Help us find the GRIT!

Our staff at the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau is rolling out the annual awards ceremony to recognize the brightest stars of Fort Smith’s growing tourism industry. On April 24, 2014 at the MovieLounge, the Fort Smith CVB will host an event announcing the businesses, organizations and individuals who have won this year’s GRIT awards—that’s GRIT, short for Giving Recognition In Tourism.

We know our community is saturated with excellence and with people working in creative and tireless ways to bring more visitors into our city and to ensure those visitors have a great time here. We believe something so important to Fort Smith’s future shouldn’t be a thankless job. These GRIT Awards are our way of publicly saying thanks to the people who have most earned our local tourism community’s respect and gratitude.

Before we can announce any winners, though, we need YOUR help selecting nominees to become finalists! You are the people in the trenches who see the people, attractions, restaurants and lodging establishments that are going above and beyond to promote Fort Smith as a destination. We are depending on you to submit nominations for our local stars that are breaking new ground in tourism in each of the following categories.

Finalists will be chosen by a committee of A&P staff from nominations received in the following categories:

Fort Smith GRIT Award: Restaurant Partner of the Year
Must be a restaurant or caterer located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Must meet SOME or ALL of the following criteria:

  • Shows community involvement
  • Positively promotes Fort Smith
  • Demonstrates pride in Fort Smith heritage
  • Delivers quality service to visitors, tourists and convention groups
  • May occupy a unique niche as a tourist destination itself

Fort Smith GRIT Award: Lodging Partner of the Year
Must be a hotel, motel, or Bed & Breakfast located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Must meet SOME or ALL of the following criteria:

  • Proactively draws people to Fort Smith through innovative custom sales and outreach
  • Shows community involvement
  • Positively promotes Fort Smith
  • Demonstrates pride in Fort Smith heritage
  • Delivers quality service to visitors, tourists and convention groups

Fort Smith GRIT Award: Attraction Partner of the Year Must be a tourist attraction located IN OR NEAR Fort Smith. Attractions in the immediately surrounding area including Eastern Oklahoma ARE eligible for this award. Must meet SOME or ALL of the following criteria:

  • Has events to promote themselves and Fort Smith
  • Continually improves and refreshes facilities, programs, or exhibits to create an exciting experience for visitors
  • Shows community involvement
  • Positively promotes Fort Smith
  • Demonstrates pride in Fort Smith heritage
  • Delivers quality service to visitors, tourists and convention groups

Fort Smith GRIT Award: Business Partner of the Year
Must be a business or corporation located in Fort Smith. Must meet SOME or ALL of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrates vision and leadership in the community regarding Fort Smith’s tourism future
  • Seeks opportunities to engage and support the Fort Smith tourism community
  • Positively promotes and represents Fort Smith
  • Demonstrates pride in Fort Smith heritage
  • Delivers quality service to visitors, tourists and convention groups

Fort Smith GRIT Award: Polly Crews Hospitality Person of the Year
Must meet SOME or ALL of the following criteria:

  • Individual who goes above and beyond to positively promote Fort Smith locally and beyond
  • Demonstrates pride in Fort Smith heritage
  • Demonstrates vision and leadership in the community regarding Fort Smith’s tourism future
  • Seeks opportunities to engage and support the Fort Smith tourism community

At the ceremony, we will also again recognize the past year’s Hometown Hospitality Heroes, who previously have been highlighted by the Fort Smith CVB in the City of Fort Smith’s Fast Focus e-newsletter and on our blog. Selected by the CVB staff, Hometown Hospitality Heroes are those local citizens who have worked with the Convention & Visitors Bureau to invite and host a large group of visitors in the Fort Smith area for a tournament, convention or special event.

The Not-So-Fine Print: How to Nominate Someone for a Fort Smith GRIT Award:

  • Nominations are due in writing by Friday, March 21 to the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau by e-mail, mail, fax or delivery in person to Miss Laura’s Visitor Center at 2 North B Street. Nominations are not accepted verbally or by phone.
  • To nominate finalists, simply write the GRIT Awards Selection Committee a description of why you believe this person or organization has earned recognition for their work supporting Fort Smith tourism. Supporting documentation/evidence of the nominee’s work in tourism may be submitted, but is not required.
  • Qualifying work must have taken place during the period from January 1, 2013 to March 21, 2014.

We know you’ve probably got someone in mind already in at least one of these categories. Why don’t you go ahead and shoot us an e-mail (tourism@fortsmith.org) with GRIT Awards in the subject line and tell us how awesome that someone is? Nominations may be also submitted online at fortsmithcvb.wordpress.com and facebook.com/ExperienceFortSmith or mailed to Miss Laura’s Visitor Center at 2 North B Street, Fort Smith, AR 72901.

Don’t forget! It’s always a good time to say thank-you, but we need all nominations by Friday, March 21, 2014.

Stay tuned in early April for the announcement of GRIT Awards finalists and details on how to get tickets for the awards ceremony Thursday, April 24 at MovieLounge. It’s going to be an incredible event!

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