Visit Grand Prairie Brings Home Gene Phillips Hospitality Award

Published on April 19, 2024

Sara and Cathy

The Texas Department of Transportation’s Travel Information Division is pleased to announce that Sara Dedeluk and Cathy Raymond of Visit Grand Prairie are the winners of the 2024 Gene Phillips Hospitality Award. The award will be presented on April 18, 2024 at a ceremony during the annual Texas Travel Counselors Conference, held in Abilene this year by the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Texas Travel Alliance, and TxDOT. The award recognizes the winners’ career and dedication to the Texas tourism industry, as well as their outstanding support of TxDOT’s Travel Information Centers and the state’s $91.7 billion travel industry.

“We are incredibly lucky to have Sara and Cathy as tourism partners,” said Joan Henderson, Director of the Travel Information Division at TxDOT. “They are active partners with the Travel Information Centers, a treasure for the city of Grand Prairie, and important members of the Texas tourism industry as a whole. It’s an honor to present them with this well-deserved award!”

Dedeluk and Raymond are well-known in the Texas tourism industry, taking every opportunity to represent and promote Grand Prairie through trade shows, FAM tours, conferences, and other industry events. They are active members of the Texas Travel Alliance, Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus, and the Texas Lakes Trail, among others, and maintain active partnerships with other cities for co-promotion across Texas. They are a regular presence at Travel Information Center events, and never miss the Texas Travel Counselors Conference and Texas Travel Expo, where they even provide snacks for the bus tours. Additionally, they host regular FAM tours of Grand Prairie. Attendees include Texas travel counselors and also local hospitality staff, helping further promote the city to all the visitors these employees serve.  Grand Prairie even partnered with other Metroplex cities during Covid to create a video series called the So Metro Staycation, helping to ensure continued economic benefit to the region. Dedeluk and Raymond’s passion for travel and tourism shines through in their work, from the gift shop full of local treasures at the Grand Prairie Tourist Information Center to the flourishing arts scenes under Grand Prairie’s Music Friendly and Film Friendly Texas Certified Community designations.

The Gene Phillips Hospitality Award is named in honor of the late Gene Phillips, who managed Aquarena Springs in San Marcos and was an influential, driving force in the emerging tourism industry during the 1970s. Each year the award is presented by TxDOT Travel Information Division staff and recognizes one person for his or her outstanding accomplishments within the Texas travel and tourism industry.

This year’s conference will also recognize the 2024 Lone Star and Roadrunner award winners, who will be announced at the awards program on April 18.