Wicomico County’s Tourism Division recognized its strongest partners during a reception and awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 25 at the Wicomico County Visitor’s Center. Held annually since 2000, the reception recognizes community members and businesses who have dedicated themselves to supporting tourism initiatives in Wicomico County.
In fiscal year 2016, Wicomico County’s tourism efforts have continued to grow. The division has sold or held 53 events, 7 of which were of regional or national caliber. These events generated over 35,000 hotel room nights, 132,000 visitors and an estimated economic impact of $53 million. This success would not be possible if it were not for tourism’s many community partners. These partners help the County recruit new events, retain and grow current events and welcome event attendees into the community. 2016 tourism award recipients included:
Hospitality Award: Joshua Sanders, General Manager of the Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn
Although fairly new to Wicomico County, Sanders has embraced tourism’s mission, becoming an active participant in all of tourism’s events. When issues arise or tourism has a need, Sanders is a willing partner who is always ready to lend a helping hand.
Business of the Year: Southern Boys Concepts (accepted by Todd Van Geluwe)
With five restaurants in Wicomico County, Southern Boys Concepts embraces tourism and its initiatives. It is one of the first to jump on board when advertising opportunities are presented in our annual visitor’s guide or special event programs. In addition to supporting events hosted by tourism, this business launched Wicomico County’s first brewery, which serves as a tourist attraction of its own.
Partner of the Year: Bill Atkinson of Fruitland Baseball
Atkinson is organizing over a dozen baseball tournaments in Wicomico County this year alone. It’s estimated that these events will generate an economic impact exceeding $9 million. The strong brand and reputation he’s built within the baseball industry continues to draw teams to Wicomico County, and tourism is proud to work in partnership with him.
Tourism Person of the Year (Betty K. Gardner Award): Priscilla Timken of Chesapeake Tours & Promotions
Timken’s professional career has been spent in the tourism industry as a tour guide, cultural liaison for the Smithsonian and as a certified travel agent. Her roots as a seventh generation Eastern Shore Native brought her back to the area over 25 years ago. Since then, Timken has dedicated herself to sharing the history and culture of the Chesapeake, opening up our back roads, quaint small towns and hideaway eateries to visitors. Most recently, she’s expanded her offerings and now serves as Wicomico County’s only full service, receptive tour operator.
Pictured in attached photo (L-R): Todd Van Geluwe, Joshua Sanders, Bill Atkinson, Priscilla Timken.