Pictured: Kelly Rapone, GC Chamber of Commerce Tourism Marketing director and Lauren Humphrey, Tourism Program liaison.
Submitted photos and press release:
AUBURN -- The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that their tourism staff and programs have earned Tourism Excellence awards at this year’s New York State Travel Industry Association (NYSTIA), annual Tourism Excellence Awards held in Auburn Sept. 26-27th.
The New York State Tourism Industry Association recognizes leaders in New York State's tourism industry who have achieved a high level of excellence and accomplishment with the Tourism Excellence Awards.
Individuals and organizations are selected from nominees that have demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in the travel and tourism sector from Jan. 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019.
Kelly Rapone, Tourism Marketing director, was selected to be the inaugural recipient of the NYSTA Leadership Award, which is intended to recognize a NYSTIA member whose achievements as a tourism professional are matched by both their personal stewardship and leadership on behalf of both New York State Tourism in general and the membership of NYSTIA in particular.
“Kelly’s tourism marketing efforts have earned numerous awards, and she is quick to think outside the box to develop initiatives like the Haunted History Trail that engage and benefit many other New York State destinations," said Christine Hoffer, NYSTIA’s chief operating officer.
"At the same time, she dedicates countless hours of her personal time and motivates others to follow her example through her leadership of the NYSTIA’s DONY scholarship auction committee, involving dozens of members and contributors.
"In addition, during 2018 and 2019, Kelly’s personal commitment was vital to the successful documentation and report preparation for NYSTIA’s Market NY grants, which benefited the over 30 NYSTIA members who participated in the BrandUSA campaign."
The Chamber also received a Niche Marketing Excellence Award for their popular golf packaging program.
Developed in 2006 to bridge the “booking gap” for consumers, the Chamber partnered with several courses and hotels to build packages which were then promoted primarily in Southern Ontario. In 2017 the tourism office launched a social media ad campaign to increase their reach.
By May 2018 the program had already booked more than double it had done in the 12-year program history and increased their new customer bookings by 60 percent.
“This year’s Tourism Excellence Award winners have and will continue to take New York State’s tourism industry to new levels of success, driving economic growth across the state," Bob Provost, NYSTIA president and CEO. "These awards recognize tourism professionals not only for their creative marketing programs, but also for their passion and commitment to their communities."