Tourism Steward of the Year. 

 The Catalina Island Conservancy’s rich heritage as a steward of 88% of the island’s land and over 60 endemic species won them a prize at this year’s CalTravel Summit Annual Awards.  The Tourism Steward of the Year Award is given to the individual or organization that has done the most to protect, preserve, improve, expand or otherwise enhance California’s natural, cultural, or historical treasures.

As one of the oldest land trusts in California, the Catalina Island Conservancy is an independent charity formed in 1972 to protect and restore the natural and cultural resources of Santa Catalina Island, and to make them available for public recreation, education, and enjoyment.  Conservation efforts, scientific research, and educational outreach persist while welcoming more than one million visitors a year.

Among the reasons for being awarded was a comprehensive plan for a sustainable master trails system including the recent expansion of 27 miles of new and enhanced trails offering hikers, bikers and campers opportunities to traverse short loops or the complete Trans-Catalina Trail at over 38 miles.  All combined there are over 165 miles of recreational trails and roads now available for visitors to enjoy.  Also important to the win is the Conservancy’s Imagine Catalina Strategic Vision that includes the Trailhead Center in Avalon, currently under construction.

Other awards given at the CalTravel Summit included Senator Toni Atkins for Excellence in Tourism Advocacy, Chef Brian Malarkey as Culinary Champion of the Year, Paradise Ridge as Winery of the Year, Modern Times as Brewery of the Year, California Historical Society as Cultural Tourism Champion, Fashion Island as Retailer of the Year and John Poimiroo for the F. Norman Clark Tourism Champion of the Year.

The Tourism Steward of the Year Award was sponsored by Visit Newport Beach, Inc., and the nomination of the Conservancy was made by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.

Emerging Leader Award

Another awardee honored at the event was Amanda Bombard of Catalina Express who was named one of California Tourism’s Emerging Leaders, 30 years old and younger, who have contributed at a high level, through their individual efforts, to the promotion of travel and tourism in California.

Bombard is a Junior Marketing Manager where she manages the company’s social media channels and consumer-facing review sites. She works closely with media to coordinate opportunities to showcase the ferry service along with Catalina Island in movies and television such as Netflix and Travel Channel. Amanda also assists with the company’s content strategy for external communications.