The St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau recently recognized the finalists in the 2017 St. Johns County hospitality and tourism industry Employee of the Year awards.
Each winner was recognized at his or her place of business in a celebration with their co-workers. Top awards were given in five categories: lodging, attractions, restaurant, retail and government, with 23 individuals recognized for their service in the tourism industry.
Taking home the top award in the accommodations category was Arielle Crooms with Fairfield Inn & Suites St. Augustine I-95. In the attractions category, Laura Johnson of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum was the top award winner. Theresa Letterman of the City of St. Augustine won the top award in the government category. In the retail category, Robin Lousteau of the Colonial Quarter Outpost received the top award, and Dean Campbell of Casa Monica Resort & Spa captured the top award in the restaurant category.
Other nominees included Kelly Durham with Beachers Lodge; Gillen Durling with Casa Monica Resort & Spa; Hector Hernandez with Beachers Lodge; John Hoot with Casa Monica Resort & Spa; Marielena Scibelli with Howard Johnson Historic; Allie Schukay with Casa Monica Resort & Spa; Jeffrey Taylor with Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa; Jill Ursini with Beachers Lodge; Corley Chapman with The Tasting Tours; Robert Hebert with World Golf Hall of Fame; Michelle Powers with ZIPStream's Castaway Canopy Adventure; Angie Rose with Colonial Quarter; Kelly Lawrence with Casa Monica Resort & Spa; AJ Gruber with Colonial Oak Music Park; Jack Hill with Casa Monica Resort & Spa; Jason Pilacek with Taberna del Cabello; Max Rusch with Bull & Crown Publik House; and John Whitworth with Bull & Crown Publik House and Taberna del Caballo.
Tourism is the largest industry in St. Johns County and supports more than 29,000 jobs, according to the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau. In 2016, there were 6.6 million visitors to Florida's historic coast. While here, they spent a total of $1.1 billion providing $24 billion in economic impact.