Nearly a dozen local hospitality pros honored at Visit Tampa Bay luncheon

Visit Tampa Bay has recognized 11 Tampa Bay area hospitality industry professionals for their roles in promoting tourism in the region and ensuring a positive visitor experience.

The industry leaders were honored at the group’s National Travel and Tourism Awards lunch, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in late May.

Included among honorees is Andrea Gonzmart Williams, from the Columbia Restaurant and the 1905 Family of Restaurants, who was given the Gonzmart Family Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award for her dedication to the region’s culture, community and tourism ecosystem.

“Tampa Bay’s status as a world-class destination can be directly attributed to the commitment to quality our awardees show our visitors on a daily basis,” said Visit Tampa Bay President and CEO Santiago Corrada, who announced awards decked out in drum major regalia after playing bass drum with musicians and dancers from Dorren Collier’s Event Show Productions. “Hospitality ambassadors like Andrea Gonzmart Williams, and our other honorees, represent the hard-working professionals who have enthusiastically dedicated themselves to leveraging the power of travel and tourism as an effective means to share all that’s unique and wonderful about our region.”

Other award recipients include:

Hospitality Hero Awards

— Xuan Nguyen of Boulon Brasserie and Bakery

— Jaqueline Bernabie of Homewood Suites Tampa Airport Westshore

— Ronnie Lim of Hilton Tampa Downtown

— Nurys Matos of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

— Luisa Medina of the Columbia Restaurant

— Khadeem Sealy of Bern’s Steak House

— Vickie Elysee of McKibbon Hospitality and Hyatt House Tampa Airport/Westshore

Talk-Up Tampa Awards

— Attorney Greg Yadley of Shumaker for the upcoming 40th Annual Federal Securities Institute Conference and Tastevin American National Officer Meeting.

— Hillsborough County Commissioner Gwen Myers for the 2025 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority South Atlantic Regional Conference.

— Dr. Christopher Garnet DuCoin of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health Department of Surgery for the 2026 Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons Postgraduate Course and Scientific Session.

In addition to awards, the luncheon also included a speed painting demonstration by SALVADOR LIVE! and dance performances by the Tampa Bay Flamenco Dance Company and the Tampa City Ballet.

Visit Tampa Bay collaborates with more than 900 partners, across the region, to drive a nearly $9 billion economic impact. The region’s tourism industry sustains more than 59,000 local jobs.

Sponsors for this year’s luncheon include the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the 1905 Family of Restaurants and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

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