MDI Business Owners Win Tourism Honors

BAR HARBOR – Local business owners Danny Lafayette, Michael Boland and Audrey Mills were honored with top Maine tourism awards at the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism on Monday.


Mr. Lafayette of Lafayette Hotels, which among other properties in the Northeast and Maine owns the Wonderview and Bluenose Inns in Bar Harbor, along with the Looking Glass restaurant, was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence.

Mr. Boland, the owner of several restaurants, including Rupununi and Guinness and Porcelli’s and Havana on Main Street, was awarded for his commitment to the community. Ms. Mills, the owner of the Mount Desert Oceanarium on Route 3, won for her commitment to customer service.

More than 350 tourism and hospitality professionals gathered Tuesday at the Augusta Civic Center for the conference.

The theme of the gathering was “The Maine Experience.” Attendees were addressed by Gov. John Baldacci, and heard a report from Maine Office of Tourism Director Patricia Eltman. Workshops covered topics from working with the international market, to social media marketing, using analytics to improve a website, and connecting with downtowns.

Mr. Eltman also introduced the Maine Office of Tourism spring/summer advertising campaign, which is central to a new retail-based marketing strategy.

“Consumers in this economy are changing the way they make travel decisions and looking for experiences with great value,” Ms. Eltman said. “We have implemented an aggressive campaign that positions Maine as an attractive destination for a variety of travelers in all seasons.”

During a dinner ceremony Monday evening, Gov. Baldacci and Ms. Eltman presented the annual Maine Tourism Awards, which honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through their work.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens of Boothbay was honored for its Commitment to Innovation and Creativity. Bar Harbor landscape architect Bruce Riddell of Bar Harbor contributed to the gardens’ design. Maine Wildlife Park of Gray and New England Outdoor Center of Millinocket were honored for Commitment to Tourism Growth. The banquet staff at Sunday River Resort received a special Director’s Award for their work in hosting the Discover New England Tourism Summit last April.

The Governor’s Conference on Tourism is a project of the Maine Office of Tourism, the Maine Tourism Commission and numerous sponsors.

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