Tourism Leadership Award

Oneida County Tourism (OCT) established the Christopher P. Destito Tourism Leadership Award Program in September 2010 to honor select Oneida County individuals/businesses whose vision and commitment help make our region a remarkable tourism destination. These individuals and organizations lead by example, take action on their ideas, and represent the very best of our community.

Photo: Chris Destito

Chris Destito was a founding director of the Oneida County Convention & Visitors Bureau, dba Oneida County Tourism, establishing the bureau in 1984 and subsequently spearheaded legislation to create the occupancy tax which funds tourism promotion for Oneida County. To commemorate his countless contributions to the tourism industry, this award program has been named in his honor.

The Tourism Leadership Award is an honor bestowed annually in recognition of exceptional volunteerism, contributions of time, talent, and/or financial support on the part of an individual, organization or business to further advance the tourism industry in the Oneida County area.

We all work diligently together to generate awareness of our community assets and promote Oneida County as a tourism destination. This is your chance to nominate an outstanding individual, organization or business to recognize and honor their spirit, service, and commitment to our community.

Previous Winners

  • 2011: Mark Cherry, GM Radisson Hotel
  • 2012: The Stewart Family, Sylvan Beach
  • 2013: Patrick Goodenow, Sylvan-Verona Beach Resort Association
  • 2014: Gene Falvo, Adirondack Scenic Railroad
  • 2015: Broadway Utica
  • 2016: Beth Irons, Oneida County Public Market
  • 2017: The Matt Family, F.X.Matt Brewing Company
  • 2018: Joe Rizzo, What's The Scoop
  • 2019: Robert Esche, Mohawk Valley Garden
  • 2021: No Award (Covid-19)
  • 2020: Anna Tobin D'Ambrosio, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
  • 2022: Mayor Jacqueline Izzo, City of Rome
  • 2023: Lisa A. della Santina-Wilsey, The Stanley Theatre

To nominate an individual or business, please complete this online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is February 7, 2024. If you have multiple nominations, complete separate forms for each nominee. The award will be presented at Oneida County Tourism's annual meeting on Thursday, March 21. Should you have any further questions, please contact Sarah at (315) 724.7221.


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