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Published on : Friday, February 5, 2016
The National Tour Association honored five exceptional members at Travel Exchange, NTA’s annual convention, held here Jan. 31 through today. The event attracted some 1,500 packaged travel professionals from the United States, Canada and 31 other countries.
“The strength of NTA lives within its members, and the remarkable people we recognized have done so much to advance our association as well as the travel industry,” said Pam Inman, NTA president.
Mark Hoffmann, CTP, received the Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2003 and named for the late NTA volunteer leader and 1996 president, the award honors individuals whose active dedication to the mission of NTA covers a span of at least 20 years. Elected twice to lead the NTA Board of Directors, Hoffmann also has supported many of the association’s programs and services, including government relations efforts.
“I have hung my hat at NTA for a quarter of a century, and it’s truly humbling to know that someone thinks my contribution is worthy of this recognition,” said Hoffmann, owner of Sports Leisure Vacations in Sacramento, California. “Bob Everidge was a good person and embodied everything NTA stands for.”
Georgiana Clark, president of Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, California, received the Pioneer Award. Established by NTA in 2005, the Pioneer Award recognizes an individual whose accomplishments produced a significant change in the travel industry from which NTA and its members have benefited. While leading her family-owned attraction through 50 years of operation, Clark also advanced tourism through her foundational work with the California Travel Industry Association.
“I have always liked NTA because the people in the association help little companies like Roaring Camp,” Clark said via a videotaped message.
Earlier in the week, the James D. Santini Award was presented to Brian Butterworth, vice president of sales for Main Street Hospitality Group in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The award, which honors legislative advocacy for tourism, is named for NTA’s longtime legislative counsel. Santini, who passed away in September 2015, represented Nevada in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a founder and the first secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus in the House.
Butterworth, long active in government relations on the state level, extended his involvement to national advocacy efforts by serving on NTA’s Government Relations Committee and participating in the industry’s Destination Capitol Hill event in Washington, D.C. He finds the work gratifying and necessary.
“Investing time and money on advocacy efforts is as important as investing in marketing or strategic planning for your business,” Butterworth said. “Like many industries, tourism is reliant on government funding and policies that contribute to the success of our businesses.”
Also during the convention, the association presented its Volunteer of the Year Award to Michael Weinberg, CTP, of Hiltons of Chicago and recognized Aon Affinity with its Shining Star Award, which goes to a valued industry partner that supports NTA and its mission.