The Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau received an award Monday night naming it one of the best tourism organizations in Oklahoma.
“I'm very excited about it,” said Ron Gilbert, a Miami dentist and member of the board that oversees the bureau's operation. “I think for a community of our size to win this prestigious award is quite an achievement.”
The Convention and Visitors Bureau received the Merit Award in the best tourism organization category. Only the Shawnee Convention and Visitors Bureau scored better - by one point, according to Cory Cart, public relations director for the Travel and Tourism Division of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
Entries are evaluated by out-of-state judges based on criteria including customer service, marketing effectiveness, media relations, variety of audiences reached, value and creativity. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department partners with the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association to present the annual awards.
Monday night in Tulsa, award winners were announced at a dinner that concluded the Governor's Conference on Tourism. Miami Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzanne Hubbard, who served as director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau until late last year and who has recently announced her resignation, attended the awards dinner. Current Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Amanda Davis, Gilbert and wife Anne and Coleman Theatre Manager Barbara Smith and husband Willie attended the awards dinner. The award was presented by Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.
“The casinos we have bring a lot of attention to our community,” Gilbert said. “CVB functions on funds generated from a room tax on motel rooms and right now you can't get a room on the weekends in Miami. That has allowed us to promote what we have and we're starting to make it work.”
Miami has two casinos within the city limits and another three casinos are located nearby. Room tax in Miami is 4 percent.
Rogers (Okla.) State University won a broadcasting award for a 30-minute documentary it produced on the Coleman last year.
“They did a fabulous job of telling the actual story of the Coleman and the people involved with it,” Barbara Smith said. “They intertwined the history of the theater with the dedication of the community members that restored the theater.”
Rogers State also donated DVD copies of the documentary to the Coleman for sale in an effort to raise funds to continue the restoration of the 1929 movie theater and vaudeville house.