Abingdon tourism was well represented at the recent Ordinary Awards, presented by the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA). Special Events Coordinator Sara Saavedra was named CVB Employee of the Year, while the Virginia Creeper Trail was named Travel Attraction of the Year.
Hospitality and tourism professionals from across the Commonwealth of Virginia were honored during the inaugural Ordinary Awards Dinner Monday, October 24 in Richmond by the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association.
During the evening, 15 individuals and organizations were honored with an Ordinary Award for their outstanding work in the hospitality field and within their communities. The awards are named after Chinn’s Ordinary, which is considered “the oldest original inn in America” (Baltimore Sun, August 1996). Dating to 1728 in what is now Middleburg, Chinn’s Ordinary, operating today as the Red Fox Inn, chiefly catered to travelers between Alexandria and Winchester, Virginia.
The Creeper is one of the key attractions for Abingdon and Southwest Virginia,” Costello said. “We are pleased it was recognized as such by our peers and VRLTA.”
Sara Saavedra was honored with the Jim Ricketts Award for DMO/CVB Employee of the Year. Saavedra is the Abingdon CVB’s Special Events Coordinator, and is responsible for producing some of Abingdon’s most popular festivals and concerts, including January Jams at Barter Theatre, the Thursday Jams free outdoor concerts, Main Street Busker Fest, Hops & Howlers Craft Brew Fest, and the Abingdon Independence Day celebration.
Abingdon Director of Tourism Kevin Costello said that he was thrilled with Saavedra’s recognition at the state level. “Sara has proven to be a top performer in the special events field and a key asset to our organization. Her focus on creating new and unique events that drive visitation to Abingdon has helped us to achieve our goals of bringing more people to Abingdon to spend dollars in our community. I think Jim Ricketts, the respected DMO director from Virginia Beach would approve of Sara being honored with the award named after him and his legacy. “
In addition, the Virginia Creeper Trail was named the state’s Travel Attraction of the Year. The popular recreation trail draws well over 100,000 people annually to visit Southwest Virginia. In 2014, it was inducted in to the national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association is the only unified voice for the restaurant, lodging, travel and hospitality suppliers associations. VRLTA creates value for members by promoting the legislative interests of the industry, networking, educational opportunities, and protecting free enterprise. Inquiries about membership and VRLTA services should be directed to VRLTA at (804) 288-3065 or VRLTA.org