Greater Palm Springs Tourism and Hospitality Industry Honored at Champions of Hospitality Gala
Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke Honored with Spirit of Tourism Award for work with Acrisure Arena
(Greater Palm Springs, CA) October 31, 2023 – More than 650 hospitality professionals, students and their families from across the Coachella Valley gathered to celebrate the spirit of Greater Palm Springs tourism at the annual Champions of Hospitality Gala held yesterday at Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells. The event presented by Visit Greater Palm Springs was an opportunity to unite Greater Palm Springs’ hospitality community and highlight the positive impact tourism employees have on local businesses and visitors.
While the Champions of Hospitality Awards Gala celebrates the individuals and organizations that embody the innovative spirit of the local tourism and hospitality industry, the event also serves as a fundraising vehicle for the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation, raising more than $90,000 through sponsorships, silent auction and donations. At the event, the Greater Palm Springs Tourism Foundation awarded $24,000 in scholarships to four college students from across the Coachella Valley and five seniors from Coachella Valley High School’s Hospitality Academy.
NBC Palm Springs morning anchor Thalia Hayden and Telemundo 15 news anchor and reporter Hernan Quintas emceed the Awards, which drew more than 175 nominations across a variety of categories. Twenty individuals were recognized with the Hospitality Award for enriching the overall visitor experience by providing exceptional customer service and hospitality. Special recognition was made to seven individuals considered to be rising stars in the local tourism industry with the San Jacinto Rising Star Award.
The Palm Award was presented to five individuals/organizations who elevate the Greater Palm Springs brand and inspire more visitors to the destination by consistently ensuring extremely high-quality guest services, unique experiences, or customer value.
Two special awards were made to recognize those making a significant impact in the areas of Sustainability and Diversity. The City of La Quinta was the recipient of the Oasis Award for Sustainability for its program of working with every dining establishment in the city on composting. Nathan Kelleher, Guest Relations and Club Lounge Manager at The Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage, was presented the Santa Rosa Diversity Award for developing programs that support the LGBTQ+ community in the hospitality industry in the Coachella Valley.
The culminating award of the event, the Spirit of Tourism Award, was presented to Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group/Acrisure Arena, to recognize his embodiment of the spirit of tourism in the valley and his diligent work to move the overall industry forward in both actions and spirit. Paul Tollett, CEO & President of Goldenvoice and 2018 Spirit of Tourism winner, made the presentation.
Acrisure Arena is proud of our Hospitality Award recipient, Jessica Gonzales. The Hospitality Award is awarded for enriching the overall visitor experience by providing exceptional customer service and hospitality.