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

HARRISBURG, PA (April 12, 2018) — Tourism Officials with Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) recognized individuals and local Partner organizations for their outstanding achievements in tourism in the past year during the annual "Tourism Awards" held tonight at the Best Western Premier Hotel & Conference Center.

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 (13)

The evening began with the bureau presenting “Keepin’ It Fresh” certificates to businesses that completed or initiated renovations, expansions, and improvements this past year.

New Biz On the Block Certificates (10)

The bureau also recognized tourism-related businesses that opened within the region in 2017 with “New Biz On the Block” certificates.

Milestone Recognition (6)

The bureau recognized several individuals and businesses that have achieved significant milestones in 2017 including three bureau employees for ten and fifteen years of service, two businesses celebrating 70 and 200 years in operation, and a departing member of the bureau’s board of directors for his service to tourism.

200 Years In Service - Millersburg Ferry

Millersburg Ferry

70 Years In Business - Koziar's Christmas Village

Koziar's Christmas Village

Service To Tourism - Todd Kohr, Departing Board Member for Visit Hershey & Harrisburg

Todd Kohr 2018

10 Years (Employee Anniversary) - Kim McKelvy

Kim McKelvy Headshot 2017

10 Years (Employee Anniversary) - Justin Martsolf

Justin Martsolf - Headshot 2017

15 Years (Employee Anniversary) - Gregg Cook

Gregg Cook - Headshot 2017

Partner In Tourism Awards (7)

The evening’s main event was the “Partner In Tourism Awards” which recognized individuals, organizations, and events for their outstanding accomplishments from 2017. Each award winner in this category was honored with a short video produced by the bureau to highlight their achievement.

Above & Beyond Award

John Bailey & Bailey Coach


Tourism Awards 2017 - John Bailey Headshot

VIP – Very Involved Partner Award

Michelle Hornberger, Dauphin County Parks & Recreation


Tourism Awards 2017 - Michelle Hornberger

Excellence In Programming Award

Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country, Signature Events Series


Tourism Awards 2017 - Mike Wilson

Best New Event Award

Harrisburg Mural Festival, Produced by Mural Sprocket Works


Tourism Awards 2017 - Mural Festival - Sprocket Mural Works

Business of the Year Award

Harristown Development Corporation


Tourism Awards 2017 - Harristown Development

New Attraction of the Year Award

J.R. Tobias Museum & Education Center at Lake Tobias Wildlife Park


Lake Tobias Museum and Education Center Sign

Lifetime Achievement Award

Frank Gilbert, GM at Hershey Lodge

WATCH VIDEOTourism Awards 2017 - Lifetime Achievement - Frank Gilbert


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.