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Industry Briefs
APEX Awards Recognize Distinguished Service To Travel Industry

Black Meetings & Tourism magazine presented its 13th Annual Apex Awards on July 19 at the International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show in Miami. The stellar list of recipients included Arnold W. Donald, president/CEO of Carnival Corporation, Ernest Wooden, Jr., president/CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the Hon. Obediah Hercules Wilchcombe, MP, Minister of Tourism of The Bahamas, Valerie Ferguson, VP, Operations of Denihan Hospitality Group, Linda Haithcox, executive director of the National Policy Alliance, Jim Smither, president of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rita D. McClenny, president/CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Tony Brown, president of Tony Brown's Journal and legendary journalist.  Brown,  who has advocated hotel ownership by African-Americans for decades, was part of the inspiration that resulted to the creation of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD).

The First Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show, which took place July 18-20 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel, was presented by NABHOOD, the International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Network, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Black Meetings & Tourism magazine, and Horizons International Group, Inc.

Black Meetings & Tourism also took advantage of the opportunity to recognize five of the key players in the Miami boycott of 1990 that was launched when Nelson Mandela was snubbed by city officials during his visit to Miami.   The five honored were Professor H. T. Smith, Stephen Sonnaband, Merrett R. Stierheim, Marilyn J. Holifield and Dorothy Jenkins Fields.  All five played major roles in the planning and/or the negotiations to end the boycott.

The 150 guests and awardees who attended the Saturday night gala were also treated to a moving keynote speech by Hank Thomas, one of the original Freedom Riders.  Thomas, a NABHOOD Board member, is president of Victoria Hospitality Properties.

Handling MC duties for the evening were Roy Jay, president/CEO of the Oregon Convention & Visitor Services Network, and his stunning wife, Juanita Walton Jay, an entrepreneur and former legislator.  Roy's wit and humor added some levity to the night's agenda and kept attendees in stitches. 

In addition to the Apex Awards presentation, the gala also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Black Meetings & Tourism, and included a slide show of testimonials of longtime supporters of the magazine and its work to provide a voice for African-Americans in the travel/tourism/meetings/hospitality industry and recognize their contributions and achievements. 

The awards for Distinguished Service are given each year to a select number of individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their particular fields of endeavor that have positively impacted travel and tourism.

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