In Fiscal Year 2017, Wicomico County’s tourism division sold or held 50 events, 7 of which were of regional or national caliber. These events generated over 35,000 hotel room nights, 130,000 visitors and an estimated economic impact of $50 million. This success is due in part to tourism’s many community partners. These partners help the county recruit new events, retain and grow current events and welcome event attendees into the community. This year’s tourism award recipients included:
Tourism Volunteer Award: The Rotary Club of Salisbury (accepted by Dan Williams and Art Cooley)
The Rotary Club of Salisbury has been an integral partner in supporting the Governor’s Challenge Basketball Tournament held at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center each December. In 2016, the Rotary Club of Salisbury brought Governor’s Challenge sponsorship sales to record levels, raising awareness of the event and contributing to its success. The benefits of their work extended beyond the tournament. Their new 3-Point Initiative grant recycled the commission earned from sponsorship sales back into the community to support local non-profit organizations.
Tourism Hospitality Award: Jenifer Prokofiew, general manager of the Hampton Inn Salisbury and president of the Hotel Motel Association (accepted by Chelsey Jones)
As the general manager of the Hampton Inn Salisbury and president of the Hotel Motel Association, Jenifer Prokofiew is a strong supporter of tourism’s efforts. From housing potential event organizers, to volunteering her property as a host hotel when one is needed, Prokofiew goes all in when it comes to supporting tourism’s efforts. Through her role as the HMA president, she ensures that lines of communication are kept open between the tourism office and our hotel partners by regularly meeting with the county’s tourism manager and attending tourism board meetings.
Business of the Year: Pepsi Bottling Ventures (accepted by Chris Smith)
Over the years, Pepsi Bottling Ventures has supported Wicomico County’s Recreation, Parks & Tourism department, both financially and through in-kind donations, helping to ensure the success of many events. They have continued to sponsor family-oriented events at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center including the rodeo and monster trucks, provided directional signs for the USSSA World Series, and donated product to allow for a designated driver hospitality drink station at the Good Beer and Autumn Wine festivals.
Partner of the Year: Terry Hasseltine of Maryland Sports
Terry Hasseltine of Maryland Sports works around the clock to elevate Maryland’s reputation within the sports marketing industry. As the state’s reputation continues to grow, so does that of the individual counties he represents, including Wicomico. For his efforts, he was most recently recognized as the 2017 Sport Tourism Executive of the Year by the National Association of Sports Commissions. The strong brand and reputation Hasseltine has built within the industry continues to draw sporting events to Maryland and to Wicomico County.
Tourism Person of the Year (Betty K. Gardner Award): Bill Dowell of USSSA
Although he lives on the other side of the bridge, Bill Dowell is no stranger to the Shore. Dowell has been bringing events to Wicomico County since 2007. The USSSA Eastern World Series began over a decade ago as a one week, 58 team softball tournament. That tournament now spans three weeks and brings up to 400 teams to the Shore each year. This equates to over 4,500 players, family, friends, fans and event staff, traveling from 14 different states as well as Canada. Over the past decade, Dowell’s organization has brought over 2,000 softball teams to Wicomico County, contributing over $100 million dollars to the local economy.
Pictured in attached photo (L-R): Chris Smith, Bill Dowell, Chelsey Jones, Terry Hasseltine, Dan Williams, Art Cooley