Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe kicks off Virginia Beach’s 25th Annual 2014 National Travel & Tourism Week

CVB celebrates with a State of Tourism luncheon, an awards ceremony honoring frontline hospitality professionals, and “Thank a Visitor Day” at Norfolk airport

Friday, May 09, 2014

This week the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) hosted two significant events to celebrate the travel and tourism industry, which is the second largest revenue generator for the City of Virginia Beach. On Monday, May 5th, Governor Terry McAuliffe traveled to Virginia Beach to speak to an audience of more than 200 business and community leaders at the Virginia Beach State of Tourism Industry luncheon.


Prior to arriving in Virginia Beach, Gov. McAuliffe issued a proclamation recognizing May 3-11, 2014 as Travel and Tourism Week in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In his remarks at Virginia Beach’s State of the Tourism Industry event, Gov. McAuliffe emphasized his support of Virginia’s tourism industry noting it was the fifth largest private employer in the Commonwealth, generating more than $21 billion in annual visitor spending.


On May 6th, during the 25th Annual National Travel & Tourism Week Hospitality Awards celebration, Virginia Beach CVB Director James B. Ricketts and Virginia Beach Councilman John Uhrin honored more than 400 outstanding frontline hospitality professionals at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Ricketts and Uhrin thanked those in attendance for their hard work, praising their outstanding customer service delivery and professionalism. “You are the reason our visitors return; you are the face of Virginia Beach,” Ricketts emphasized.


The Hospitality Awards celebration included “Hollywood-style” photography, dazzling lights, music and a performance by Stephen Ragatz who is part of the Virginia Arts Festival’s Cirque Mechanics. Don Roberts served as emcee and assisted in announcing the winners of awards in 25 travel and tourism-related categories along with Virginia Beach Restaurant Association President Bill Gambrell and Virginia Beach Hotel Motel Association President Joe DaBiero. Out of 150 nominations, 30 winners were selected by an independent panel of members of the Virginia Beach Travel & Tourism Foundation. The Carlos B. Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award, created to recognize one individual who has provided outstanding service to the industry for more than 25 years, was presented to George Alcaraz, General Manager of Resort Management, LLC. For the first time in the award program’s history, four other categories ended in a tie.


This Friday, May 8, the Virginia Beach CVB will join the Coastal Virginia Tourism Alliance (CVTA) during the annual “Thank a Visitor Day” at Norfolk International Airport. Members of the region’s CVBs will greet arriving and departing guests, and thank them for their contribution to the region’s travel and tourism industry.  


The list of categories and winners of the 25th Annual National Travel & Tourism Week Hospitality Awards are: 


  • Public Service
    Patricia Ross – City of Virginia Beach Historic Houses
  • Festivals/Events
    Capt. Mike Standing – Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout
  • Social Responsibility
    Victoria Foster – Drag Yourself to Brunch
  • Attraction
    Steve Ambrose – 2 for Fun
  • Transportation

          Judy Swystun – Black and White Cabs of Virginia Beach

  • Outside Banquet/Catering
    Beth Williamson – Distinctive Gourmet
  • Retail

Amanda Link – Ocean Beach Club Discovery Center

  • Bartender
    Patrick Sullivan – Spring Hill Suites VB Oceanfront

·        Chef
Kevin Sharkey – Sheraton VB Oceanfront

·        Dishwasher
Jeremy Cuffee – Westin VB Town Center

·        Host/Hostess
Bianca Olivo – Rockafeller’s Restaurant

·        Line Cook
Lincoln Lawrence – Rockafeller’s Restaurant

·        Prep Person
Jeremy Ellis – VB Resort Hotel & Conference Center

·        Wait Staff
Villa Cadle – Fusion Restaurant (Sheraton)

·        Activities/Spa/Fitness Coordinator
Kathryn Lopez – The Flowering Almond Spa (Founder’s Inn)

·        Banquet/Catering
Thaddeus Boyd – Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center

·        Clerical/Front Office (tie)
Lauren Collins – VB Resort Hotel & Conference Center
Peter Gallagher – Ramada on the Beach

·        Continental Breakfast Attendant
Ailisha Parker – Spring Hill Suites VIRGINIA BEACH Oceanfront

·        Front Desk (tie)
Morgan Banjoman – Best Western Plus Oceanfront
Deryl Wilson – Spring Hill Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront

·        Housekeeping (tie)
Samuel Gregory – Courtyard Virginia Beach Oceanfront North
Tim Horton – Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach

·        Laundry
Tiffany Freeman – Homewood Suites by Hilton Virginia Beach/Norfolk  Airport

·        Maintenance (tie)
Newton Bell – Holiday Inn Express & Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Joe Bluestone – Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach

·        Sales Manager
Donna McNulty – Virginia Beach Resort Hotel & Conference Center

·        Valet
Tyler Chavers – Residence Inn Virginia Beach Oceanfront



Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (

Where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach promises visitors a unique chance to “Live the Life.” Nature at its finest, just-caught and just-picked local food, and toes-in-the-sand relaxation combine for a soul-satisfying experience. A world-renowned boardwalk, energetic downtown, state-of-the-art Convention Center, abundant parks and waterways, and mild weather give rise to an active lifestyle and flourishing local culture. The Virginia Beach CVB is responsible for promoting year-round leisure, business, meetings and conventions, international and sports travel to Virginia’s most populous city. For media information and images, visit Follow Virginia Beach on Twitter at, Instagram at, Facebook at and Pinterest at