Innovative partners earn tourism award

Three Southern Oregon tourism efforts were recognized by Travel Oregon during its 2011 Tourism and Hospitality Industry Achievement Awards earlier this month.

Rogue Wilderness Adventures, Travel Southern Oregon and Wildlife Images combined to win the Oregon Tourism & Hospitality Industry Exceptional Partnership Award. They were honored for creating a successful tourism promotion that is more successful than any single entity could have produced alone.

The trio banded together to ensure that a group of influential bloggers visiting Portland had the chance to experience Southern Oregon, too. The bloggers were flown to Grants Pass via private plane where they saw rehabilitated wildlife, rafted the Rogue River and had a riverside lunch before returning to Portland that same day. Travel Oregon said the adventure resulted in excellent coverage by the bloggers.

Sue West of Wildlife Images in Grants Pass captured the Outstanding Oregon Tourism Volunteer Award, exemplifying the impact of volunteers in Oregon's tourism and hospitality industry and on Oregon's economy. West has been a volunteer at Wildlife Images for more than six years. She is the handler for an adult gray wolf named Tundra and fosters newborn animals that need round-the-clock feeding.

Alex and Danielle Amarotico of Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Ashland claimed the Oregon Sustainable Tourism Leadership Award for demonstrating a strong commitment to conserving Oregon's natural and cultural resources through environmental stewardship and socially responsible practices.

The Amaroticos were commended for sustainability efforts and for providing an outstanding workplace for employees. They also were named Sustainable Business' Oregon Winner and rated No. 2 in Oregon Business magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon" in 2011. Their menu uses locally sourced items.

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