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TOURISM AWARDS: Recognizing Outstanding Achievements in 2018

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg

Evening of honors and accolades rally regional tourism Partners as prime time summer travel season approaches in Dauphin County.

HARRISBURG, PA (April 8, 2019) — Tourism Officials with Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) recognized individuals and local Partner organizations for their outstanding achievements in Travel, Tourism & Hospitality in the past year during the annual "Tourism Awards" held tonight at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey.

Approximately 140 of the bureau's Partners In Tourism and local tourism supporters attended the celebration which bureau officials say has become the organization’s “Funofficial” launch of the region’s prime tourism season.

“Everyone looks forward to this annual spring event as a time to recognize bureau Partners and honor local tourism stakeholders who have made great strides in the past year,” said Mary Smith, President and CEO of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg. “This night of celebration has become a fun way to rally our Tourism Partners who are ramping up at this time of year for another busy tourism season.”

Attendees say they enjoy the event as a rare opportunity in this busy industry to reunite and network with their peers in a fun atmosphere, according to Smith.

Keepin’ It Fresh Certificates (9)

Businesses that completed or initiated renovations, expansions, and improvements this past year:

The 903                                                                                                                            
For their renovated Wedding, Meeting and Event Venue in Middletown.

Carlisle Sports Emporium                                                                                            
The Carlisle Sports Emporium’s “Barn at Creek’s Bend Event Venue” has been Renovated, Restored, Repurposed for your next big or small event.

For Breakers Edge Water Coaster and White-cap Racer – in their Waterpark area.

Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction                                                                     

  • New S’mores Experience.
  • Create Your Own Candy Bar updated technology.
  • The Hershey’s Chocolate World Lobby Renovations.
  • And Sweet Personalization interactive guest experience.

Harrisburg International Airport (HIA)                                                                      
For NEW Non-Stop Routes with Frontier Airlines to Denver and Raleigh/Durham and Non-stop Service to Orlando International Airport.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course                                                  
In November 2018, Hollywood Casino in Grantville opened the 1st Sportsbook in Pennsylvania and in December - opened the New “Eatery Food Hall.”

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park                                                                                             
This Family-Owned & Operated attraction welcomed Two (2) Giraffes – Spike & (Bah-Kar-e) Bakari to their new home in Halifax, PA.

Stone Gables Estate: Home of Ironstone Ranch & The Star Barn                      
This one-of-a-kind premier event Venue and Surrounding Structures were relocated from Middletown to Stone Gables Estate in Elizabethtown.

Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey                                                                                     
The Sheraton completed an Extensive 3-Year Renovation to their Meeting Space, Restaurant & Bar, and Guestrooms in 2018.

New Biz On the Block Certificates (10)

Tourism-related businesses that opened within the region in 2018:

Beef Jerky Outlet                                                                                                 
They opened in the New Hershey Towne Square complex in 2018 and sell over 100 kinds of jerky, hot sauces, wild game, Gourmet Popcorn and Flavored Peanuts.

Carriage Stop Bed & Breakfast                                                                         
This Beautifully-appointed Country Victorian Bed & Breakfast opened in Palmyra in 2018.

Chocolates by Tina Marie                                                                                  
This Family Owned & Operated “Mom & Pop Shop” opened in Hummelstown in July and features over 30 Handmade Specialty Chocolates.

Comfort Inn & Suites Harrisburg Airport Hershey South                      
This 87-Room Hotel opened in Middletown in May, to become the first hotel property to be located near HIA and the Penn State Harrisburg Campus.

Crostwater Distilled Spirits                                                                               
This New Distillery & Tasting Room in Lewisberry, PA offers guests a unique experience featuring True Farm-to-Table Spirits & Cuisine.

Dave & Busters                                                                                                    
This National Restaurant Chain and Attraction opened in October at the Capitol City Mall in Camp Hill.

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Harrisburg International Airport
This New 123-Room Hotel became the first lodging property to be located at HIA when it opened this past fall.

Harrisburg Golf Simulator                                                                                 
This Indoor Golf Simulation attraction opened last spring in West Hanover Township offering Golf and other Interactive Games.

Hotel Indigo Harrisburg-Hershey                                                                     
This Upscale Boutique Hotel Brand opened a New property on Eisenhower Boulevard in the Summer of 2018.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant                                                                        
In November, the Delaware-based Brewery + Restaurant opened their 16th location in the New Hershey Towne Square complex in Hershey.

Partner In Tourism Awards (9)

The evening’s main event was the “Partner In Tourism Awards” which recognized individuals, organizations, and events for their outstanding accomplishments from 2018. Each award winner in this category was honored with a short video produced by the bureau to highlight their achievement.

Above & Beyond Award

Randy Whitaker


 Randy Whitaker Headshot 2019

Come Together Award

Lutricia Eberly


 Lutricia Eberly Headshot 2019

President's Award

PA Restaurant & Lodging Association


PRLA logo

Unsung Heroes Nominees + Award

Peggy Gallman


Nominees for 2018:

  1. Glenn David Arnold - La Quinta by Wyndham Harrisburg Airport    
  2. Brian Ariano - Whitaker Center for Science & the Arts                           
  3. Kinjal Athia​ - Hershey's Chocolate World Attraction                                        
  4. Charlie Batzel - Armstrong Valley Vineyard & Winery                                         
  5. Mark Bradshaw - Susquehanna Art Museum                                                           
  6. Amy Britt - Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts                        
  7. Barbara Burrell - The Harrisburg Area Riverboat Society                          
  8. Leslie Denmyer - La Quinta by Wyndham                                       
  9. Suzanne Fisher - Echo Dell - Indian Echo Caverns                                                        
  10. Peggy Gallmann - Hilton Harrisburg                                                                          
  11. Cortney Hull - Comfort Inn & Suites Harrisburg Airport Hershey South        
  12. Joanne Meredith - Armstrong Valley Vineyard & Winery                                         
  13. Dumitru Nanii​ - Hilton Harrisburg                                                                           
  14. Karen Nye - Echo Dell - Indian Echo Caverns                                            
  15. Dan Seachrist - Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey                                                        
  16. Kim Yoder - The Harrisburg Area Riverboat Society                                 



Best New Event Award

Harrisburg University of Science & Technology - HUE Festival


HUE Festival Logo


Excellence In Programming Award

The Gamut Theatre Group


Gamut Theatre Group Headshots 2019
(L-R): Clark Nicholson, Thomas Weaver, Melissa Nicholson

VIP – Very Involved Partner Award

Trini Nye


Trini Nye Headshot 2019

Impact & Innovation Award

Adam Porter


Adam Porter Headshot 2019

Destination Development Award

RVG Management & Development Company

WATCH VIDEOHershey Towne Square Project Aerial 2019


ABOUT VISIT HERSHEY & HARRISBURG                                                              

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) leading economic growth through destination sales, consumer marketing, public relations, and tourism development in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The organization, accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) since 2010, is committed to actively marketing the tourism assets in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region to business and leisure travelers both domestic & international. The bureau also leads regional sales efforts to attract meeting & event organizers, sporting event producers, and group tour leaders. For more information go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org or call 877-727-8573.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS                                                                                                

Mary Smith, President & CEO of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is available for media interviews regarding the contents of this news release. Please try to make interview requests at least 12-hours in advance. The bureau will make every effort to accommodate all interview requests. Contact Rick@HersheyHarrisburg.org or cell 717.884.3328.


Author: Visit Hershey & Harrisburg

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110