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2023 Tourism Hall of Fame Inductees and Tourism Stars

Current Award Winners

The Denver & Colorado Tourism Industry Hall of Fame was created to recognize outstanding individuals who through their leadership, dedication and professionalism have made significant contributions to the tourism industry in Denver and Colorado.

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

2023 Tourism Stars

Past Inductees

The Denver & Colorado Travel Industry Hall of Fame was created to recognize outstanding…

Past Tourism Stars

“Tourism Star” awards are presented to organizations and attractions that had a…

2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

Frank DayFrank Day

Founder of Concept Restaurants 

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From founding the Old Chicago pizzeria chain to revitalizing the Hotel Boulderado, 90-year-old Frank Day has been operating restaurants for more than 50 years—and he isn’t slowing down. Over his five-decade-long career, he has operated more than 80 hospitality businesses—including Denver’s Stout Street Social across from the Colorado Convention Center and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on the 16th Street Mall. In September 2022 at the age of 90, he opened a Boulder brewpub, Boulder Social.  Day made his foray into the Colorado food scene in 1972 with the legendary Walrus, a basement restaurant which served University of Colorado Boulder students for 46 years before closing in 2018. He opened his first Old Chicago pizzeria in 1976 and in 1980 took over the Victorian-style Hotel Boulderado. In 1990, he opened the first brewpub in Boulder, followed by the first Rock Bottom in Denver in 1991, and the first ChopHouse & Brewery in 1995, both of which developed into national chains. It is difficult to remember how revolutionary craft breweries were in the early 1990s, and Day helped establish Colorado as the craft brewing center of the nation. In 2019, Day and his wife Gina donated $1 million to Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Hospitality Program. From his hotel projects, many restaurants and philantropy, Day made a significant impact on Denver and Colorado tourism.

Bill Mosher, Tourism Hall of FameBill Mosher

CEO of the Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority

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Bill Mosher has served as CEO of the Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority since its inception in 2002. The non-profit Authority financed, designed, constructed, furnished and owns the 1,100-room Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, which opened in December 2005. Mosher currently oversees Hyatt's operations on behalf of the Authority, including overseeing an upcoming major room renovation. Recently, at the end of 2023, Mosher retired from Trammell Crow Company, which he joined in 2006. He oversaw TCC’s development and investment activities in Colorado, including leading the Denver Union Station Project Authority through the development of the Denver Union Station project, the Denver Water Operations Complex Redevelopment, as well as numerous industrial, office, retail, residential and healthcare related projects across the Front Range.  Mosher served as President of the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) from 1990-1999, a significant period in the Denver’s history which saw the opening of the Colorado Convention Center, Coors Field, Denver International Airport and Elitch Gardens. At DDP, he helped guide Downtown Denver’s rebirth by advocating, planning, managing, promoting and developing central Denver, including forming the Business Improvement District (BID) and initiating a downtown housing development strategy culminating in redevelopment plans for the Central Platte Valley.  A native of Denver, Mosher has more than 45 years of experience in both the public and private sectors that have helped transform the city into a major international tourism destination. 

Wilma Webb, Tourism Hall of FameWilma Webb

Former Colorado State Representative Wilma Webb

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As First Lady of Denver during the tenure of her husband, Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb from 1991-2003, Wilma Webb brought a new level of appreciation for the arts to Denver.  The book she inspired, Denver’s Confluence of the Arts, has been recognized as an important tool in expanding people’s perception of the myriad of resources within Denver’s art world.  With her advocacy, additions to Denver’s Art Collection include Borovsky’s The Dancers, and Fernando Botero’s Man and Woman.  Webb devoted her life to public service as a Colorado State Representative for thirteen years, fighting for four years for the State of Colorado to adopt the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  Her efforts to promote the arts resulted in the creation of the Denver Art, Culture, and Film Foundation in 1994.  In 1998, Webb became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Department of Labor as the primary official for Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.  Webb has traveled widely in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa promoting Denver and the arts.  Her education includes the University of Colorado Denver and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.  She has been honored with several national and statewide commendations, including the National Education Association’s Carter G. Woodson Award for Human and Civil Rights, The Association for Retarded Citizens Legislator of the Year Award, and the Colorado Banking Association’s Political Award.  A tireless promoter of the arts, Webb was instrumental in establishing Denver as the arts capitol of the Rocky Mountain West and as one of America’s great arts centers.

Steve Sander, Tourism Hall of FameSteve Sander

Denver Marketing Legend (POSTHUMOUS AWARD)

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Steve Sander (known to those who met him as “Sander”) left a legacy in shaping the Mile High City’s image, both around the world and through the thousands of people he touched, befriended and helped. Working closely with four Denver mayors and as a decades-long member of the VISIT DENVER Board, he played a crucial role in the history of Denver tourism and marketing. Current U.S. Senator and former Mayor of Denver John Hickenlooper hired Sander from 2008-2012 to be Denver’s Strategic Marketing Director. “He may not have been an elected official, he may not have been a CEO, but when a lot of big decisions got made, he was in the room when it happened,” said Hickenlooper in remembrance of Sander “And many times, he was the person who made sure that the other right people were in the room when it happened. Those are qualities that are very rare in any community.” 

