Visit NC’s Wit Tuttell welcomed the newest inductees into Visit NC’s Winners Circle at the annual Visit NC Tourism Conference in Asheville, joining nearly 60 members honored since it debuted in 2004.
The award recognizes significant and continuing contributions to the growth and success of North Carolina’s tourism industry.
Rolf Blizzard, managing director of Turnpike Properties in Kitty Hawk and co-owner of Atlantic Realty of the Outer Banks, is chair of the N.C. Carolina Travel & Tourism Coalition, which promotes public policies that encourage the growth and development of the tourism industry.
He worked in the N.C. Senate for 10 years in the office of longtime Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight.
In addition to his role as coalition chair, he’s a member of the EDPNC Board of Directors, chairman of the N.C. Travel & Tourism Board, co-chair of the National Vacation Rental Management Association’s Government Relations Committee and a member of the N.C. Hospitality Alliance board.
Liz Bittner leads Travel South USA. On behalf of Travel South’s 12 state tourism operations, she manages programs and offices in Australia/New Zealand, Benelux, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India and Italy.
She is also a premier partner with Brand USA. Bittner serves as business manager for the U.S. Civil Rights Trail Marketing Alliance and has held leadership positions with the National Tour Association and American Bus Association.
Chris Cavanagh, founder and president of Magellan Strategy Group, entered the travel and tourism sector 28 years ago. For more than a decade, he served as vice president of marketing for The Biltmore Company.
With Asheville-based Magellan, he consults with destinations of all sizes, both rural and urban; historic, natural and cultural attractions; and other tourism and hospitality clients across the U.S. and beyond.
Cavanagh has served as a member and chair of the N.C. Travel & Tourism Board and as chairman of the Buncombe County Tourism Authority.
Visit NC also presented its Esse Quam Videri Award, which exemplifies the state’s motto: “To Be Rather Than to Seem,” to the Catawba Vale Collective in Old Fort for its ongoing success in building a vibrant community, growing economic development and elevating its outdoor bounty in ways that make it welcoming and accessible to all.
The Catawba Vale Collective – whose members include the Black-led People on the Move Old Fort, the Eagle Market Streets Development Corp., Jason McDougal of Camp Grier and the U.S. Forest Service – approaches the mission through business development with an emphasis on outdoor recreation.
More than 500 people attend the Collective’s annual Outdoors For All conference, which brings together diverse thought leaders, industry partners, community members and outdoor enthusiasts to explore ways to create a shared, equitable outdoor community.
Most recently, the Collective secured funding for 42 miles of new multi-use trails, which are being developed with the U.S. Forest Service.
Story courtesy Visit NC NewsLink, a weekly e-newsletter from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. NewsLink provides information to nearly 4,800 tourism industry leaders, media and government representatives across the state. It distributes valuable information on Visit NC’s marketing and promotional efforts, tourism-related research, state, national and international trends, media leads, updates on conferences and events, and more.