Oneida County Tourism 36th Annual Meeting
Oneida County Tourism (OCT) held its 36th annual meeting at 5:00pm on Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 72 Tavern in the Adirondack Bank Center, Utica. In person attendance was limited to staff and Board of Directors to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. Industry partners and local stakeholders registered through Eventbrite to attend the meeting virtual via Google Meet.
Each year Oneida County Tourism honors Oneida County individuals and/or businesses that demonstrate the vision and commitment that makes our region a remarkable tourism destination with the Christopher P. Destito Tourism Leadership Award. These individuals and organizations lead by example, take action on ideas, and represent the very best of our community.
Chis Destito was a founding director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau for Oneida County, Inc. dba Oneida County Tourism, established the bureau in 1984 and subsequently spearheaded legislation to create the hotel occupancy tax which funds tourism marketing efforts for Oneida County. To commemorate his countless contributions to the tourism industry, the award program was named in his honor.
The recipient of the 2020 Christopher P. Destito Tourism Leadership Award is Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio, President & CEO of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Anna’s nomination cited, “Anna has led MWPAI through unprecedented challenges caused by a global
pandemic and launched a detailed and ambitious five-year strategic plan...making MWPAI even more relevant to a larger and more diverse population. New collaborations throughout the area will further engage the community and better serve everyone. More than half of MWPAl's 90,000 annual attendance comes from outside Oneida County. Anna's leadership, vision, and dedication to our community will help ensure that tourism remains strong in Oneida County.” Congratulations Anna!
The Christopher P. Destito Tourism Leadership Award was established in 2010. Previous honorees include:
2019: Robert Esche, Mohawk Valley Garden
2018: Joe Rizzo, Sylvan Beach
2017: The Matt Family, Utica
2016: Elizabeth Irons, Oneida County Public Market
2015: John Fehlner, Broadway Utica
2014: Gene Falvo, ADK Scenic Railroad
2013: Patrick Goodenow, Sylvan-Verona Beach Resort Association
2012: The Stewart Family, Sylvan Beach
2011: Mark Cherry, Radisson Hotel
2010: Christopher P. Destito, Sr., posthumously
Elizabeth Fuertes, Visitor Information Specialist for OCT was awarded with her 15-Year Service Award. Liz joined the OCT team May 6, 2005. She has greeted and assisted the traveling public at our welcome centers with a warm smile and happy heart for 15 years. She staffed the visitor information booth at the Schuyler Service Center at Exit 32 under the management of Oneida County Tourism and currently manages the Oneida County Welcome Center at Exit 31 on Saturdays and Sundays.
Sarah Foster, Director of Media Relations & Meetings Market Manager was also awarded her 10-Year Service Award! Sarah joined the OCT team October 25, 2010 as the Director of Group Sales managing OCT’s presence in the motor coach and small meetings/conference market. In 2018 Sarah was promoted to Director of Media Relations & Meetings Market Manager focusing on increasing public relations and organic social media outreach while continuing to represent OCT stakeholders in the meetings/conference market.
She’s established herself as an industry leader working with colleagues across NYS and the US. Sarah was recently elected to the NYS Tourism Industry Association Board of Directors. She has served our local community through active leadership and participation on the Baggs’ Square Board of Directors, Catalyst, Genesis, and youth mentoring.