BRIDGEWATER – Somerset County Tourism celebrated the winners of the 7th Annual Somerset County Salute to Tourism Awards Program on January 24th at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel.
The program honors tourism staff and organizations that set the bar for Somerset County’s tourism industry. “Each year at the Salute to Tourism Awards, we recognize the exceptional work of organizations around the county and what distinguishes them from others. The winners of this year’s awards are very worthy of this recognition,” said Mike Kerwin, President & CEO of Somerset County Business Partnership. “We are fully committed to furthering the Tourism industry within our County, and these awards are just one of the ways we do this.”
Winners were recognized in four categories: Economic Champion, Service Excellence, Tourism Champion and Outstanding Event.
The 2020 Salute to Tourism winners included:
Service Excellence – Landmark Hospitality – for their efforts to advance the hospitality and tourism industry and improve the lives of individuals.
In service to the hospitality and tourism industry, Jeanne and Frank Cretella, founders of Landmark Hospitality, established The Art of Hospitality-Path to Success foundation. This was done all with the purpose to empower individuals while addressing the growing demand for qualified hospitality workers. The schools will deliver life skills, financial literacy and industry focused training while students achieve portable and stackable industry recognized credentials.
Economic Champion – Briad Group – for its impact on Somerset County employment and financial contributions.
The Briad Group started out as Steve’s Ice Cream/Carnegie Deli in Princeton, NJ. While the ice cream parlor is longer in operation, Briad has turned into a division of over 120 TGI Friday’s, Wendy’s restaurants, and hotels, employing more than 8,000 people with gross sales in excess of $350 million.
Outstanding Event – Somerset County 4-H Fair – for its commitment to the community and to providing a fun, free and informative event for all visitors.
For over 70 years, the Somerset County 4-H Fair has been a free three-day annual day event, hosting approximately 60,000 visitors while recognizing the achievements of the nearly 1,000 youth enrolled in 70 Somerset County 4-H Clubs. 4-H members display their projects in the Arts & Science, Model Train, Rabbit, Poultry, and Herpetology tents, and demonstrate their showmanship skills in dairy, beef, sheep, goats, alpaca, dog and horse shows. Model Airplane, Go-Kart and RC Car club members also compete.
Tourism Champion – New Jersey Audubon Society – for its embodiment of ecotourism best practices and destinations, and its commitment to the long-term environmental sustainability of the industry as well as our natural environment.
New Jersey Audubon headquarters, The Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Bernardsville, welcomes 8,000 visitors annually. Their biggest events of the year include the World Series of Birding, which draws teams from across the state to spend a spring day birding and counting the number of species they find, and the Great Backyard Bird Count, an international citizen science program designed to help researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about birds and their habitats.
This year featured President-NYC, Lou Hammond Group, Terry Gallagher, as the event speaker. With more than 30 years in the travel industry, Terry has implemented strategic communications programs for hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, and airlines. He’s the marketing genius behind some of the country’s most iconic locations – Sonoma County, Providence, Rhode Island, and Florida’s Paradise Coast.
During his presentation, Terry talked travel trends that included authenticity, the gravitation toward bite-sized trips, sustainability and wellness trips, traveling off-season, the importance of human interaction in tourism, and more. He also covered media trends and how to work alongside media and influencers to gain even more location value.
The 5th Edition Somerset County Destination Guide was also unveiled at this event. “We are thrilled to unveil the 5th installment of the Somerset County Destination Guide. This guide showcases the top events and attractions throughout Somerset County, while showcasing some eye-popping photography. We are happy to offer visitors and residents this way of exploring the county and planning their visit,” remarked Jackie Morales, director of Somerset County Tourism. The Destination Guide has served as a tool for visitors, businesses, and residents alike to learn about the various events, experiences, and amenities that are housed within Somerset County borders. A copy of the Destination Guide may be requested (free of charge) at: https://visitsomersetnj.org/destination-guide/
For more event photos, check out our Facebook page!