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National Aquarium Employee Nora Campbell Awarded “Tourism Person of the Year” at the Conference Banquet

Owings Mills (November 15, 2023) – Over 300 tourism and hospitality professionals from around the state gathered for the 42nd Annual Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit (MTTS) at the Owings Mills Marriott, November 8-10, 2023. Sponsored and managed by the Maryland Tourism Coalition (MTC), this yearly summit brought together hundreds of private and public sector tourism employees and provided them with professional development seminars, networking events and opportunities for individuals to learn from experts and industry leaders on how best to incorporate innovative strategies to benefit Maryland. Brain Beall, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism and Director of the National Travel and Tourism Office was in attendance along with many other business leaders and tourism experts. As part of the conference, there was a Welcoming Reception held at Maryland Public Television and an awards banquet held at the Marriott Owings Mills. Attendees hailed from various arenas including hotel/motel, attractions, museums, transportation, arts and culture, Destination Management Organizations, tours, restaurants and sports organizations, among others. The summit was hosted by Marriott Owings Mills Metro Centre, Maryland Tourism Coalition, Maryland Office of Tourism and Enjoy Baltimore County.

“Tourism is an integral part of our state economy and it’s back stronger than ever. This summit affords us an opportunity to not only come together as professionals and learn from each other but to also to be better educated about important trends and economic factors that will affect what we do every day in order that we may all move forward together to make the industry even more vital and vibrant. This year, we welcomed 88 new conference attendees and 15 new sponsors to give us 54 total sponsors. That is 9 more than last year!” said Ruth Toomey, Executive Director, MTC.

On Thursday evening, an awards banquet was held and MTC recognized the very best work in the industry, including a special “Tourism Person of the Year.” Nora Campbell, a National Aquarium in Baltimore employee, was awarded this honor for her tireless dedication to her job, for her commitment to the tourism industry and partner organizations, for being an integral model of positivity throughout the pandemic, for her willingness to pitch in when needed to make things go smoothly, and for orchestrating a highly successful and creative event for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2022 Annual Conference.

Other recipients, 18 total, also received awards and were recognition in their industry and beyond. Find the complete list below. For more information on the conference, go to speakers/conference agenda, see additional attached.

Maryland Tourism Coalition Marketing Awards:

  • Best Product or Event – Small (Anne Arundel County)
    Winner: United States Naval Academy Armel-Leftwich Center, “Honor Flight
  • Best Product or Event – Medium (Harford County)
    Winner: Visit Harford, “Harford County Arts Week”
  • Best Product or Event – Large (Cecil County)
    Winner: Great Wolf Lodge
  • Best Printed Promotional Material (Worcester County)
    Winner: Worcester County Tourism and Economic Development, “Maryland’s Coast Official Visitors Guide”
  • Best Media and Public Relations Campaign (Worcester County)
    Winner: Ocean City Department of Tourism and Business Development, “Catch A Ride”
  • Best Website (Allegany County)
    Winner: Allegany County, “the Mountain Side of Maryland”
  • Best Use of Social Media (Howard County) Winner: Catalyst Communications, “Fleet Week”
  • Best Digital Campaign (Queen Anne’s County)
    Winner: Queen Anne’s County of Economic and Tourism Development, “Crabs n’ Crushes”

Maryland Tourism Coalition Professional Awards

  • Tourism Advocate of the Year (Worcester County)
    Presented to: Melanie Pursel, Worcester County Tourism and Economic Development
  • Small Business of the Year (Howard County) Presented to: The Elkridge Furnace Inn
  • MTC Volunteer of the Year (Howard County) Presented to: Nicole Motsay, Turf Valley Resort
  • Cooperative Partnership (Dorchester County)
    Presented to: Chesapeake Country All American Road Byway Alliance
  • Visionary Impact (Howard County)
    Presented to: Amanda Hof, Visit Howard County
  • New Professional of the Year (Worcester County)
    Presented to: Brianna Dix, Worcester County Tourism and Economic Development
  • Audrey Davenport Hospitality Person of the Year (Anne Arundel County) Presented to: Michelle Doerr, United States Naval Academy Armel-Leftwich Center
  • Tourism Person of the Year (Baltimore City) Presented to: Nora Campbell, National Aquarium
  • Ambassador of the Year (Worcester County) Presented to: Michele Burke, Maryland’s Coast
  • Ambassador of the Year (Prince George’s County) Presented to: Jackie Saunders, National Harbor
  • Ambassador of the Year (St. Mary’s County)
    Presented to: Andrew Ponti, St. Mary’s County Museum DivisionFor more information on the Maryland Travel & Tourism Summit, visit tourism-travel-summit/


For over 50 years, the Maryland Tourism Coalition has represented and united varied segments of tour and travel, bringing together the entire industry to enhance business growth and to promote the development of Maryland. Maryland Tourism Coalition strives to create the most productive statewide tourism climate possible. We promote business, offer professional development activities, and enhance our economic impact for the benefit of all Marylanders.

Maryland Tourism Coalition works on behalf of its members to affect positive change and defend the industry. Through direct advocacy, Tourism Day and educational sessions, our members inform and engage elected officials. Diversity is our strength; unity is our power.