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NTA honors its stars: Rising, shining and all-time

November 20, 2018

National Tour Association members applauded the achievements and contributions of members and friends during Travel Exchange, held Nov. 4 through 8 in Milwaukee. Some 1,000 packaged-travel travel professionals gathered for NTA’s annual convention, and at luncheons throughout the week, the following awards and honors were announced:

Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award | Bruce Beckham, past NTA board chair and former executive director and CEO of Tourism Cares accepted this annual award, which honors an individual whose active dedication to the mission of NTA covers a span of at least 20 years. Beckham was one of the founding board members of the National Tourism Foundation, the original philanthropic arm of NTA, and when that organization merged with a similar one in 2005 to form Tourism Cares, Beckham led the new charity for eight years. In accepting the award, Beckham informed his peers that the Milwaukee Travel Exchange was the 48th NTA consecutive convention he has attended.

NTA Pioneer Award | Isabel Hill, director of the National Travel and Tourism Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce, was the recipient of this award, which recognizes an individual whose accomplishments produced a significant change in the travel industry from which NTA and its members have benefited. Hill led negotiations on the agreement that opened the market for packaged group leisure travel from China to the United States, which in turn opened the door for NTA’s China Inbound Program.

Woman of Vision Award | The first-ever presentation of this award, which is given in honor of the trailblazing women who played an integral role in the formation of NTA, was made to Cathy Greteman, owner of Star Destinations in Carroll, Iowa. In addition to creating a large and successful business, Greteman served back-to-back terms as NTA board chair when the association moved away from a management company to become self-managed. Greteman also championed NTA’s efforts to become more globally focused, both for inbound and outbound business.

Volunteer of the Year | Rich Gilbert, travel trade manager for the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, received this award because of his enormous support of NTA at industry trade shows and at industry events in the mid-Atlantic region. Gilbert also has contributed his time to serve as a volunteer at Travel Exchange for several years.

James D. Santini Award | Tom Armstrong of Tauck in Wilton, Connecticut, received this annual award, named for NTA’s longtime legislative counsel. The Santini Award honors an NTA member who has advanced the association’s government relations and advocacy efforts, and Armstrong has been an active member of the NTA government relations advisory group for 12 years.

Shining Star Award | Norwegian Cruise Line received this award, which recognizes a sponsoring member that has shown significant commitment in support of NTA. Accepting for the company was Jodi Danyluk, who for years entertained NTA audiences with her animated, costumed presentations on Norwegian Cruise Line product. Danyluk recently became a regional sales and marketing director for a sister company, Oceania Cruises.

Top Young Professionals in NTA | This award is presented to NTA members, age 40 and younger, who exhibit leadership and demonstrate passion for the travel and tourism industry. The 2018 recipients were Nicole Absher, Destination Gettysburg (Pennsylvania); Amanda Hinzmann, Ed-Ventures (Rochester, Minnesota); Ashley Kingman, Travel Portland (Oregon); Holly Rogers, Explore St. Louis; and Marcus Sarmiento, OK Tours (San Antonio, Texas).


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