And the Ottawa Valley Tourism Awards to go...
(Pembroke, ON) – The Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA) announced the nominees and recipients of the inaugural Ottawa Valley Tourism Awards at their recent tourism conference held at the Calabogie Highlands Golf Resort. The recipient of the Marilyn Alexander Tourism Champion Award was Chris Hinsperger, of the Bonnechere Caves and the recipient of the OVTA Business of Distinction Award went to the Pembroke Comfort Inn.
It was an emotional and touching ceremony as both Chris Hinsperger and Jody Higgins, General Manager of the Pembroke Comfort Inn, accepted their awards. Chris was deeply honored to receive the Tourism Champion Award, a legacy award named after Marilyn Alexander, in recognition of an outstanding individual within the tourism industry who demonstrates exceptional customer service and collaboration.
The typically talkative Hinsperger was speechless before he went on to express his gratitude in receiving the honor from his fellow colleagues and speaking of his partnership with Marilyn, “Marilyn was one of the first people that I met when I purchased the Bonnechere Caves, she understood and taught me that people didn’t come to the Ottawa Valley to sleep in her hotel, but rather came to experience the wonders of the Valley”, stated Chris, “we collaborated on many projects together and became good friends. She was truly an amazing person and true tourism champion”.
The OVTA Business of Distinction Award identifies an innovative and dedicated tourism business that demonstrates leadership in the marketplace. Jody Higgins, General Manager of the Pembroke Comfort Inn, accepted the award and reaffirmed the hotel’s commitment to the community and industry, stating that major renovations to the hotel were scheduled to begin in the following week. “We want to work with our community and with the OVTA to continue to position the Ottawa Valley as a destination, offering tourists an outstanding experience with service that exceeds their expectations”, stated an emotional Higgins.
All of the nominated individuals and businesses exhibit outstanding dedication and commitment to tourism development. Nominees for the Tourism Champion Award were Lorraine Pecoskie, Holiday Inn Express, Pembroke; Catherine Reynolds, The Fans of Calabogie B&B, Calabogie; Chris Hinsperger, Bonnechere Caves, Eganville; Ann McIntyre, Petawawa Heritage Village, Petawawa; Claudia Van Wijk, Madawaska Kanu Centre, Barry’s Bay and David Kelley of Mission House Museum, Combermere. The nominees for the Business of Distinction included The Ash Grove Inn, Barry’s Bay; Wilno Craft Gallery, Wilno; Gearheads, Petawawa; Pembroke Comfort Inn, Pembroke, and Madawaska Kanu Centre, Barry’s Bay. Nominations were submitted from fellow business operators and local citizens, who felt compelled to recognize a colleague or business that exhibited exceptional service and dedication within the industry.
The exquisite wooden awards were handcrafted by local Palmer Rapids resident Wally Coish. Coish was commissioned to create these unique pieces, in wood, as homage to the heritage and culture of the region and a true reflection of our environmental influences, of which our forests and natural environment play a significant role in our tourism offerings.
The OVTA is the official destination marketing organization for the Upper Ottawa Valley and proudly represents 230 tourism businesses, comprised of attractions and events, accommodation, dining and retail establishments, rafting companies and outfitters, artists and galleries, as well as media and industry suppliers. The OVTA is proudly supported by the County of Renfrew, Renfrew County municipalities and the City of Pembroke.
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