Visit Sarasota County Names Voice of Sarasota Tourism Recipient and Five Local Faces of Travel

Celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week shares why travel matters

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 9, 2019) – Visit Sarasota County (VSC) celebrated its annual National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) Awards Luncheon today where it announced the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Voice of Sarasota recipient, Jeanne Dubi, and the five Faces of Travel recipients. The luncheon was held at Michael’s On East and featured video presentations from Dana Young, CEO of VISIT FLORIDA and VSC about why travel matters. #TravelMatters is the 2019 NTTW theme.

NTTW is the annual salute to travel in America. For the last 35 years, the first full week in May has been reserved in communities nationwide to showcase the impact of travel to policymakers, business leaders and local media. It has also been a week of celebrating and honoring the “Faces of Travel” by recognizing those in Sarasota County who keep this industry thriving.

  • The nominees for the Guest Service Excellence – Management award were Rhonda Zerilli of Sleep Inn/Mainstay Suites, Dawn Bear of Tropical Beach Resorts, Tina Matthews of Le Barge Tropical Cruises/Sarasota Bay Explorers, Maria De La Cruz of Ocean Properties Hotels, Resorts and Affiliates, Lauren Thompson of Ocean Properties, Hotels, Resorts and Affiliates, Sean King of Sarasota Restaurant Enterprises, Jacquell Hair of Sleep Inn/Mainstay Suites, Robert van der Berg of The Founders Club, Mehmet Izin of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Liz Rodriguez of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, and Chef Caleb Taylor of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. This award recognizes exemplary Management-level service consistently provided to guests.
    • The recipient of the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Management Excellence Award is Lauren Thompson of Ocean Properties, Hotels, Resorts and Affiliates.
  • The nominees for the Guest Service Excellence - Front Line award were Lynn Elsberry of Tropical Beach Resorts, Joseph Loria of Sarasota Restaurant Enterprises, Taylor Glen of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, and Connie M. James of Carlisle Inn. This award recognizes exemplary service consistently provided to guests by an individual who is in direct contact with the public daily.
    • The recipient of the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Front Line Excellence Award is Lynn Elsberry of Tropical Beach Resorts.
  • The nominees for the Guest Service Excellence - Heart of House award were Juan Aponte Ortiz of Sleep Inn/Mainstay Suites, Monica VanDorn of Tropical Beach Resorts, Heather Hooper of Mote Marine, Juan Soto of Sarasota Restaurant Enterprises, and Michael Gray of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. This award honors a Heart of House staff member who consistently adheres to a high standard of excellence.
    • The recipient of the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Heart of the House Excellence Award is Monica VanDorn of Tropical Beach Resorts.
  • The nominees for the Guest Service Excellence – Volunteer award were Dawn Bear of Tropical Beach Resorts, Bernadette Gottschalk of Pro-Motion Notions, and Mey Vidal of The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. This award encourages and recognizes citizens for a volunteers’ commitment to enhancing the guest experience.
    • The recipient of the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Volunteer Excellence Award is Dawn Bear of Tropical Beach Resorts.
  • The nominees for the Sarasota County Rising Star Award were Dawn Bear of Tropical Beach Resorts and Ayla Goggin of Ocean Properties, Hotels, Resorts and Affiliates. This award recognizes an emerging leader within the tourism industry.
    • The recipient of the Sarasota County Tourism & Hospitality Volunteer Excellence Award is Ayla Goggin of Ocean Properties, Hotels, Resorts and Affiliates.

The travel industry is an indispensable source of jobs locally and statewide. These jobs provide opportunities and paths to prosperity for many individuals and families. The men and women who are the faces of our local travel industry have helped shape travel to be one of Florida’s strongest industries.

“In Sarasota County, roughly one in five employed residents works in the hospitality and tourism industry. This luncheon allows for VSC to recognize these individuals who ultimately have a high impact on the local economy,” said Virginia Haley, president at VSC. “When visitors come to our destination, these are the men and women on the front of the line, and they are highly involved in promoting the area, and ensuring guests have an enjoyable experience.”

For more information about National Travel and Tourism Week please visit https://www.ustravel.org/toolkit/national-travel-and-tourism-week. For more information about Visit Sarasota County’s annual Awards Luncheon, please contact Kelly Defebo at [email protected] or 941-955-0991 Ext. 106.

About Sarasota County

Visit Sarasota County leads and supports the tourism industry in Sarasota County by providing the highest quality, and most innovative, marketing programs and promotions to ensure the continued growth of tourism and travel from visitors around the world. It is the mission of VSC is to make Sarasota County the must experience destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast. To learn more, visit www.visitsarasota.com.