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Governor's Tourism Awards

At the Annual Awards Dinner at the 2017 Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference, awards were presented to individuals and organizations that have greatly contributed to the advancement and innovation of Colorado’s tourism industry. The awards and winners are detailed below.

The Colorado Tourism Office Board Chairman’s Award is awarded to extraordinary individuals’ commitment to tourism in Colorado. This year’s award was presented to Representative Bob Rankin for his five years of serving on the Colorado legislature. Rankin has fought to protect the state’s public lands and to make sure the state’s tourism budget has the funds it needs to thrive.

The Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative Award is presented to a community or region that has demonstrated excellence in a tourism event, promotion or project. This year’s award recipient was Colorado Mountain Winefest, an event that started 25 years ago with only a few vendors, and has now grown into a nationally recognized four-day affair featuring over 50 local businesses. The event has been a huge boom for the Western Slope region and Colorado as a whole, with the 2016 event bringing in an estimated 1.1 million in economic impact for the community.

The Governor’s Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Colorado Tourism is presented to an individual to recognize his/her tireless contributions to advancing the Colorado tourism industry. This year’s honored individual, Debra Malone, current chair of the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway, holds a leadership legacy that stretches back to 2006 when she was the publisher and chief fundraiser (a $12,000 match) for the Byway booklet that has distributed 50,000 copies to date, and still "goes like hotcakes." This handsome booklet has inspired locals and travelers alike and is a reflection of Malone's personal qualities — style, quality and optimism. In addition to her booklet legacy, she has accomplished many projects, including a tourism tax in Huerfano County, and her most recent contribution to Colorado tourism being the hugely successful Southern Colorado SOCO Tourism Summit in May 2017 — her leadership inspired every participant to feel responsibility and ownership for its success. In addition, many of these projects have been completed after her retirement. Malone works a project from beginning to end, with a tenacity and creativity that is inspirational to everyone around her.

The Governor’s Award for Outstanding Marketing Program recognizes an event or project undertaken by a community or region to promote tourism in Colorado. This award went to “Putting Silverthorne on the Map.” In the 50 years since the town incorporated, it has evolved from a makeshift construction camp for workers building the Dillon Dam, to a convenient refueling stop along I-70, to a well-balanced, year-round community and tourist destination. Now Silverthorne is transforming yet again, and it continues to evolve. The Town of Silverthorne, in partnership with Betty Ashley Public Relations and Spin Denver, undertook a brand discovery process with local stakeholders and crafted a brand narrative and messaging pillars. From there, the Town’s marketing team and Betty Ashley PR created a strategy and campaign to educate residents, businesses and (eventually) visitors about the Town of Silverthorne’s unique experiences and amenities.

The Jack Snow Volunteer Award is presented to an individual(s) who has selflessly dedicated time and energy to furthering tourism in Colorado. This year’s award goes to recipient Kay Fredette, a remarkably talented and knowledgeable volunteer currently serving as the Volunteer Laboratory Supervisor to the Museums of Western Colorado, where she’s been the past 31 years. Since she started in 1986, Fredette has been a key part of tourism growth as a true ambassador for the Grand Valley area, and in 2016 alone, she donated 865 hours of her time.

More information about the annual Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference >>