PHOENIX (May 18, 2009) — Visionaries look beyond the challenges of today to capture the promise of tomorrow. On May 27, the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau will recognize the City of Phoenix and Phoenix Suns officials for their visionary contributions to Arizona’s economy: completing two key downtown developments and attracting a national sports event to Phoenix in 2008-09.

The Visitor Industry Champion Awards will honor the recipients for their roles in completing the 569,000-square-foot addition to the Phoenix Convention Center and the 1,000-room Downtown Sheraton Hotel, and for their efforts to bring the NBA All-Star Game to the Phoenix in 2009.

The award ceremony will take place during the GPCVB’s annual meeting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the convention center. The meeting will feature local wines provided by the Arizona Wine Growers Association and cuisine from Aventura Catering.

“Our honorees recognized the long-term value of these investments in our economy,” said Greater Phoenix CVB President and CEO Steve Moore. “We are lucky to have leaders in the Valley who understand the importance that the visitors industry has, and will have in the future, as an economic engine pulling the economy forward. Our industry and the entire community is indebted to them for their commitments.”

Mayor Phil Gordon, City Manager Frank Fairbanks, Deputy City Manager David Krietor and the members of the City Council will accept an award for the City of Phoenix, recognizing their work on the Phoenix Convention Center and the Sheraton.

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, CEO Rick Welts and Director of Public Relations Jamie Morris Levine will join Deputy City Manager Ed Zuercher in accepting awards for their work to attract the NBA All-Star Game and its accompanying festivities.

The expansion of the convention center tripled its size, making it one of the 20 largest convention centers in North America and enabling Phoenix to compete for larger national conventions. Both international and U.S. attendees have praised the new facility as state of the art.

The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, located a block from the expanded convention center, added much-needed downtown hotel rooms to attract larger conventions. The timing of its opening, to complement the convention center’s expansion, showed that “our city leaders ‘get it,’ ” Moore said.

“They knew that to be successful we needed not only the additional meeting space but additional hotel rooms to accommodate the increase in convention attendees, and they made it happen,” he explained.

Moore said the Phoenix Suns’ leaders worked with city officials to bring the NBA All-Star events to Phoenix in February, providing Phoenix a “much-needed economic boost in this difficult economic time.” The event brought more than $35 million in direct spending to the local economy and attracted thousands of people to downtown Phoenix.

The Greater Phoenix CVB is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to marketing metropolitan Phoenix as a visitor destination. The CVB’s annual meeting provides its stakeholders a forum to discuss industry trends and challenges, network with peers, and celebrate the attributes that make Greater Phoenix one of the top vacation and meetings destinations in the nation.

Sponsors of the 2009 Greater Phoenix CVB Annual Meeting include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, the Phoenix Convention Center, E B. Lane, Madden Media, Southwest Airlines, Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, Aventura, The Arizona Republic, Bryan Cave and Ollie the Trolley. Ticket information can be found at