Collier County’s top tourism industry stars were honored at the 15th annual Paradise Coast Tourism Star Awards, a program that recognizes the most outstanding hospitality and tourism industry employees in the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades region. Over 225 tourism industry leaders and employees attended the ceremony at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.
This year’s theme was “Put Paradise on the Map.” Efforts by tourism employees to provide memorable experiences for visitors is a highlight that keeps many of them coming back, and outstanding service reviews provide a boost for destination awareness.
“It’s the upbeat attitude and tireless attention to detail among top performing tourism hospitality stars that keeps visitors coming back to spend more of their vacation time and dollars in Florida’s Paradise Coast,” said Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s important each year to take the time to honor tourism workers who make going the extra mile part of their everyday routine. It’s their dedication and passion for their profession that forms the backbone of our successful industry here.”
Tourism is the main economic engine in Collier County with a $1.98 billion total economic impact last year. Tourism is also the largest employment sector with over 37,000 tourism industry supported jobs.
An independent panel of judges selected the winners from the 68 nomination forms submitted for 11 categories. The CVB staff voted from among those eleven winners for the 2017 Tourism Superstar, representing the ultimate in tourism excellence for the year.
The judges were Nancy Kerns, Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District; Eric Radditz, Florida Weekly; Christine Gideons, Ngala; Katie O’Hara, Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce; and Val Simon, Coastal Breeze News.
Thirteen special Hurricane Irma Outstanding Customer Service Awards were given to hospitality leaders who went above and beyond for their guests, employees and the community during and after the storm. Those receiving special recognition are: Fairfield Inn & Suites and SpringHill Suites by Marriott; Gulfcoast Inn; GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort; JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort; Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Naples; Crave Culinaire; 7th Avenue Social; Cosmos Café & Pizzeria; Joe West for volunteer service to businesses in Everglades City; Hilton Naples; The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; and The Ritz- Carlton Resorts of Naples.