(Greater Palm Springs, CA) – May 12, 2017 – With nearly 700 in attendance, the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) honored members of the local hospitality industry at the 2017 Oasis Awards Wednesday at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California.

The Oasis Awards is held during National Travel and Tourism Week and California Tourism Month.  Awards were presented to front-of-house and back-of-house staff from each of the nine cities in Greater Palm Springs.  Four major awards for recognition in Partnership, Sustainability, Destination Excellence and Dedication were also presented.  CVB President and CEO Scott White presented the Spirit of Tourism Award to long-time hotelier Tim Ellis, General Manager of the Palm Mountain Resort & Spa, for his continued dedication through the years which has positively impacted Greater Palm Springs tourism.

Five students from the Coachella Valley High School Hospitality Academy were awarded 2017 CVB Scholarships in the amount of $1200.  A special recognition of leadership was presented to Coachella Valley High School Hospitality Program Director Dennis Mendonca for his 30 years as the lead Hospitality Academy teacher.

Mayor Linda Evans, Chair of the Joint Powers Authority Executive Committee shared the importance of tourism to not only Greater Palm Springs, but the U.S. economy:  

  • The Travel Industry supports 15.1 million American workers. In Greater Palm Springs, the travel industry provides nearly 50,000 jobs with a total income of $1.5 billion. 
  • One in every 9 American jobs depends on travel. In Greater Palm Springs, 1 in every 4 jobs depends on the travel industry.
  • Travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy or $1.8 million a minute. In Greater Palm Springs, tourism generates $6.4 billion in business sales each year.
  • Travel contributes more than $141.5 billion to the federal, state and local tax base. In Greater Palm Springs, tourism generates $952 million in tax revenue, including $538 million in state and local revenues.
  • Each household in Greater Palm Springs would need to be taxed an additional $3,561 to maintain the current level of government services without tourism.

Tom Tabler, Chair of the CVB Board of Directors spoke of the continued growth of tourism in the Coachella Valley.  Tabler stated that more than 1,500 new rooms will be added over the next few years.  In addition, many multi-million dollar renovations and new brands demonstrate the confidence of area hoteliers in the future of tourism in Greater Palm Springs.

Patrick Evans, Chief meteorologist for CBS Local 2 emceed the event with the CVB’s Wander List host Anndee Laskoe.

National Travel and Tourism Week
National Travel and Tourism Week—May 7-13—is an annual tradition for the U.S. travel community, established by a congressional resolution in 1983 and first observed the following year. It’s a time when travel and tourism professionals across the country unite to celebrate the unique value travel holds for our economy, businesses and personal well-being.

California Tourism Month
Visit California is working alongside hundreds of travel and tourism leaders nationwide to champion travel as a revenue generator and job provider as part of 2017 National Travel and Tourism Week. Projected 2016 numbers show California's travel and tourism industry generated $10.3 billion in state and local tax revenue on $126.3 billion in spending which supported 1.096 million jobs for Californians.

Oasis Awards
The Greater Palm Springs CVB’s Oasis Awards is a concerted effort to demonstrate travel's positive impact on local workers, businesses, economies and, of course, the personal lives of visitors. The goal is to unite the area’s travel community with its supporters and publicly represent the importance of travel to elected officials, local residents and media as an economic driver for Greater Palm Springs.

Follow Greater Palm Springs CVB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Greater Palm Springs CVB Media Contact:
Joyce Kiehl

Nicky Faeth


2017 Hospitality Award
Recognition of Service Excellence


BACK OF HOUSE:         Jeri Tovar, Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel
FRONTLINE:                   Rick Fraley, Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism

BACK OF HOUSE:         Kathy Stuart, Living Waters Clothing-Optional Mineral Water Spa Resort
FRONTLINE:                   Maria Lease, THE SPRING Resort & Spa

BACK OF HOUSE:         Juan Carlos Vera, DoubleTree by Hilton Golf Resort Palm Springs
FRONTLINE:                   Yessica Puga, DoubleTree by Hilton Golf Resort Palm Springs

BACK OF HOUSE:         Christine Conroy, The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
FRONTLINE:                   Barbara Popaluca, The Spa at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa

PALM DESERT               
BACK OF HOUSE:         Juan Diaz, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
FRONTLINE:                   Sarah Joseph, Marriott Desert Springs Villas

BACK OF HOUSE:         Luis Moreno, Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
FRONTLINE:                   Marilyn Whittington, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa

LA QUINTA                  
BACK OF HOUSE:         Housemen Team: Francisco Gutierrez, Armando Moreno, Jesus Robles
                                       Embassy Suites La Quinta Hotel & Spa
FRONTLINE:                   Chris George, La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST,
                                       a Waldorf Astoria Resort

BACK OF HOUSE:         May H. Kitagawa, Shields Date Garden
FRONTLINE:                   Saliya Wijeyamanne, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

BACK OF HOUSE:         Bob Barnes, Spotlight 29 Casino
FRONTLINE:                   Josefina Frias De Castro, Augustine Casino


2017 Oasis Award Recipients

Palm Award | Recognition of Partnership
Raquel Wood, The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
El Paseo Business Improvement District Association

Oasis Award | Recognition of Sustainability
Killer Bee Removal
Savoury’s Catering

Santa Rosa Award | Recognition of Excellence
Barb & Ken Smith
ACCESS Destination Services

San Jacinto Award | Recognition of Dedication
Desert X

Legacy Award
Jeanette Moore

Spirit of Tourism Award
Tim Ellis

Recognition of Leadership
Dennis Mendonca, Coachella Valley High School Hospitality Program Director