A bed-and-breakfast owner and longtime supporter of Missouri’s hospitality businesses has earned the state tourism industry’s highest honor.

Kay Schwinke was inducted into the Missouri Tourism Hall of Fame by the Missouri Tourism Commission and Missouri Division of Tourism during an awards banquet at the 48th Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism earlier this month.

The Hall of Fame honor is given annually to someone who has supported and made outstanding contributions to Missouri’s tourism industry for at least 10 years, while leaving a lasting, positive impression on the state’s economy.

The Hall of Fame honor was one of seven given during the banquet. Also earning tourism awards were:

  • Explore St. Louis, which earned the Marketing Campaign Award, given for effective integrated marketing efforts. Explore St. Louis was recognized for a far-reaching marketing campaign that combined various media to promote the city as an ideal destination for family fun. The campaign included a user-engagement component in which the #FunnestFamily was sought and encouraged visitors to share their St. Louis travel experiences on social media.
  • The Navigator Media Award was presented to St. Louis-based FEAST Magazine. The award is given annually to media whose efforts shine a positive light on the state’s tourism assets and destinations. When it launched in 2010, FEAST was focused on the dining scene in the St. Louis area. Recently, FEAST expanded its reach to include more Missouri destinations and added distribution points in Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City and a few out-of-state markets. FEAST also reaches consumers via its FEAST TV program on PBS channels.
  • The Kansas City Royals won the Spotlight Award, presented for noteworthy contributions in spotlighting tourism. In fall 2015, the Royals’ remarkable run to the franchise’s second World Series title drew the attention of the nation. Kansas City and its myriad attractions were showcased during televised playoff games that reached millions of viewers. After the Royals won the title, they were the focal point of a victory parade that drew hundreds of thousands of people and shone a positive spotlight on the city, the organization and its fanbase.
  • The Pathfinder Award went to Eco Zipline Tours in New Florence. This award honors businesses or individuals who aim for and successfully reach niche markets. Eco Zipline tours has welcomed guests from around the country and around the globe, much to the delight of owners Mike and Shannon Seper. Eco Zipline Tours has relied on positive word-of-mouth advertising and a focused social media campaign and advertising to reach consumers who know ziplines are an excellent path to a Missouri adventure.
  • Lagina Fitzpatrick, director of sales for the Tri-County Lodging Association and Lake of the Ozarks CVB, was presented with the Ambassador Award. The honor acknowledges individuals who support tourism initiatives and bring publicity to attractions across the state. Although her work focuses on bringing groups to enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks area, Fitzpatrick is an active member of the Missouri Travel Council, having recently served as its president. During her tenure as Travel Council president, Fitzpatrick guided the group through the search for a new executive director, something the organization had not faced in more than 20 years.
  • The Innovator Award was given to the Boonslick Area Tourism Council. The Innovator Award is presented to smaller tourism entities that achieve great results on limited budgets. For several years, the Boonslick Area Tourism Council has sought to increase visitation to central Missouri communities located along the Missouri River, including Boonville, Fayette, Marshall and Rocheport. The group’s initiatives have included the launch of the successful – and now, annual – Boonslick Folk Festival and the Barn Quilts of Boonslick Project.

The Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism features educational workshops and noted guest speakers who address a variety of topics related to the tourism industry. About 200 people attended this year’s event at The Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Independence.