Travel and Tourism Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In his remarks at Virginia Beach’s State of the Tourism Industry event, Gov. McAuliffe emphasized his support of Virginia’s tourism industry noting it was the fifth largest private employer in the Commonwealth, generating more than $21 billion in annual visitor spending.   On May 6th, during the 25th Annual National Travel & Tourism Week Hospitality Awards celebration, Virginia Beach CVB Director James B. Ricketts and Virginia Beach Councilman John Uhrin honored more than 400 outstanding frontline hospitality professionals at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Ricketts and Uhrin thanked those in attendance for their hard work, praising their outstanding customer service delivery and professionalism. “You are the reason our visitors return; you are the face of Virginia Beach,” Ricketts emphasized.  

The Hospitality Awards celebration included “Hollywood-style” photography, dazzling lights, music and a performance by Stephen Ragatz who is part of the Virginia Arts Festival’s Cirque Mechanics. Don Roberts served as emcee and assisted in announcing the winners of awards in 25 travel and tourism-related categories along with Virginia Beach Restaurant Association President Bill Gambrell and Virginia Beach Hotel Motel Association President Joe DaBiero. Out of 150 nominations, 30 winners were selected by an independent panel of members of the Virginia Beach Travel & Tourism Foundation. The Carlos B. Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award, created to recognize one individual who has provided outstanding service to the industry for more than 25 years, was presented to George Alcaraz, General Manager of Resort Management, LLC. For the first time in the award program’s history, four other categories ended in a tie.   This Friday, May 8, the Virginia Beach CVB will join the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance (CVTA) during the annual “Thank a Visitor Day” at Norfolk International Airport. Members of the region’s CVBs will greet arriving and departing guests, and thank them for their contribution to the region’s travel and tourism industry.     The list of categories and winners of the 25th Annual National Travel & Tourism Week Hospitality Awards are:

  •  Public Service
  • Patricia Ross – City of Virginia Beach Historic Houses
  • Festivals/Events Capt. Mike Standing – Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout
  • Social Responsibility Victoria Foster – Drag Yourself to Brunch
  • Attraction Steve Ambrose – 2 for Fun
  • Transportation
Judy Swystun – Black and White Cabs of Virginia Beach
  • Outside Banquet/Catering Beth Williamson – Distinctive Gourmet
  • Retail
Amanda Link – Ocean Beach Club Discovery Center
  • Bartender Patrick Sullivan – Spring Hill Suites VB Oceanfront
  • Chef Kevin Sharkey – Sheraton VB Oceanfront
  • Dishwasher Jeremy Cuffee – Westin VB Town Center
  • Host/Hostess Bianca Olivo – Rockafeller’s Restaurant
  • Line Cook Lincoln Lawrence – Rockafeller’s Restaurant
  • Prep Person Jeremy Ellis – VB Resort Hotel & Conference Center
  • Wait Staff Villa Cadle – Fusion Restaurant (Sheraton)
  • Activities/Spa/Fitness Coordinator Kathryn Lopez – The Flowering Almond Spa (Founder’s Inn)
  • Banquet/Catering Thaddeus Boyd – Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center
  • Clerical/Front Office (tie) Lauren Collins – VB Resort Hotel & Conference Center Peter Gallagher – Ramada on the Beach
  • Continental Breakfast Attendant Ailisha Parker – Spring Hill Suites VIRGINIA BEACH Oceanfront
  • Front Desk (tie) Morgan Banjoman – Best Western Plus Oceanfront Deryl Wilson – Spring Hill Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront
  • Housekeeping (tie) Samuel Gregory – Courtyard Virginia Beach Oceanfront North Tim Horton – Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach
  • Laundry Tiffany Freeman – Homewood Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach/Norfolk  Airport
  • Maintenance (tie) Newton Bell – Holiday Inn Express & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Joe Bluestone – Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach
  • Sales Manager Donna McNulty – Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center
  • Valet Tyler Chavers – Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfron