By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Madison-Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) accepted an award last week, bestowing a prestigious designation on the organization tasked with promoting local tourism. It was announced in July that the CVB would join an elite group of Georgia CVBs by earning a top ranking that only seven other CVBs across the state have received. Officials from the CVB and the City of Madison attended the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference at Great World Lodge in LaGrange, on Sept. 8. The event is touted as the largest tourism conference in all of Georgia. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp attended and honored each of the awardees.
“I am so proud of our CVB team and former director Ellen Sims,” said Madison City Councilwoman Chris Hodges. “All of their hard work paid off. Under their leadership, Madison remains a top tourist destination in Georgia. Our new director, Jennifer Rosa will continue our mission to remain at the top.”
CVB Board Chairman Zeb Grant accepted the award on the CVB’s behalf.
“Representing the smallest city and county organization to receive this honor, we are proud to know that our strategies, processes and strong plans for future success have been recognized against those of our peers with the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau Gold Level GACVB Benchmark of Excellence Certification,“ said Grant, Board of Directors Chair for the Madison-Morgan County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Georgia Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (GACVB) picked the Madison-Morgan CVB to be designated with a Gold Level Status Certification, the highest level given by the GACVB.
“We are proud to award our member Madison-Morgan CVB with the Gold level status certification as GACVB’s eighth Benchmark of Excellence (BEC) recipient,” said Jay Markwalter, Executive Director of the GACVB. “With 112 GACVB members, Madison is a shining star in best practices in destination marketing and reinvesting visitor dollars for community promotion. As the community’s official, state-recognized destination marketing organization (DMO), the Madison-Morgan CVB under the leadership of Executive Director Ellen Sims has guided Madison to an industry-recognized level of standards, meet the extensive BECapplication criteria, and achieve this statewide recognition. The review team of state and Southeastern tourism professionals, as well as acclaimed partner the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, commend Ms. Sims and the CVB on their accomplishments, leadership, and operations in driving tourism-based economic development benefiting Madison, the region, and State of Georgia.”
Ellen Sims, former director of the Madison-Morgan CVB, has passed the torch to new director Jennifer Rosa. But before her exit, Sims always believed the CVB could reach the top.
“I am extremely proud of where we’ve been able to take this organization in just a few, short years. With accreditation requirements listed at levels of Bronze, Silver, and Gold, I had no doubt we would be able to go for the Gold, and Gold we received!” said Sims in July. “The review board was made up of tourism professionals from all over the Southeast, including the President and CEO of Southeast Tourism Society, so this is a huge honor. We are the eighth Destination Marketing Organization (and the smallest CVB) in the state to receive this accreditation, so this speaks volumes for what we have been able to accomplish.”
GACVB’s Gold Level Status signifies a CVB has reached an outstanding level of achievement and effectiveness.
“The Benchmark of Excellence Certification (BEC) program presents the opportunity for destination marketing organizations in the state of Georgia to measure their practices and achievements against a defined set of competencies which serve to increase the overall professionalism and effectiveness of the organization,” explained Markwalter. “ A CVB/DMO who decides to seek the Benchmark of Excellence Certification is enhancing their organizations leadership development, providing a direction for professional development plans, both for the organization and individuals within the organization, and recognizing their CVB/DMO exhibits industry best practices.”
According to the GACVB, “Working with a state-wide Review Board comprised of industry professionals, The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University serves as the certifying agency. Meeting the required standards earns the bureau/DMO the title of “Certification” or “Certified.” The certification process is offered exclusively to GACVB members. Certification is valid for a term of three years, terminating on the anniversary of the most recent certification. For more information about the GACVB Benchmark of Excellence Certification program, contact the GACVB at email@example.com.”