Visit Pensacola Hosts Second Hospitality Hero Luncheon in Celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week


Media Contact:

Nicole Stacey
Visit Pensacola
(850) 434-2142

tourism week


Pensacola, Fla. (May 12, 2017) –  For the second year in a row Visit Pensacola celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week by honoring members of the hospitality community with a luncheon at Skopelo’s at New World Inn. President Steve Hayes began the afternoon by thanking those that dedicate their efforts to tourism in the Pensacola Bay area.

“The industry and the Pensacola Bay Area community need to love it, live it and protect it when it comes to tourism and advocated for our city,” said Steve Hayes, president of Visit Pensacola.

Tourism is at the epicenter of the Pensacola community creating over 22,000 jobs. Each year, over 2 million people visit the area with 45% being first timers. These visitors contribute over $780 million in visitor spending and curate over $94 million in local taxes.

Following opening remarks, winners of the Hospitality Hero awards were announced. Among those were: Gay Bell, Artesana-shopping; Fernando Velasquez, UWF Historic Trust-attractions, Tim Schossow, Beach Bum Trolley-transportation and Robert Kraatz, Flora-Bama Yacht Club-dining. Award recipients were nominated by they’re coworkers and respective peers for their hard work.

To conclude the event, internationally acclaimed keynote speaker and founder of because I said I would, Alex Sheen, spoke on his foundation's dedication to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Guests were moved by his words and left feeling empowered to do better.

National Travel and Tourism Week will wrap up this weekend with open houses at each of the Visitor Information Centers. With a successful week of celebration completed, Visit Pensacola invites the community to hear from Majority Opinion Research on Wednesday, May 17 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the IHMC building. Jeff Shusterman will present 2016 visitor numbers and the value of the visitor. Seats are limited, and those interested in attending are asked to R.S.V.P by Tuesday, May 16 to Barbara Williams (


About Visit Pensacola

Visit Pensacola is the destination management organization for Escambia County which includes Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key. With over 450 years of rich history and 18 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordered by the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors from all over the world are lured to our pristine shores every year. Visit Pensacola supports the community vision of tourism by serving as the central body responsible for building tourism as an economic engine for our community through leadership, connection, collaboration and communication.