CONTACT:     Bri Warner                                                                               For Immediate Release


Annual award ceremony held today at the Old Metropolitan Hall

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 5, 2016) – The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) presented its 2016 Tourism Achievement Award (formerly “Tourism Person of the Year Award) to Chris Eure, Executive Director of The Paramount Theater for her visionary initiative, leadership, and community collaboration through which the historic venue has contributed to establish the greater Charlottesville area as a premier arts and culture destination. The award was presented at the CACVB’s annual Tourism Recognition Awards presentation, which was held at the Old Metropolitan Hall on the Downtown Mall, in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.

Following its Thanksgiving Eve 1931 opening, The Paramount remained Charlottesville’s crown jewel until 1974 when its doors closed for good. Almost from that moment, efforts were launched to save the theater from real and constant threats of demolition.  In 1992, the non-profit Paramount Theater, Inc. purchased the building. With a grant from the City of Charlottesville, the work began. Restored to its former glory, The Paramount Theater opened its doors to the public once more on December 15, 2004 – more than thirty years after it had closed. The theater is again a gathering place for Charlottesville and the region. Because of the efforts of so many – the architects, engineers, contractors, contributors, staff, volunteers, and of course the wonderful community who has shown such enduring support – The Paramount is not only a place to remember the past, but to celebrate the future.

Regarding winning the prestigious award, Chris Eure commented: “I am so honored to receive this award! The Paramount Theater has a profound impact on our community both culturally and economically. It is a privilege to serve the community by furthering the mission of The Paramount through high-caliber arts and enriching events, realizing the vision of all that the Theater offers our area. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to the visionaries who lead the charge to save the Theater and have shepherded it to this point,” she said. “As Oscar Hammerstein said, "you have to have a dream; if you don't have a dream, how are you going to have a dream come true?"  The arts are an incredibly important component of a vibrant community,” she added, “and this award acknowledges all that the Theater does to keep a continuous stream of culture enthusiasts and patrons visiting our area all year long. This constancy of artistic programs and events is so important to keep visitors coming even during the “off” season.”

Kurt Burkhart, CACVB’s Executive Director, remarks “The Paramount Theater is one of the most cherished cultural and artistic institutions in Charlottesville.  There is no question that it contributes to the touristic vitality of our destination.  Under Chris Eure’s leadership, The Paramount Theater has been thriving as a prime performance venue, as it continues for fulfill its education mission,” he said.  “This is why she was selected as this year’s recipient of the CACVB Tourism Achievement Award.” 

Past years’ Tourism Achievement Award winners include:

2015                Lynn Easton – Easton Events
2014                LOOK3 – Festival of the Photograph
2013                Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.
2012                Monticello Artisan Trail
2011                Bob Stroh, Downtown Business Association
2010                Gary O’Connell, Albemarle County Service Authority
2009                Leonard Sandridge, University of Virginia
2008                Michael Quinn, Montpelier
2007                Richard Herskowitz, Formerly of Virginia Film Festival
2006                Greg MacDonald, Michie Tavern
2005                Felicia Rogen, Virginia Wines (Oakencroft)
2004                Nancy Damon, Virginia Festival of the Book
2003                Kat Imhoff, Formerly of Monticello
2002                Bryan Elliott, CHO – Regional Airport
2001                Bobbie Cochran, Formerly of CACVB
2000                Helen Driver, Wintergreen Resort
1999                Patricia Kluge, Virginia Film Festival
1998                Susan Allen, Former First Lady of Virginia
1997                Forrest Marshall, Former Board of Supervisors Chair, Albemarle County
1996                Dan Jordan, Monticello

The annual tourism reception and award presentation allows the hospitality community the opportunity to celebrate the collaborative efforts of the local tourism industry while acknowledging the efforts of one particular individual or group who has shown great leadership through their commitment to tourism in our region.

The 2016 event also marked the sixth year of a now well-established tradition; individuals working in the local tourism industry were recognized for their commitment and excellence in customer service in the following categories:

- Best Server: Restaurant, Bistro, Café, Lounge or Pub – Melanie Roberts, Tip Top Restaurant

- Best Chef – Christian Kelly, Maya Restaurant

- Best Customer Service: Attractions – Erika Collazo, Glass House Winery

- Best Customer Service: Transportation Services – Jon Craig, Cville Hop On Tours

- Best Customer Service: Lodging – Cristina Peña Suárez

In tourism and hospitality, a business’s success is realized in large measure by the direct contact a person has with someone who is usually on the front-line or who provides customer service.  National Tourism Week is the perfect opportunity to recognize some very special people in our community who have provided a memorable experience for visitors and local patrons.  Winners of the above awards were selected through a public vote, which took place February 26 through April 13, 2016.

Additionally, the CACVB recognized an outstanding staff member again this year.  Robert Crytzer, travel specialist, was presented with the 2016 Shining Star Award for outstanding excellence in customer service.

About the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB):
In addition to serving as the global resource for marketing the tourism assets of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia, through, the CVB assists tour operators, meeting planners, reunions and other groups in planning visits to the destination.  CACVB’s mission is “to enhance the economic prosperity of City and County by promoting, selling and marketing the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, as a destination, in pursuit of the meetings and tourism markets.”  CACVB operates the Downtown Visitor Center (610 E Main St