Munford to receive Governor's Award for Tourism Excellence
Later this month, Troy Munford of Bethel will receive the Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence for his work in bringing dozens of bus and other group tours to the Bethel area and other parts of Maine.
Munford, the tour & travel sales manager for Sunday River and Sugarloaf resorts, will be recognized at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.
His selection was confirmed last week by Sunday River spokesman Darcy Morse.
He was nominated by Bethel-area businesses that benefited from his work, including Bethel Outdoor Adventures and Maine Mineralogy Expeditions, as well as Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association and Sunday River President/General Manager Dana Bullen.
The criteria for the award notes that tourism excellence “is a combination of all that epitomizes a true hospitality leader. The attributes of the nominee can include a commitment to the tourism industry through creative and successful marketing and promotional efforts, leadership, growth and innovation.”
“It is a real honor to receive this award,” Munford said last week.
A Saco native who has worked at Sunday River since 2004, he handles all of tour operator business for the resort, ranging from day bus trips coming to United Kingdom student groups. For Sugarloaf, he handles international tour operator business.
In addition, said Munford, “I also call on travel companies that run bus trips to New England, typically seniors in the spring and fall, and inform them as to what the Bethel Area and the Western Maine Mountains have to offer. A big focus is getting the word out as to what a great place Bethel is year round and not only in the winter season. I have been working closely with many businesses in the area to create experiences that are truly unique to our area. Rather than get a bigger piece of the pie, my aim is to make the pie bigger.”
Those efforts for 2012 prompted his nomination by Seabury Lyon of Maine Mineralogy Expeditions.
“Troy proposed that we target bus tourism, focused on marketing our mineral sluice and guided tours to the famous Bumpus Mine,” Lyon wrote in his nomination letter. “He and members of his staff visited our facilities and we built and invested in an ambitious plan to bring it all to reality in the spring of 2012. We scheduled nine bus tours that first year as an experiment to prove viability. We achieved all goals to the great satisfaction of Sunday River, the bus tour operators, MME and most importantly, hundreds of satisfied visitors.
“With that success we invested in further improvements and are now scheduled to more than double the volume in 2013 and include features found locally, including dining, shopping, the grand new Maine Mineral & Gem Museum - all tailored to meet the needs of bus tour visitors to our truly unique and beautiful region.”
Jeff Parsons of Bethel Outdoor Adventures said that Munford “saw the value of Bethel in summer months and promoted to a wider audience, including bus and tour groups.”
Sweetser said in his letter that Munford brings “well over 100 groups to Maine each year. He is the reason Sunday River’s North American Wife Carrying Championship has been listed on the American Bus Association’s top 100 destinations, an honor reserved for such events as the Rose Bowl and Mardi Gras.”
Bullen said that Munford had increased bus business for Sunday River by 400 percent, “but he has also helped to grow awareness of the Bethel area and State of Maine as a whole.”
Before working at Sunday River, Munford operated a travel agency in Sudbury, Mass. He is also a member of the Maine Motorcoach Network, where he serves on the Executive Board.
There are three other, more specific awards that will be presented at the Jan. 31 Samoset conference: marketing and promotion; leadership and growth; and innovation and creativity.