Tuscaloosa, Rock the South + more awarded at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2023

Alabama Govenor'S Conference On Tourism Award
Visit Tuscaloosa was awarded Tourism Organization of the Year at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2023. (The Bama Buzz)

Cue the confetti. The Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism 2023 wrapped up on August 29, and some exciting awards were handed out. Let’s meet the winners.

Individual awards at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Alabama Governor'S Conference On Tourism Tynette Lynch
Tynette Lynch was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame this year. (The Bama Buzz)

These individuals got big-time recognition this year for their impacts on the tourism industry. Here are the award winners, as well as some of the organizations they’ve been involved in.

Alabama Travel Council Award of Excellence

Rhonda Davis

  • Position: Director of Marketing + Communications, Visit Mobile
  • Involvement: Alabama Travel Council, Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Tourism Bash
  • Known for: Davis loves Mobile.

Amy Hudson

  • Position: State Association Sales Manager, Greater Birmingham CVB
  • Involvement: Alabama Travel Council, Alabama Tourism Bash
  • Known for: Her 25-year career with the Great Birmingham CVB.

Alabama Tourism Department Employee of the Year: Charlene Anderson

  • Position: Tourist Promotion Representative, Alabama Tourism Department
  • Known for: Her signature phrase, “It’s a beautiful day in Alabama,” every ATD caller has heard for 15+ years

Welcome Center Employee of the Year: Ann Tiller (Houston Welcome Center)

  • Position: Tourist Promotion Representative, Houston Welcome Center
  • Known for: Her excellent customer service (and plant-growing when she’s not at the welcome center!)

Tourism Executive of the Year: Tami Reist

  • Position: President/CEO, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
  • Involvement: Main Street Alabama, Southeast Tourism Society Legislative Council, Alabama Travel Council + many more
  • Known for: Her impactful, impressive 30+ year career in tourism + travel, which has won her many awards

Tourism Industry Employee of the Year: Angie Pierce (Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association)

  • Position: Vice President, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
  • Involvement: Tennessee Valley Stewardship Council
  • Known for: Her 25+ year career in destination marketing industry (and being named the Tourism Employee of the Year by the state of Alabama in 2010!)

Rising Star: Keya Nkonoki

  • Position: Marketing + Tourism Coordinator, Selma + Dallas County Chamber of Commerce
  • Known for: Her creativity + storytelling that landed her positions with the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Executive Writer’s Assistant (with Warner Brothers and Paramount TV’s top show-runners) and a writing job for a short film directed by Debbie Allen.

Governor’s Tourism Award: Don Dukemineer

  • Positions: Director of Sports Development, Decatur Morgan County Tourism
  • Involvement: Chairman of the Alabama Sports Initiative, Sports Alabama; Board of Directors for the Sports Events + Tourism Association
  • Known for: His impact in North Alabama, with 12 years at the Huntsville/Madison County CVB, and his impact in sports tourism in Alabama

Tourism Advocate—Government: Senator Garland Gudger

  • Positions: Alabama State Senate, Vice Chair of the Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Committee
  • Involvement: Cullman City Council
  • Known for: Becoming the youngest member ever to be elected to the Cullman City Council and the owner of Southern Accents Architectural Antiques

Alabama Travel Council Lifetime Achievement + ATD Directors Award: Judy Ryals (Huntsville/Madison County CVB)—Our sister publication Hville Blast has the full story on this one.

Other awards at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Rock The South
Rock the South won Event of the Year. (Callie Puryear / The Bama Buzz)
  • Tourism Advocate Media: Crossroad Marketing, Inc.
  • Event of the Year: Rock the South
  • Theme Campaign Award: Book Today, Beach Tomorrow (Gulf Shores & Orange Beach)
  • Tourism Partnership of the Year: University of Alabama—Alabama Birding Trail
  • Tourism Organization of the Year: Visit Tuscaloosa
  • Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame Inductees: Tynette Lynch + Darlene Negrotto

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Sarah Gronberg
Sarah Gronberg
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