Tourism Professionals Gather for Maine Governor's Conference

More than 350 tourism and hospitality professionals gathered today at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland for the 2011 Maine Governor's Conference on Tourism.

The theme of the conference was "Outstanding in Your Field." The conference opened with a trade show and breakfast, followed by the general session including an opening performance by Boreal Tordu. Attendees heard reports from the Maine Office of Tourism and Maine Tourism Commission, and a keynote address from Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

The Office of Tourism unveiled three new initiatives: MainePerforms! highlights performing arts opportunities around the state and was a collaboration between the Office of Tourism and the Maine Arts Commission; the tourism office's first free mobile application, the Maine Lobster Guide for Apple and Android devices; and a new series of online videos featuring nationally recognized Maine designers.

Workshops were offered covering topics from online business marketing, to improving business through partnerships, and promoting sustainable initiatives.

The conference lunch featured shrimp pies from Cobscook Bay Company's Maine Fresh, with lunchtime entertainment provided by Celebration Barn performers.

The lunch concluded with Governor Paul LePage presenting the Annual Maine Tourism Awards, honoring individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through their work. Award winners were: The Women of The Commons in Eastport for the Maine Office of Tourism Director's Award; the Maine Winter Sports Center and Jason Briggs of VIP Tour & Charter Bus Co. for Commitment to Community; ArtWalk Maine for Commitment to Creativity; Maine Huts & Trails for Commitment to Innovation; Cellardoor Winery & Vineyard in Lincolnville for Commitment to Tourism Growth; and Deborah Lennon of the Kennebunkport Inn for the Governor's Award for Tourism Excellence.

The Governor's Conference on Tourism is a project of the Maine Office of Tourism, the Maine Tourism Commission and numerous sponsors.