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Dr. Peter Ricci Named 2021 South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year

Dr. Peter Ricci, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Florida Atlantic University was named the South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year by the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board at the 30th Annual Award Luncheon on September 30, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

A hospitality leader, with 25+ years’ experience in the tourism industry and academia, Dr. Ricci has, for the last 12 years, focused on developing the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The program is ranked Top 10 in Florida and Top 30 nationally with the MBA recently rated #2 in one ranking and Top 25 in second ranking.

The award luncheon also announced a new student scholarship, which was presented by outgoing CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), Bill Talbert, III. The scholarship is sponsored by the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association & GMCVB in honor of Mr. Talbert, III. Student scholarships from the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Focus Miami, and The Heafey Group were also announced at the luncheon.

Dr. Ricci's leading industry roles include GM at major brands of Hilton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Ramada, Radisson, and Crowne Plaza. Additional stops in F&B, meeting planning/incentives, hotel sales & marketing, destination marketing, hospitality education, and short stints with travel agencies and airlines in the earlier years.

“The Dr. Peter Ricci Scholarship”, named in Dr. Ricci’s honor, is awarded annually by the South Florida Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI). He has won numerous teaching awards: Professor of the Year, Excellence in Teaching and Dean's Distinguished Fellowship. He is also a Distinguished Alumnus of UF.

The other distinguished nominees for this year’s South Florida Tourism Professional of the Year Award included Steve Adkins, Miami Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; Rolando Aedo, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; DeAnne Connolly Graham, ROi Media Consultants; Julie Grimes, The Heafey Group; Charles Kropke, Dragonfly Expeditions; and Troy Wright, Washington Avenue Business Improvement District.

WSVN’s Belkys Nerey served as the luncheon MC along with featured speakers celebrity chef, Michelle Bernstein, and Florida International University Dean, Dr. Michael Cheng. Also in attendance at the event were Mari Tere Rojas, Miami-Dade Public Schools District 6 School Board Member and Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega.

Hyatt Regency Miami served as the Host Sponsor of the event. Show Tech, a South Florida based audio visual production company, supported the event as a Signature Sponsor and REEF, the largest operator of mobility, logistics hubs, and neighborhood kitchens in North America was a Platinum Sponsor.

Past recipients of the Tourism Professional of the Year Award include George Neary, Tours “R” Us; Wendy Kallergis, GMBHA; Henry Delgado, Smith & Wollensky; Rocco Angelo, Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management; William Talbert, III and Alvin West, Sr. GMCVB, and Academy Founders; Stuart Blumberg, Retired, Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association; Bob Dickinson, Retired, Carnival Cruise Lines; and the late Tony Goldman, Goldman Properties; Jeanne Westphal; Dean Lee Dickson, FIU; and Alyce M. Robertson, Miami Downtown Development Authority.

The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism is a member of the non-profit, NAF. For over thirty years, NAF has refined a proven model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricular, work-based learning experiences and prepares them for college and industry careers. Academies are in 16 Miami public high schools. Proceeds of the luncheon benefit work-based learning activities and scholarships for AOHT students and professional development for teachers.

By ML Staff. Image courtesy of AOHT


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