Local state Rep. Davis named ‘Tourism Champion’

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NC District 19 House Rep Ted Davis receives the Tourism Champion Award from New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority President and CEO Kim Hufham. Courtesy photo.
NC District 19 House Rep Ted Davis receives the Tourism Champion Award from New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority President and CEO Kim Hufham. Courtesy photo.

N.C. House of Representatives member Ted Davis, who represents the parts of New Hanover County in District 19, has been awarded the inaugural Tourism Champion Award from the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition.

“We very much appreciate Rep. Davis’s commitment to protecting and helping to grow tourism, North Carolina’s second-largest industry,” said Rolf Blizzard, the Coalition’s chairman and vice president of Turnpike Properties in Winston-Salem. “Ted is one of our industry’s greatest champions, and we’re pleased to present him this well-earned award.”

Davis, a Republican who has been in office since 2012 and is up for re-election in 2016, chairs the House’s Occupancy Tax Subcommittee, which falls under the governing body’s Finance Committee. Occupancy taxes are used by local governments to fund travel and tourism. In New Hanover County they are especially important as they also go toward coastal storm damage reduction projects, also known as beach nourishment.

“Rep. Davis gets it, and we want him to know how much we appreciate his leadership,” Blizzard said.

The award was recently presented to Davis at a luncheon hosted locally by the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is a member of the coalition that gave Davis the honor.

“I would like to thank Rep. Davis for his leadership and support of tourism,” said New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority President and CEO Kim Hufham. “We are grateful to Rep. Davis for his commitment and service.”

The North Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition is a private, non-profit trade association that operates separate from the state’s Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development under the Department of Commerce. The organization, formed in 1991, has members from municipal visitors bureaus from across the state as well as representatives from hospitality and sports organizations.

With their new Tourism Champion Award, the group is hoping to raise public awareness of the importance of the state’s $21 billion and growing travel industry. According to the coalition, tourism is one of the main job creators in the state, generates over $3 billion in taxes and was the only sector of North Carolina’s economy that grew during the Great Recession.