The Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to announce the recipients of its Salute to Travel & Tourism Awards on Feb. 21.

The presentation of these prestigious awards is part of the nonprofit CVB’s annual meeting during which Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe will present a state of the state’s tourism industry address. CVB staff also will update constituents on achievements in 2018 and plans for 2019 marketing programs promoting Springfield as a travel destination.

Award recipients are the following:

  • John Whittington, owner of Springfield-based Whittington & Associates, will receive the CVB’s top award, The Pinnacle Award, presented to individuals who have been active in the travel industry for many years and have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the Springfield area’s travel industry.
  • Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium will receive the Hospitality Award for an attraction, lodging facility or restaurant which demonstrates outstanding hospitality to the traveling public and exhibits a team spirit in promoting growth of Springfield area travel and tourism.
  • The Diplomat Award for a government official, organization or employee who has provided significant support to the Springfield area travel industry will go to Gov. Mike Parson.
  • The Spotlight Award for an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel and tourism industry for noteworthy contributions in advancing travel and tourism in the Springfield area will go to Missouri State University.
  • Mike Chrispyn, director of the National Street Rod Association, will receive the Ambassador Award, presented to individuals or organizations who generated significant economic impact for the area by working to encourage tourism or secure a major convention or event in Springfield.
  • Dean Kroencke will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Tickets for the event that includes a reception and dinner are available at Cost is $60 per individual ticket or $500 for a reserved table of 10.

The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. at the White River Conference Center. Dinner and the program begin at 7 p.m.

The CVB extends a thank you to the following sponsors:


White River Conference Center


Downhome Productions EAS Investments Hampton Inn/Home2 Elliott Lodging LaQuinta Inns & Suites-Airport Plaza and South Madden Media Oasis Hotel & Convention Center O’Reilly Hospitality Rolling Oaks Hospitality University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center


Gary Ellison Productions Springfield-Branson National Airport


37 North Expeditions Cantrell-Barnes Printing & Disc Works Collegiate Awards Macadoodles

For more information, call the CVB at 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767. For sponsorship information, visit