Photo caption: TTIA President & CEO Dan Decker with TTIA 2018-2019 Board Chair Brandon Steinmann, Terri Harmon, Visit Granbury Sales Manager Granbury, TX and Alpine, TX accepting their 2019 TTIA Best of Rural and Small Towns Award at the 2019 Texas Travel Summit in Fort Worth, TX.

2019 Texas Travel Summit / TTIA Board Awards Best of Rural & Small Towns

The Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) hosted the 34th Annual Texas Travel Summit, in Fort Worth, September 23-25, 2019.

In between engaging and exciting keynote speakers and education breakout sessions, conference attendees celebrated the best of Texas as determined by the TTIA Board of Directors. Board Awards were given in the following categories:

2019 TTIA 4 Under 40: Jessica Christopherson, Visit Fort Worth; Bryan Crowe, Destination El Paso; Rachel Rotella, Ripley’s Entertainment Inc.; Jake Sillivan, Visit Frisco

2019 TTIA Texas Benchmark of Hospitality: Philett Carter, San Luis Resort and Landry’s Inc.

2019 TTIA Honorary Texan: Neville Bhada, Tourism Skills Group (Atlanta, GA)

2019 TTIA Best of Rural & Small Towns: Alpine, TX; Granbury, TX; Rockport, TX

2019 TTIA 86th Texas Legislative Session Outstanding TTIA Advocate(s): Davis Phillips, Phillips Entertainment; Dan Quandt, Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council

2018- 2019 TTIA Engaged & Supporting Board Member: Al DeBerry, The Hotel Association

The TTIA 4 Under 40 Awards are presented to young professionals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to the Texas Travel Industry in 2019.

The TTIA Texas Benchmark of Hospitality Award is presented to an individual for their commitment to providing excellence in hospitality and raising the bar on customer service in 2019.

The TTIA Honorary Texan Award is presented to an "Honorary Texan" for supporting the Texas Travel Industry in 2019.

The TTIA Best of Rural & Small Towns Awards are presented to three of Texas' outstanding rural and small-town destinations in 2019.

The TTIA 86th Texas Legislative Session Outstanding Advocate Award(s) are presented to an outstanding advocate(s) for the Texas Travel Industry during the 86th Texas Legislative Session.

The 2018-2019 TTIA Engaged & Supporting Board Member Award is presented to an active and engaged supporter of TTIA in 2019, as defined by the staff.

The following awards presented annually were given to the following:

Rising Star Award: Whendoling Dominguez, Westin Houston Downtown

Tall in Texas Award: Jim Petrick, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Lifetime Achievement Award: David Teel, TTIA President Emeritus

Heritage Award: Natural Bridge Caverns, Inc.

The Rising Star Award Presented by Southwest Airlines is awarded to a young professional in the Texas Travel & Tourism Industry who is recognized for their accomplishments, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to the industry and TTIA.

The Tall in Texas Award is presented to an individual nominated from the membership for their outstanding contributions to the Texas Travel and Tourism Industry and to TTIA.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was created to honor an individual who has dedicated his or her life to the betterment of Texas Travel and Tourism through a body of work over many years and whose dedication has made a lasting and important contribution to the industry.

The Heritage Award recognizes and honors outstanding businesses and organizations that have enriched the heritage of and made a lasting, positive imprint on the Texas Travel Industry by demonstrating a history of exceptional achievement, exemplary business practices, innovative corporate culture, and a commitment of excellence to their customers and their community.

TTIA’s Annual Texas Travel Summit was held in Fort Worth, TX at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel, September 23-25, 2019.  Approximately 400 Travel Industry professionals from across the state attended the 34th Annual Conference.


TTIA is a non-profit organization made up of businesses, organizations, associations and individuals dedicated to making Life Better in a State of Travel. TTIA’s mission is to unify and develop industry leadership that will support and influence the growth of Texas travel and tourism. For more information about the Texas Travel Industry Association, visit or contact the office in Austin at (512) 328-8842.