CRVA 14th Annual Partners in Tourism Award Winners Announced

January 22, 2020

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles among recipients honored for outstanding contributions to hospitality and tourism industry

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 22, 2020) – The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) announced the winners of the 14th Annual Partners in Tourism Awards sponsored by Carowinds today at an awards breakfast and ceremony at the Charlotte Convention Center. More than 500 of Charlotte’s top hospitality and tourism professionals were in attendance to recognize the front-line individuals and organizations that directly impact tourism in the Charlotte region. Among the event’s winners was City of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, who was honored with the Destination Impact Award for her significant impact on the region.

“Mayor Lyles has the unique ability to guide and inspire others, as well as to build strong relationships that support a high level of trust and credibility which in turn contributes to the overall success of the visitor economy,” Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said. “The commitment she has shown to our region inspires vision, sparks curiosity and innovation, and will support Charlotte’s success for years to come.”   

In 2018, visitors spent $7.4 billion in the Charlotte region including $5.7 billion in Mecklenburg County alone. One in every nine people employed in the Charlotte region works in the hospitality and leisure sector, totaling approximately 141,000 jobs. The tourism tax revenues produced in Charlotte save each Mecklenburg County resident an estimated $371 in taxes annually.

For over a decade, the CRVA has held the Partners in Tourism Awards to celebrate exceptional contributions to Charlotte tourism.

“Our partners take pride in their jobs which translates to memorable experiences for our visitors,” Patty Hunter, CRVA Director of Partnership, said. “This day is about coming together as a community and celebrating the accomplishments of the previous year and success of our city. By working together, we create future growth.”

Winners were nominated by CRVA employees and partners. Individual honors given at the event included: the Destination Impact Award, the Hospitality Unsung Hero Award (given to an individual who often serves in the back of the house), the Outstanding Ambassador Award, and the Hospitality Professional of the Year Award, which recognizes a respected leader who is engaged in the community and is an advocate for the advancement of the hospitality industry. Business award categories included Attraction of the Year, Full-service Hotel of the Year, Nightlife/Entertainment Venue of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Retailer of the Year, Select-service Hotel of the Year and Service Provider of the Year.   

This Year’s Partners in Tourism Award winners are:

Destination Impact Award: Vi Lyles, Mayor, City of Charlotte

Unsung Hero: Him Rahlan, Steward, The Westin Charlotte

Outstanding Ambassador: Charles Wilkerson, Owner, Steele Creek Printing

Hospitality Professional of the Year: Kymberly Brantigan, President, Charlotte Destination Group

Attraction of the Year: Camp North End

Full Service Hotel of the Year: Omni Charlotte Hotel

Nightlife/Entertainment Venue of the Year: 8.2.0 Pizzeria & Bar

Restaurant of the Year: 5Church Charlotte

Retailer of the Year: 7th Street Public Market

Select Service Hotel of the Year: Residence Inn by Marriott Charlotte Steele Creek

Service Provider of the Year: Split Second Sound

About the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to deliver experiences that uniquely enrich the lives of our visitors and residents. Through leadership in destination development, marketing and venue management expertise, the CRVA leads efforts to maximize the region’s economic potential through visitor spending, creating jobs and opportunities for the community. Brands supported by the CRVA include the Charlotte Convention Center, Spectrum Center, Bojangles’ Entertainment Complex, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Regional Film Commission and Visit Charlotte in conjunction with the region’s destination marketing brand. For more information, visit