For the first time ever, the award is shared by three tourism partners

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (May 9, 2012) - The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau (CACVB) presented the 2012 Tourism Achievement award to Albemarle County, Nelson County and the Artisans Center of Virginia for their Monticello Artisan Trail partnership. The award was presented yesterday at an evening reception at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards (5022 Plank Rd) in North Garden in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.

"Travelers today want authentic, experiential travel. They want to try something different and this is exactly what the Monticello Artisan Trail offers," said Kurt Burkhart, Executive Director. The Trail was inaugurated in October 2011, and features from nearly 100 partners, from artisan studios, craft related venues and points of interest, to agri-artisans and farms, restaurants and lodging. "The reaction from travel media, tour operators and travelers to the Monticello Artisan Trail has been extremely positive," said Burkhart, "and we are thrilled to present the leaders behind this amazing project with the Tourism Achievement Award.

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.

Past years' Tourism Achievement Award winners include:
2011 Stroh Bob Downtown Business Association
2010 O'Connell Gary Albemarle County Service Authority
2009 Sandridge Leonard University of Virginia
2008 Quinn Michael Montpelier
2007 Herskowitz Richard Formerly of Virginia Film Festival
2006 MacDonald Greg Michie Tavern
2005 Rogan Felicia Virginia Wines (Oakencroft)
2004 Damon Nancy Virginia Festival of the Book
2003 Imhoff Kat Formerly of Monticello
2002 Elliott Bryan CHO - Regional Airport
2001 Cochran Bobbie Formerly of CACVB
2000 Driver Helen Wintergreen Resort
1999 Kluge Patricia Virginia Film Festival
1998 Allen Susan Former First Lady of Virginia
1997 Slaughter Kay Former Mayor, City of Charlottesville
1997 Marshall Forrest Former Board of Supervisors Chair, Albemarle County
1996 Jordan Dan Monticello

This year also marked the first year of a new tradition; for the first time ever, individuals working in the local tourism industry were recognized for their commitment and excellence in the following categories:

- Best Server: Restaurant, Bistro, Café, Lounge or Pub - Awilda Hayden, The Boar's Head
- Best Chef - Tucker Yoder, The Clifton Inn
- Best Customer Service: Lodging - Joyce Kaswandik and Emily Whitworth, Guesthouse Reservation Services
- Best Customer Service: Attractions - Travis Lively, Monticello
- Best Customer Service: Transportation Services - Rex Marchman, Monticello
- You Made My Cville and Albemarle County Vacation! - Patty Pribus, Blue Ridge Country Store

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 direct 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 April 2nd through the 20th.

Last but not least, the CACVB presented the Shenandoah National Park with the New Horizons Award for the Celebrate Shenandoah's 75th Anniversary, which generated renewed interest in and about the Park.

About the 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) which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and a satellite Visitor Center in the Albemarle County Office Building (401 McIntire Rd) which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as a touch-screen kiosk at Monticello's Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center.

About National Travel & Tourism Week
According to the U.S. Travel Association, the first full week of May is annually recognized as National Travel and Tourism Week, a tradition first celebrated in 1984. National Tourism Week was established when the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution in 1983 designating the week to be celebrated in May. In a White House ceremony, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation urging citizens to observe the week with "the appropriate ceremonies and activities."

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