More than 300 people are expected to attend the Salute to Travel & Tourism Awards banquet today at the White River Conference Center.
The event hosted by the Convention & Visitors Bureau begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner, a program about the local tourism industry and awards presentations beginning at 7 p.m.
The CVB will present the following awards to local businesses and individuals.
The Pinnacle Award for individuals who have been active in the travel industry for many years and made substantial contributions to the betterment of the Springfield area’s travel industry will go to Rick McQueary and Mary Haseltine McQueary. The McQuearys played a significant role in the improvements to the History Museum on the Square, including heading up the capital campaign for the project.
The Diplomat Award will go to Brian Weiler, director of aviation at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. This award is presented to a government official, organization or employee who has provided significant support to the Springfield area travel industry. Weiler was selected for his leadership leading to improvements to air transportation for the Springfield market.
Premier Baseball will receive the Ambassador Award that goes to individuals or organizations that generated significant economic impact for the area by working to encourage tourism or secure a major convention or event in Springfield. The organization has generated more than 1,500 room nights annually over the past eight years with its Incoming Freshman National Championship.
The Spotlight Award is presented to an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel and tourism industry for noteworthy contributions in advancing travel and tourism in the Springfield area. The award will go to Jeff Houghton, host of “The Mystery Hour,” a late-night talk show filmed in Springfield that shines a positive light on the city.
The Hospitality Award will go to the Springfield Cardinals. This award is presented to an attraction, lodging facility or restaurant which demonstrates outstanding hospitality to the traveling public and exhibits a team spirit in promoting the growth of Springfield area travel and tourism.
The John & Mary Williams Volunteer of the Year Award will go to Doug Sampson who has volunteered for the CVB since 2018.
Mary Williams will receive a 30 Years of Service Award. She and her late husband, John, were the first people to serve in the CVB’s volunteer program.
The Convention & Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit marketing agency dedicated to improving the local economy through growth in travel and tourism, has presented the awards since 2000. Call 417-881-5300 for more information.