Eleven recognized for contributions to region’s hospitality industry during travel and tourism celebration

Tampa, FL (June 7, 2024) – Visit Tampa Bay and more than 500 of its partners honored the impact of unsung heroes in Tampa’s hospitality industry during their National Travel and Tourism Week Luncheon May 29 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.

Eleven outstanding members of the Tampa Bay community were recognized for the pivotal role they play in shining a spotlight on the region and creating extraordinary experiences for visitors, including Andrea Gonzmart Williams of the Columbia Restaurant and 1905 Family of Restaurants, who was honored with the Gonzmart Family Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award for her unwavering dedication to Tampa Bay’s culture, community, and tourism.


The awards presentation was the highlight of the celebratory event that began when Visit Tampa Bay President and CEO, Santiago C. Corrada, decked out in drum major’s regalia, entered the packed ballroom playing a bass drum alongside musicians and dancers from Dorren Collier’s Event Show Productions, to kick off the occasion with a thunderous performance before assuming duties as master of ceremonies.

“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 Corrada. “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.”

With a speed painting demonstration from SALVADOR LIVE! and dance performances from the Tampa Bay Flamenco Dance Company of the Columbia Restaurant as well as the Tampa City Ballet, the annual celebration of NTTW culminating in the awards luncheon continues to be a focal point for the Hillsborough County tourism industry.

In addition to Gonzmart Williams, awardees included:

  • “Hospitality Hero Award” recipients for embodying hospitality excellence by creating an extraordinary experience for the millions of visitors to Tampa Bay.
    • Xuan NguyenBoulon Brasserie and Bakery
    • Jaqueline BernabieHomewood Suites Tampa Airport Westshore
    • Ronnie LimHilton Tampa Downtown
    • Nurys MatosBusch Gardens® Tampa Bay
    • Luisa MedinaColumbia Restaurant
    • Khadeem SealyBern’s Steak House
    • Vickie Elysee McKibbon Hospitality and Hyatt House Tampa Airport/Westshore
  • “Talk-Up Tampa Award” recipients for critical contributions in securing impactful events that made a significant economic impact to the region.
    • Greg Yadley, Attorney & Partner, Shumaker, LLP – For the upcoming 40th Annual Federal Securities Institute Conference and the Tastevin American National Officer Meeting.
    • Honorable Commissioner Gwen Myers, Hillsborough County – For the 2025 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated South Atlantic Regional Conference.
    • Christopher Garnet DuCoin, MD, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine – For the 2026 Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons Postgraduate Course and Scientific Session.


Visit Tampa Bay works closely with more than 900 partners across the region to drive nearly $9 billion a year in economic impact, and more than 59,000 local jobs are directly sustained by the destination’s tourism industry.

Visit Tampa Bay’s National Travel and Tourism Luncheon was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorships provided by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, 1905 Family of Restaurants, and Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay.



The heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast beats in Tampa Bay. Visit Tampa Bay encourages adventure with a relaxing vibe to create vacation experiences that are authentically Tampa Bay. As a not-for-profit corporation certified by Destinations International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP), we work with hundreds of partners to tell the world the story of Tampa Bay. Treasure awaits. For more information, visit our website.