Public invited to nominate tourism leaders

New award named for Patrick Knutson to honor "legend" of tourism


Experience Olympia & Beyond, the region’s visitor and convention bureau, announced today that nominations are open for the annual Thurston County Tourism Awards. The awards recognize community members who have gone above and beyond to help champion tourism in Thurston County.

The winners will be announced at the annual State of Tourism meeting on November 18

Three awards aim to highlight people who unite the community, work tirelessly toward achieving a long-term vision and show exceptional hospitality to better the experience for visitors to Thurston County. And a new award — the Patrick Knutson Tourism Legend Award — will honor people who exemplify the characteristics of leadership, innovation and stewardship in hospitality throughout their careers.

“Our region is vibrant with travel and tourism offerings because of dedicated community members and a talented hospitality industry that has given so much to Thurston County,” said Annette Pitts, CEO of Experience Olympia & Beyond. “We look forward to honoring and recognizing the leaders and trailblazers in our community once again through this annual awards program. There is so much to celebrate as we continue to provide an exceptional visitor experience to all who make a trip to Thurston County and experience everything our destination has to offer.” 

All nominations received by Friday, November 5 will be voted on by an advisory committee made up of community stakeholders. 

The Thurston County Tourism Awards include the following:

The Community Unity Award

This award is for those who live out their belief in collaboration and regionalism, working to bring the communities of Thurston County together in the name of tourism. Nominations can be made here

The Tourism Visionary Award

This award honors a person whose continuous commitment and trailblazing accomplishments have set the stage for regional tourism. Nominations can be made here.

The Excellence in Hospitality Award

All who work in the hospitality business provide invaluable contributions to the well-being of our economy. This award honors a hospitality professional who consistently goes out of their way to make visitors feel special. Nominations can be made here.

Patrick Knutson Tourism Legend Award

This new award honors a person who has served in the hospitality industry for ten or more years and either currently resides in or has roots in Thurston County. The award winner should exemplify the characteristics of leadership, innovation and stewardship in hospitality over the nominee’s lifetime. Nominations can be made here

 Community members are encouraged to nominate qualified candidates deserving of recognition. Nominations are open through Friday, November 5 and can be submitted online at The awards will be announced at the annual State of Tourism meeting on November 18, 2021; the exact time and location will be announced in the near future. 

For more information on the 2021 Tourism Awards, please visit

The above was provided by Experience Olympia & Beyond. 


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