A list of the Denver projects he worked on would include virtually everything that happened in Denver in the past 30-40 years, helping with the launch the Colorado Rockies, to handling the opening for both the Pepsi Center in 1999 and Invesco Field in 2001. Sander handled the marketing for the MLB All Star Game in 1998, the NHL All-Star game in 2001, the NBA All-Star Game in 2005 and the MLB All Star game again in 2021. He marketed some of Colorado’s most visible brands including Cherry Creek Shopping Center, The Denver Post, Denver Botanic Gardens, Water World, the Denver Nuggets and The University of Colorado. He helped bring bike sharing to Denver, and served on countless boards including VISIT DENVER’s Board of Directors, Friends of Denver Firefighters, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Cultural Commission, Union Station Bike Hub, Live Well Marketing Advisory Committee and Step Up for Cancer Advisory Board.  

Sander helped organize the SIA Snow Show, Big Air, the Colfax Marathon, and USA Pro Cycling. He brought to life campaigns for Denver B-Cycle and Hockey Capital USA. He also was instrumental in every single Denver Championship Victory Parade, bringing millions of people to downtown Denver in happiness and celebration.  

It is impossible to imagine a sporting event in Denver that did not include Sander, his face glued three inches from his cell phone, his plastic bike lapel pin proudly displayed, and his smiling face as he said his trademark to his thousands of friends and supporters: “Whasssup?” 

2023 Tourism Stars

“Tourism Star” awards are presented to organizations and attractions that had a significant impact on Denver’s tourism industry during the preceding year.

British Airways

25th Anniversary of Service at DEN

On Sept. 1, 2023, British Airways celebrated 25 years of providing year-round, nonstop transatlantic service between London and Denver International Airport. Since its inaugural flight to Denver in 1998, British Airways has operated more than 17,000 flights to and from London, seamlessly connecting the Mile High City to its global network. Nearly 4 million customers have experienced the elevated service British Airways offers to and from Denver International Airport, and the UK’s national flag carrier has operated more international flights over a longer time period than any other carrier at DEN.

Colorado Tourism Office

Michelin Guide to Colorado

In 2023, the Colorado Tourism Office partnered with Michelin, an organization that originated in France and has become highly respected for producing one of the most cherished dining guides on the planet to produce a Colorado guide for the first time, reviewing restaurants in Denver, Boulder, Aspen, Snowmass Village, Vail and Beaver Creek Resort. Michelin recognized 26 Denver restaurants in their inaugural and highly anticipated Colorado-based Guide. The famously anonymous MICHELIN Guide inspectors selected a diverse range of restaurants across the city that exude culinary excellence. Below is a list of celebrated restaurants in each category. Denver joins Boulder, Aspen and Snowmass Village, the Town of Vail and Beaver Creek Resort in the Colorado MICHELIN Guide, the eighth Guide destination in North America. Three Denver restaurants were awarded one Michelin Star; nine restaurants, including five in Denver, were awarded Michelin’s “Bib Gourmand” designation for outstanding food at a great value; and 30 restaurants in Denver received  “recommended status.”  The Colorado Michelin Guide brings awareness on a global scale to Denver and Colorado while elevating the dining scene in the state.  

Denver Art Museum

Desert Rider:Dreaming in Motion, Amoako Boafo:Soul of Black Folks, All Stars:American Artists from The Phillips Collection

Through their innovative exhibitions, the Denver Art Museum continues to bring renowned art to the Mile High City. “All Stars: American Artists from The Phillips Collection,” showcased 140 years of American art by more than 50 artists including Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe and Jackson Pollock with works that explored American art from the 19th century, connecting the pieces to important societal issues that remain today. “Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks” presents the firstsolo exhibition tour for Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. Born in 1984 and  as one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation, Boafo’s works focuses on the viewers’ gaze with a unique perspective on his subjects’ presence through his portraits representing Black life. “Desert Rider: Dreaming in Motion,” explored lowrider and skateboard culture in Denver and across the American Southwest. 

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Bugs, After the Asteroid: Earth's Comeback Story, Mysteries of the Ice Ages

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science continues to bring special exhibitions to our city that draw visitors from throughout the region and around the nation to explore how the planet is changing. Bugs make up 90% of all animal species on Earth, yet few of us know how essential and powerful these creatures really are. The interactive exhibition, “Bugs” took visitors into the incredible lives of insects, arachnids and myriapods and invited visitors to think and problem-solve like nature’s true heroes. “After the Asteroid: Earth's Comeback Story,” brought visitors to a newly discovered trove of remarkably preserved fossils, found at Corral Bluffs near Colorado Springs, focusing on how Earth recovered after the devastating asteroid impact 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs. “Mysteries of the Ice Ages” journeyed through Earth’s icy history where visitors were invited to discover Neanderthals, early humans and Arctic peoples who lived in lands lost long ago under the world’s oceans, while meeting animals from woolly mammoths to American lions. 

Denver Nuggets

NBA Champions

In June 2023, the Denver Nuggets won the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. The playoffs and victory resulted in an estimated $25 million in direct spending and $100 million in indirect spending for Denver. The final playoff series was broadcast in 214 countries in 60 languages, while the final game was viewed by 17.88 million Americans. The playoffs generated more than 8 billion views on NBA social media platforms – the most postseason views ever – with 540 million social media impressions for Finals MVP Nikola Jokić, the first player in NBA history to average 30+ points, 8+ assists per game and win a championship since Michael Jordan in 1991. The Championship brought fans together in Ball Arena, homes, sports bars and public venues with an estimated 750,000 fans lining the victory parade route through Downtown Denver. The victory generated incalculable worldwide publicity for Denver.