Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs
2012 Apex Awards Popular Annual Event

The 2012 Black Meetings & Tourism (BM&T) APEX Awards for Distinguished Service in Heritage Tourism were presented at the TPOC (Travel Professionals of Color) 10th Annual Conference & Trade Show on May 18th at the Double Tree Denver Hotel in Denver, CO.

Approximately 250 people attended the awards luncheon that was hosted by BM&T’s Victoria Head and Matt Thomas. This year’s recipients included:

  • CASSANDRA GAINES, director of the Muskogee Civic Center, multi-cultural director for convention & tourisms in Muskogee, Oklahoma and manager of the historic 300-seat Roxy Theater
  • SHELTON JOHNSON, a park ranger at Yosemite National Park where he serves in Interpretation and Education
  • STEPHEN SHERMAN at 91 years old is one of the few surviving African-American veterans of World War II
  • SARA B. HAMLIN, vice president of Tourism for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • MURIEL WILTORD, director of the Martinique Promotion Bureau
  • JO KEITA, owner/operator of Nubian Tours
  • DAN LINCOLN president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • ANITA J. DIXON, owner/operator of Passage Unlimited, the Kansas City area’s first full time Heritage Tour company
  • ANGELA DA SILVA, an adjunct professor at the American Studies Department of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, and the cultural preservationist/director of the National Black Tourism Network in St. Louis
  • ALTHEMESE BARNES is the founder and executive director of the Riley House Center/Museum, the first community-based African-American Historic Museum and Resource Center in Tallahassee, Florida
  • GEORGINA LORENCZ serves as president of Minneapolis-based African Travel Seminars, Inc. (ATS)
  • DAVID SAUNDERS and HELEN BROADUS, owners/operators of Venue International Professionals, Inc. (VIP)
  • ELAINE LEE TURNER and JOAN LEE NELSON owners/operators of Heritage Tours in Memphis, TN, the first heritage tourism company in the nation
The awards luncheon included a gracious acceptance video from Ranger Johnson, who could not attend, a special presentation by TPOC honoring the service of WWII veteran Sherman, a powerful reenactment in costume by Angela Da Silva, and a timely presentation by BM&T Associate Publisher/Editor Gloria Herbert about 2012 Proclaimed the “Year of African-American Heritage Tourism.”

The keynote address was delivered by Wayne Hamilton, CEO of the office of African Nova Scotian Affairs. Hamilton stood in for the Honorable Percy Parris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism for Nova Scotia, who could not attend due to a schedule conflict.

BM&T’s APEX Awards are annually presented by Black Meetings & Tourism magazine to a select number of individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their particular fields of endeavor that have positively impacted travel and tourism. The 2012 awards had a Heritage Tourism theme & focus.

According to the APEX Award selection guidelines an individual’s record of service must:
  • Provide long-term benefits for the travel industry and the African-American market segment.
  • Represent a national level of prominence.
  • Demonstrate a track record of a minimum of two years.
Past APEX Award recipients include George Aguel, senior vice President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, William Norman, former president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, David Whitaker president and CEO of Tourism Toronto, and Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, former secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, to name a few.
Meet Brilliantly