Mark Thompson, Executive Director of Visit Plano, received the Texas Association of Convention and Visitor Bureau’s (TACVB) prestigious Marion Szurek Legacy Award at the organization’s recent annual conference and awards luncheon in Denton, Texas.
Visit Plano also brought home first place in Tourism Promotion for its Plano Insiders blog, first place in Local Awareness for its Influencer Social Media Takeovers on Instagram, and first in National Travel & Tourism Week for its Happy in Plano campaign. In addition, Visit Plano took home second place in Video for That’s Tempting, and a Judges’ Choice award for National Travel & Tourism Week. At the luncheon, Blaire Zahn, Visit Plano’s SMERF & Government Sales Manager, received her TDM (Texas Destination Marketer designation).
The Marion Szurek Legacy Award, named for the late Texas travel visionary who helmed the San Angelo CVB for many years, is presented annually to an individual who has helped shape the success of the tourism industry in Texas and personifies legacy, vision, inspiration, leadership, professionalism and hospitality.
Mark Thompson has been Executive Director of Visit Plano since 1998 and served as the TACVB’s Board Chair in 2006-2007. In fall of 2020 he will begin an unprecedented second term in that role, “which alone speaks volumes for the respect he has received from his colleagues in the industry,” said Diann Bayes, Vice President of Discover San Angelo, who presented Thompson’s award.
Thompson began his Texas tourism career at the Tyler CVB in the mid 80’s, continuing at the South Padre Island CVB in the 90’s before joining Visit Plano. In 2015, he received his certification in Destination Management from Destinations International (DI) and he is also a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). Mark is an active member in the National Tourism Association (NTA), Meeting Processionals International (MPI), Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE), and the American Bus Association (ABA). He has also been an instrumental player in organizing activities for Team Texas, particularly for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
Thompson has been a tourism leader not only in Texas but also nationally He is past chair of the Dallas Fort Worth Area Tourism Council and a past board member for the Texas Travel Industry Association. He has served on the Destination & Travel Foundation Board of Trustees, co-chaired the CDME Task Force, and served on the Destinations International Education Committee and the Business Intelligent Task Force. Mark is also currently serving on the board for VisitDFW.
His peers have recognized him both with TTIA’s Tall in Texas Award and the Mark of Distinction Award for the lasting effect he has had on the industry, his commitment, and industry participation, and has demonstrated team work and leadership. “Mark is a true leader, outstanding mentor, and great visionary for Texas travel & tourism,” said Bayes.
Congratulations to our amazing leader, Mr. Mark Thompson!