Kim M. Straka
Madison, WI – The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) held their Annual Business Briefing on May 12, 2005 at the Monona Terrace* Community and Convention Center in recognition of See America Week, previously known as National Tourism Week. The purpose of the meeting was to give GMCVB members and the community a snapshot of the past year’s achievements and share what is ahead for the GMCVB and tourism development in Dane County.
Officially announced at the briefing was the GMCVB’s newest initiative called Spirit of Greater Madison. Spirit is a 501c(3) subsidiary created to assist the GMCVB in pursuing specific economic development initiatives that the GMCVB is otherwise unable to pursue. Spirit is designed to provide support for programs and activities that will advance our community’s quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors.
“Our first Spirit initiative is the Community Air Service Support Partnership. It’s a public-private program designed to attract new air service into the Dane County Regional Airport,” said Deb Archer, GMCVB President & CEO. “Other examples we foresee are growing cultural and sports tourism programs, which are so popular in this community.”
The 2005 Augie Faulkner Spirit of Tourism Award recipient was also named. This award was established in memory of August Faulkner, otherwise known as “Augie”, owner and manager of The Edgewater Hotel in Madison. In 1972, Faulkner played a pivotal role in the establishment of the GMCVB as a stand-alone destination marketing organization, and helped the tourism industry as an important economic driver in Madison and Dane County. The award is given to an organization that is a champion of the GMCVB and the area tourism industry.
This year’s recipient is the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University draws thousands and thousands of visitors to the community each year, and understands that the campus is a visitor destination. The University also serves as a fertile ground for the GMCVB, with UW faculty and staff helping to lure meetings, conventions, events and national publicity to our destination. Athletic events are important draws to this community and huge economic drivers for the hospitality industry. The Athletic department has also been a key partner in sanctioning the use of UW facilities for events like the WIAA tournaments and Drum Corps International, which will return next summer.
Previous award recipients include World Dairy Expo, Badger States Games (Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation) and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA).
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison and its’ Athletic department have been instrumental for so many of the GMCVB’s initiatives,” said Deb Archer. “We’re honored to present this award to such a key partner in our efforts to promote tourism in this community.”
Emcee for the event was Neil Heinen, from WISC TV and Madison Magazine and John Roach of John Roach Projects was the featured speaker. Approximately 200 people attended the event.