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Tourism Awards and Scholarships Presented
at 17th Annual Tourism Unity Dinner

Connecticut Tourism Industry Leaders Recognized
First Lady Presents 2004 Ambassador Award

(WINDSOR, CT) - More than 350 industry professionals turned out for the 17th Annual Tourism Unity Dinner at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott as the new Commission on Culture and Tourism presented its annual industry awards and scholarships, including the Tourism Leader of the Year and the 2004 Connecticut Ambassador Award.

Formed in 2003 to guide the efforts of Connecticut's Arts, Tourism, Culture, History and Film industries, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism is comprised of government and industry leaders. The Commission's Executive Director is Jennifer Aniskovich.

For the first time, the annual event featured live dance and musical performances, reflecting the Commission's new emphasis on Connecticut's arts and culture scene. Among the three performers were Pilobolus, the nation's most beloved modern dance group, based in Washington Depot; master percussionist and drum maker Baba David Coleman of the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven; and The Paul Brown Jazz Duo.

All performers and an artistic creation in honor of the evening by Connecticut artist Karen Rossi, were coordinated by the Commission's Arts Division.

Arthur Hill Diedrick, head of the Connecticut Development Authority and a nine-year chairman of the state's Tourism Council, was named Connecticut's Tourism Leader of the Year for 2004.

The Tourism Leader of the Year Award honors a leader in the Connecticut travel and tourism industry who has:

  • Contributed substantially to the advancement of the travel and tourism industry;
  • Helped to develop the image of Connecticut as a travel destination;
  • And, helped significantly to communicate the economic, cultural and social importance of tourism.

"In his various capacities, Arthur has provided strong leadership in the investment of state resources to develop tourism products, including Mystic Aquarium, Lake Compounce, Adriaen's Landing and numerous businesses supporting tourism," said Edward Dombroskas, Director of the Tourism Division of the Commission on Culture and Tourism.

In 1998, Diedrick championed the first Strategic Development Plan for Tourism in Connecticut and it became a nationally recognized model, Dombroskas added.

First Lady Patricia Rowland presented the 2004 Connecticut Ambassador Award to Christopher Cloud, president and chief executive officer of AMISTAD America which oversees our state's official Flagship and Tall Ship of history and human spirit - the Freedom Schooner Amistad.

The CT Ambassador Award was created to recognize a person on the front line of the tourism industry who creates a positive and lasting first impression for visitors.

Two "Spirit of Connecticut" awards were also presented to Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury and to the University of Connecticut Athletic Department. The Spirit of Connecticut Awards recognize the positive achievement of an individual or organization that celebrates Connecticut's spirit and enhances the state's image.

The Automobile Association of America/Hartford and the Connecticut Motor Club also presented 13 Diamond Awards for restaurants and lodging establishments in Connecticut.


Note to Editors: A list of all award winners is attached. Photos will be available within a week of the event.


Jennifer Aniskovich, Executive Director, 860-566-4770
Edward Dombroskas, Tourism Division, 860-270-8075
Kathleen Goffa, MD&C, 860-624-4151


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