Governor's tourism awards recognize Wisconsin's travel and hospitality industry

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Six individuals and organizations were recognized at the 2023 Wisconsin Governor’s Conference on Tourism with the Governor’s Tourism Awards for their contributions to the state's travel and hospitality industry.

The winners were selected from a record-setting number of nominees across six categories.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage Award went to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. The center is a visual and performing arts complex that supports self-taught and contemporary artists. It attracts thousands each year with its two free museums, festivals and programs.

The Ability Center, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit, won the Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion Award. The organization aims to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to be fit, active, healthy and to play. Through its RampUp program, the Ability Center has worked to transform Bradford Beach into a more accessible beach.

The Innovation Award was given to the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce for organizing the city’s annual European-style holiday market, known as Kriskindlmarkt. The event has been growing in popularity since its inception in 2015.

Romy Snyder, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, received the Legacy Award. Snyder has been a leader in tourism for 27 years, working to maintain the area's reputation as a year-round destination for visitors.

The Rising Star Award went to Megan Langer, owner and operator of The Port of Prescott, The Cove Guest House and The Harbor Hotel. Langer has remodeled and opened three boutique hotels in the Mississippi River community of Prescott in the last three years, opening the door for tourism opportunities and new events in the area.

Finally, the Bartolotta Restaurants won the Service Excellence Award. The company, which operates 17 restaurants and catering facilities in the Milwaukee area, has a reputation for exceptional cuisine and customer service. The company also aids Milwaukee-area nonprofits through its charitable arm, Care-a-lotta.

Gov. Evers congratulated the award recipients in a press release. He praised their talent and innovation in uplifting the entire industry.

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