GRANTS PASS – City of Grants Pass Information Coordinator Steven Sabel was recently honored by the state of Oregon with a 2020 Travel and Tourism Industry Achievement Award as the Rising Star of the Southern Oregon region. The award was presented to Sabel at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Portland June 15.
The Rising Star Award is presented to individuals who have shown “leadership, commitment, and a passion for Oregon’s tourism industry,” said Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson.
Sabel, who has an extensive background in public relations and marketing, was asked to assist the city with maintaining active tourism promotion activities beginning July1, 2020, after the city’s destination marketing contractor resigned.
Over the past year, he has been operating the tourism promotions division while the city has pursued supporting the creation of a new, nonprofit destination marketing organization.
“Steven accepted the challenge,” said Petra Hackworth, vice president of Global Sales for Travel Oregon.
Hackworth said Sabel was selected for the Tourism Achievement Award for demonstrating excellence in tourism marketing through a global pandemic that imposed unprecedented challenges.
“He helped overhaul the Travel Grants Pass website, established a consistent brand, instituted social media campaigns, and devised promotional campaigns to support the city’s Welcome Center,” said Hackworth.
“His efforts have led to unprecedented web exposure and traffic, and increased visitation,” she said.
Sabel was one of seven Rising Star Award recipients. Each award-winner represented a different Oregon state tourism region.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized and included in the company of the other rising stars throughout the state,” said Sabel.
In accepting his award, Sabel thanked City Manager Aaron Cubic and City Recorder Karen Frerk for trusting in his experience and abilities to fulfill the needs of the tourism operations division over the past year. He also thanked his colleagues in various divisions and departments at City Hall who have supported tourism promotion activities, as well as the employees of the downtown Welcome Center.
“They are truly the frontline of Travel Grants Pass,” Sabel said.
Sabel also brought attention to the local content contributors and creators who helped generate content for use across the Travel Grants Pass website and social media platforms, and he thanked local Grants Pass businesses and their employees for staying open “as much as possible, whenever possible throughout changing restrictions and conditions all year long.”
“They truly have made Grants Pass what Expedia calls one of the 20 friendliest cities in America,” said Sabel.
“It has been my great pleasure to be the representative of Travel Grants Pass and the Grants Pass community as the true hub of Southern Oregon,” he said.