FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Mobile’s Tourism Success Honored at Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Mobile, Ala (Jan. 7, 2022) — Several Mobile area organizations and individuals were honored at the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism awards ceremony at The Lodge at Gulf State Park on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
The conference provides tourism professionals from around the state a chance to gather and learn about the economic impact of the tourism industry on Alabama’s economy, learn new strategies for marketing attractions and amenities to visitors, raise money for scholarships for collegiate hospitality students throughout the state and to celebrate achievements!
"Congratulations to our Mobile area winners for their tremendous leadership. While the last two years have been the most challenging times the travel and tourism industry has ever experienced, we celebrate the success of these individuals and teams. We appreciate the hard work of our stakeholders in going above and beyond to elevate Mobile as a premier travel destination and are excited about Mobile’s bright future,” said David Clark, president and CEO of Visit Mobile.
Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Mobile Area Award Winners:
Attraction of the Year - Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center
Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center is the Attraction of the Year. For more than 35 years, the center has been cultivating and engaging curious minds since its opening in 1983. Today, it continues to promote science learning through its programs and IMAX theater at its state-of-the-art facility. From exhibits about dinosaurs and the body to terrariums and Genghis Khan, the Exploreum continues to offer hands-on and up-close ways to educate, entertain and inspire generations.
Tourism Executive of the Year - Major General (Ret.) Janet Cobb, USS ALABAMA
Major General (Ret.) Janet Cobb is executive director of the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and the Tourism Executive of the Year. A native of Elberta, Alabama, Cobb graduated from Foley High School in 1974. She was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Signal Corps in May 1978 from The University of Alabama ROTC program, where she was named a Distinguished Military Graduate and was the first female officer to graduate from The University of Alabama. Major Cobb’s 42 years in the military includes leadership roles in Kuwait, the Netherlands and Washington, D.C. Her decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3) and various campaign and service awards. Maj. Gen. Cobb holds a J.D. from Cumberland School of Law, Samford University; an M.S.S. from the United States Army War College and a B.A. from The University of Alabama. In April 2017, Cobb was one of seven selectees for the inaugural University of Alabama ROTC Hall of Fame. She is member of the Mobile Bay Area Veterans Day Commission Board of Trustees and serves on the Veterans Initiative Advisory Council of the Community Foundation of South Alabama. is the Attraction of the Year. For more than 35 years, the center has been cultivating and engaging curious minds since its opening in 1983. Today, it continues to promote science learning through its programs and IMAX theater at its state-of-the-art facility. From exhibits about dinosaurs and the body to terrariums and Genghis Khan, the Exploreum continues to offer hands-on and up-close ways to educate, entertain and inspire generations.
Tourism Employee of the Year - Patty Kieffer
Patty Kieffer is the Tourism Employee of the Year. Kieffer has been with Visit Mobile for 20 years and has served in leadership roles such as Senior National Sales Manager and Director of Leisure Sales & Events before she was promoted to Vice President of Leisure Tourism in December 2020. Throughout her tenure, Kieffer has excelled in cultivating relationships with travel agents and business development managers in the Cruise Industry, International and Domestic Group Tour Operators as well as the local attraction community.
Tourism Partnership of the Year Award - Visit Mobile
The Africatown Collaborative, Alabama Historical Commission, City of Mobile, Mobile County, Savannah College of Art & Design and Visit Mobile are the recipients of the Tourism Partnership of the Year Award. In 2019, international headlines resounded with news about the identification of the hull of a wooden ship found along the Mobile River. At last, the more than 150-year-old mystery about the fate of the Clotilda had been uncovered. The infamous ship was the last known to have brought enslaved Africans to the United States decades after their international trafficking had been federally prohibited. The ship’s identity and announcement set off a chain of events galvanizing partnerships with a shared vision to tell the stories of Africatown and the Clotilda survivors; and support the preservation work needed to carry both into the future for generations to come. As the world prepares to make the pilgrimage to Africatown, local leaders, state agencies and other entities have banded together to craft and execute plans for the revitalization of the community. Early fruits of their labor include a documentary film, the forthcoming Africatown Heritage House, and the Africatown Welcome Center, along with developing tours and experiences in Africatown.
Welcome Center Employee of the Year - Emily White
Emily White is a Tourist Promotion Representative with the Grand Bay Welcome Center. She has enjoyed helping guests plan their time in the state for the past nine years and is a certified Customer Service Specialist from Faulkner University. White loves sharing information about the rich history, attractions and amazing dining experiences that Alabama has to offer. She is a loving wife and a proud mother of three beautiful children: Avalyn, Chloe and Owen. When she is not at work, White volunteers at her church, teaches Bible study classes for teenagers in her community and enjoys performing music for community events.
Tourism Advocate Media of the Year Award - Anderson Cooper
In addition to these Mobile area awards, the Tourism Advocate Media of the Year Award was given to Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor and "60 Minutes" host, for his coverage of the Clotilda story and Africatown experience. His support has brought international recognition to the descendants and the community and helped bolster a path towards reconciliation.
About Visit Mobile:
Visit Mobile is the official destination marketing organization charged with attracting visitors and conventions to the Mobile area. To learn more about our historic destination and find out why Mobile is the city that’s Born to Celebrate, visit mobile.org. This convention and visitors bureau is an accredited Destination International Marketing Organization.