It’s no secret that Santa Monica has an exceptional hospitality industry. In fact, tourism is a way of life for many of us who call the city home – the industry supports 12,600 local jobs that cannot be exported. To recognize the impact of local hospitality leaders and innovators, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) recognized several members of the community with annual awards during our 10th annual tourism summit.

The Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park received the Jeff King Santa Monica Tourism Champion of the Year award. This award honors an individual or organization who demonstrates creativity and leadership while fostering the positive experience of residents, visitors and Santa Monica community pride.

The Santa Monica Pier, celebrating its 110th birthday this year, is looked after and nourished by the Santa Monica Pier corporation. 2018 was a year of big changes at this community treasure – from new leadership to reimagined events, the Pier corporation successfully ushered in a fresh wave of culturally significant programs — from holiday activations and a festival-style format of the beloved Twilight concert series to the upcoming SaMo Pride celebrations, these innovative programs attract and excite the millions of people who visit our pier each year.

Pacific Park is the family place to play on the Santa Monica Pier, offering fun for all with rides, midway games, food and seaside shopping. The Pacific Wheel is the world’s first solar powered Ferris wheel and has quickly become an icon of its own with light displays that celebrate the seasons and generate excitement for local events. A long time champion of local causes, the team at Pacific Park is always eager to support community events and partner for the many initiatives that make Santa Monica so special.

Barbara Moss, Banquet Manager with Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows was awarded the Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award during the Summit for her exceptional service in the hospitality industry. Born in Santa Monica, Moss has served in her role with the hotel for nearly 30 years and is responsible for planning, orchestrating and executing the operation end of convention and social events.

“I love what I do,” said Moss on her passion for her role and the tourism industry. “It invigorates me, it gives me the energy that I need to wake up and be excited about having another day.”

A collaboration between SMTT and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, this annual award is given in the spirit of Thelma Parks, a passionate member of the community who served the tourism for 23 years. Moss was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a Santa Monica staycation, provided by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and SMTT. To learn more about the Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award and to submit nominations, visit

Congratulations to these outstanding members of the tourism community, who positively contribute to making Santa Monica such an exceptional place to live, work and play!

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