|Garden Walk Buffalo receives Beacon Award|
Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) presented an award to Garden Walk Buffalo as the "2011 Tourism Initiative of the Year" at the second annual Beacon Awards, honoring excellence in the Buffalo Niagara travel and tourism industry, with more than 400 tourism professionals in attendance. The award was offered with the following comments from VBN:
"The Beacon Award for Outstanding Tourism Initiative of the Year goes to Garden Walk Buffalo.
In the summer of 1995, a group of volunteers from the Norwood/West Utica Neighborhood Association created the first Buffalo Garden Walk.
Admission is free and the work of organizing and managing the Walk is accomplished entirely by volunteers.
It’s important to note that Garden Walk President Jim Charlier has personally overseen the tremendous growth of Garden Walk by employing a sophisticated combination of media relations, social media, e-newsletters and consumer advertising to create what has become one of the most highly regarded and attended horticulture events in the country. Garden Walk has also served as the inspiration for the National Garden Festival. Both events are helping Visit Buffalo Niagara tell a new story about our community and attract new visitors.
Congratulations, Jim, and the entire Garden Walk Buffalo Board as well as the homeowners and gardeners."
GW president Jim Charlier accepted the award on behalf of the GW committee and hundreds of gardeners that have participated in Garden Walk over the last 18 years.
The travel and tourism industry impacts not just the economy and jobs but also the quality of life for the residents that live here. Accommodations, attractions, restaurants, museums, parks...all are maintained by well-trained staff and often assisted by dedicated volunteers.
Visit Buffalo Niagara implemented a recognition program in 2011 to honor those exemplary, front-line employees and volunteers...the National Travel and Tourism Beacon Awards. When visitors are greeted with great service, they are more likely to have a positive impression, share their perceptions with friends and are more likely to return in the future.
"Travel and tourism is one of Erie County's growth industries," said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara. "It creates more than $1.3 billion in direct spending, employs approximately 19,000 people, and provides more than $455 in tax relief to every household in Erie County."
The following also received awards at the May 10 ceremony in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center:
In addition, NBC newscaster Tim Russert was recognized posthumously as the first inductee into the Buffalo Ambassador Hall of Fame. That award will now be commonly named, "The Tim Russert Award." The award was accepted on his behalf by his son, Luke Russert via a pre-recorded monologue.