Community advocate, Red Mountain business earn tourism honors at annual meeting

Visit Tri-Cities honored a community advocate and a Red Mountain business for their work to promote tourism around the region at its annual meeting and tourism showcase event on Nov. 13.

Those receiving the recognition were:

Tourism Champion of the Year: Dave Bryant was recognized as the 2017 Tourism Champion of the Year, Visit Tri-Cities’ highest honor. Bryant served in the city of Richland’s Parks Department for 36 years. During his tenure, he was instrumental in the development of many community infrastructure projects such as the Sacagawea Heritage Trail, the Horn Rapids Sports Complex, Badger Mountain Park and the John Dam Plaza and Hapo Community Stage. He also played an important part in securing the Washington Trails Conference, which took place in October 2016.

Bryant was selected for the honor by demonstrating leadership, enhancing infrastructure and supporting the efforts of Visit Tri-Cities to elevate the region as a premier tourism destination.

Excellence in Service Award: Red Mountain Trails, which offers guided horseback rides through Red Mountain vineyards, was recognized for providing outstanding customer service with the Excellence in Service award.

Red Mountain Trails earned the honor by providing exemplary customer service and creating a memorable visitor experience for its customers.

More than 600 elected officials, community leaders and guests attended the annual tourism event at the Three Rivers Convention in Kennewick.

Five new faces were elected to the Visit Tri-Cities Board of Directors: Deborah Barnard, co-owner of Barnard Griffin Winery; Gloria Boyce, general manager of Ben Franklin Transit; Brian Lubanski, general manager of KAPP/KVEW TV; Brent Miles, president of the Tri-City Dust Devils; and Steve Simmons, owner of CG Public House & Catering. The newly elected board members will provide guidance and leadership during their three-year terms.

Also during the meeting, Kris Watkins, president and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities, discussed the state of the local tourism industry, highlighting visitor spending, increased hotel occupancies and tourism infrastructure projects that will enhance the visitor experience and increase quality of life for local residents. She also announced her retirement in 2018.

Visit TRI-CITIES is a nonprofit destination marketing organization which provides tourism-related marketing and management services for the cities of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland in southeastern Washington state.

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