Loudoun leaders celebrated those who support the county’s $1.7 billion tourism industry Friday during Visit Loudoun’s annual Tourism Awards program.
This year’s event was attended by a record crowd of 300 and netted commitments for more than $5,000 to support scholarships to nurture promising hospitality talent. The program also drew a record number of nominations for awards that recognize those who push innovation and growth of the tourism industry, as well as those who serve on the front lines and provide lasting first-impressions of Loudoun during interaction with visitors.
Fueled by the continued popularity of its wineries and its growing craft brewing scene, Loudoun ranks only behind Arlington and Fairfax counties for domestic tourism spending in the Virginia. Tourism supports more than 17,000 local jobs and generates more than $663 million in wages.
Betsy Davis, who is stepping down next month after serving 20 years as Middleburg Town Council member and mayor, was presented with the Judy Patterson Tourism Award, the county’s top prize presented to those demonstrating a long-term commitment to supporting programs that bring visitors to Loudoun.
Other award winners were:
Distinguished Partnership: The National
Steve Hines Partner of the Year: The Zurschmeide family, whose members operate Great Country Farms, Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Farm Brewing near Bluemont
Tourism Manager of the Year: Curtis Allred, Delirium Café
Back of the House Hero of the Year: Andy Chess, chief engineer at Hyatt Place Sterling Dulles North
Annual Event of the Year: Tarara Summer Concert Series
New Event of the Year: The Horse in Ancient Greek Art Exhibition at the National Sporting Library
Branding, Marketing or Promotional Campaign of the Year: The Town of Hillsboro
#LoveLoudoun Ambassador of the Year: Chelsa Grim, assistant director of sales and events for Goodstone Inn and Restaurant and Sarah Siefullah, front office supervisor at the Best Western Dulles Airport
Tourism Action Award: The New Ag School
The event also serves as Visit Loudoun’s annual meeting. The organization welcomed seven new members to its board of directors: Nicholas Bagg, of Strategy, Oath; Paige Buscema, of Eyetopia; Anna Gerbert, of Vicki Johnson & Associates; Bruce Gemmill of John Marshal Bank; Trevon Hauth, of Lansdowne Resort & Spa; Amy Marasco of Fieldstone Farm Bed & Breakfast; Melanie Mathewes, of the National Sporting Library; and Margaret Parker, of Comstock Partners.