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Tourism Impact Award given to area educators in the field, including Flagler’s Cole

May 16, 2019

Flagler College Hospitality and Tourism Management program Director and Assistant Professor Zach Cole, Ph.D., was recently honored with an award on behalf of Flagler at the annual State of the Tourism Industry Celebration. The event, which is hosted by the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau, VCB, was held at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort.

The event is celebratory in nature and focuses on the success of the previous year for the area’s tourism and hospitality professionals. The purpose is to also hear from industry experts on what to expect going forward in the next year.

Philip McDaniel, VCB Board of Directors Chairman and co-founder and owner of the St. Augustine Distillery, presented the 2018 Tourism Impact Award to several recipients, including Cole. McDaniel introduced the future of tourism and the ways in which local people are setting the pathways to the industry; this year’s award focused on educators in the local schools, including Flagler College, where tourism and hospitality are being taught to future generations.

“The recipients of this year’s award are paving the way to continue the success of our hospitality industry,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel presented the award to both Cole and President Joseph G. Joyner on behalf of Flagler College.

“Young adults who graduate from Flagler College with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to transition from school to professional careers in our fast-growing industry,” he said when introducing the award recipients.

Ed Swift III, president of Historic Tours of America, was the keynote speaker. Although national predictions show a less than record-breaking year for tourism expected in 2019, Swift agreed with local early data showing that the northeast Florida region will still enjoy a healthy tourist economy.

Flagler College was a sponsor of the annual VCB event. In addition, Flagler’s Legacy Tours Manager Samantha Palmer serves as the Vice Chair for the VCB Board of Directors.

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