CCLMC awards

(left to right) Jimmy Chao, West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles, Michael Mayo, Beth Wilhide, Adam Huneau, Representative Paula Rawl Calhoun, Scott Sawyer, Buddy Livingston, Jerry Strawbridge and Miriam Atria. Image provided by Capital City/Lake Murray Country

The Capital City/Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board's annual meeting and 40th year celebration was held last week in Irmo. The meeting served as a way for guests to learn about everything the organization has accomplished this year to promote tourism and economic development in Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Saluda counties.

President and CEO of the organization, Miriam Atria, discussed some of the CCLMC's biggest accomplishments of the year.

"Capital City/Lake Murray Country has created some pretty big waves this year and has gained strong national media attention through the numerous events from fishing, sailing to media writers and various water sports events in the region," she said. "The message we continue to spread is we are the destination for outdoor recreation, which is perfect during this time in our nation."

Events that were mentioned included the Taste of Lake Murray, which was a qualifying event for the World Food Championship. Attendees chose seven chefs from restaurants around the region, and now they are headed to Dallas in November to compete in the World Food Championship.

A variety of fishing tournaments were also held on Lake Murray and hosted by CCLMC this year, including the Major League Fishing Cup, Oakley Big Bass Tour, the National Collegiate Championship, and FLW's Top Professional Circuit returned in April.

"CCLMC has provided over 115 hours of TV exposure through filmed TV shows on history, fishing, food, chefs and outdoor recreation on PBS, The Outdoor Channel, Fox Sports South, The Food Network, FS1 Fox Sports Go, Destination America, the Pursuit Channel, CBS Sports Network and Amazon Prime," said Atria.

The organization’s marketing investment for the year was $681,047. There were more than 162 articles published about the region and being named a “Top Southern Destination” by Forbes finished the year on a very high note.

Awards were also presented at the celebration. "Tourism Advocate of the Year" awards were presented to Adam Huneau of Alodia's Cucina Italiana, Michael Mayo of Palmetto Outdoor, Scott Sawyer of City of Newberry, and Scott Middleton. Dean Sinatra with American Land Holdings was named Partner of the Year. Randy Walson was recognized for his longevity as an outgoing board member. Beth Wilhide was presented with an award recognizing the late Scott Wildhide for his volunteerism.

It was announced that the regional tourism office has recently launched a new design for the organization's website, to provide a more user-friendly experience.

The CCLMC Visitors Center is located at 2184 N. Lake Dr., Columbia.

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