VLN Announces 2016 Hospitality Award Winners Cornelius, Davidson & Huntersville, NC – Visit Lake Norman (VLN) recently announced the winners of the 4th Annual Making Waves Hospitality Awards at an awards luncheon at the Peninsula Yacht Club on March 16th. Lake Norman’s top hospitality and tourism professionals were in attendance to recognize the front line individuals and organizations that directly impact Lake Norman’s hospitality region. Visitors spend $5 billion annually in Mecklenburg County and $6.5 billion regionally. One in every nine people employed in the Charlotte region works in the hospitality and leisure sector. The tourism tax revenues produced saves each Mecklenburg County resident $349 in taxes annually.

The last three years the awards recognized excellence in Lake Norman’s hotel industry. In 2016, the awards program was expanded to recognize the very best across all of Lake Norman’s hospitality industry including awards for hotels, restaurants, venues, events and an individual unsung hospitality hero. www.visitlakenorman.org/about/hospitality-awards/ The three hotel award categories remained the same. The Outshines from the Front Lines category award winner recognizes a guest service representative is Minnie Cole, Breakfast Attendant for the Residence Inn Lake Norman. The Stellar Seller category award winner recognizes a sales representative is Debra Schmidt, Director of Sales for the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Huntersville. The Lead to Succeed category award winner recognizes a management professional is Juan Robles, General Manager for the Comfort Suites in Huntersville.

The first new award category of Divine Dining award winner recognizes an exemplary restaurant is North Harbor Club. The Venue of the Year category award winner recognizes a great venue that hosts tourism impacting events is the River Run Tennis Center. The Event of the Year category award winner recognizes a tourism impacting event is the Carolina Renaissance Festival. The Unsung Hospitality Hero category award winner recognizes an individual that goes above and beyond to make Lake Norman a great destination was received posthumously by John Kurti. In honor of the late John Kurti, who served as founding board member for VLN for over 16 years and recently passed away, VLN announced that they will honor John indefinitely by naming the award in his honor. The Unsung Hospitality Hero Award will now be known as the John Kurti Unsung Hospitality Hero Award. VLN is now taking hospitality award nominations for 2017 now and through December 31, 2017.