And the winner is…

Richard S. Kahn, (516) 594-4100


NEW YORK, NY (June 15, 2017) – The Greater New York Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has awarded The Central Park Conservancy with the 24th Annual Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award and named the 2017 honorees for the Annual HSMAIGNY Chapter Awards of Excellence.

The presentations took place at the annual black-tie dinner/dance at the Rainbow Room on June 12, 2017. Each of the evening’s awards were designed to recognize and honor individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the tourism industry in New York City.

The Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award, presented by Immediate Past President Consuela Hooblal on behalf of the Past Presidents Council, was accepted by Sara Cedar Miller on behalf of The Central Park Conservancy.

With 42 million visitors each year, Central Park is the most visited park in the U.S. and generates over one billion dollars in revenue for New York City. The Park hosts Shakespeare in the Park, free concerts by New York Philharmonic and other A-list performers. It is home to the Central Park Zoo, Central Park Carousel, The Boat House, Tavern on the Green and Strawberry Fields, among many other unique features.

The 843-acre Central Park has been the backdrop of films seen throughout the world, inspiring visitors to enjoy its peaceful beauty. Like New Yorkers themselves, Central Park sets the standard for innovation as the leader in the birth of urban parks and in the rebirth of these parks over the last four decades under the astute management of The Central Park Conservancy.

“No natural landmark in New York City is as iconic as Central Park,” said Master of Ceremonies, Frank Stapleton, President of the Monarch Group Ltd.

“The Greater New York Chapter of HSMAI is delighted to honor The Central Park Conservancy as the 2017 recipient of the Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award,” added Consuela Hooblal, Chair of the HSMAIGNY Chapter Past Presidents Council.

In addition to the Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award, The President’s Award for Outstanding Service, presented by Lori O’Connell, President of Agency O’C and 2017 President of the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter, was awarded to the HSMAIGNY Professional Development Team.

For 2017, the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter named six individuals who were honored for their outstanding work and dedication to the hospitality industry and the sales and marketing profession, including:

  • General Manager of the Year: Robert Gaeta, CHA, Best Western Plus Hospitality House
  • Revenue Management Executive of the Year: Derek Brewster, LOTTE New York Palace
  • Sales Executive of the Year: (TIE) P. Dean Altvater, Hilton Luxury Brands and Marissa Hou, Marriott International
  • Marketing Executive of the Year: Mohini Merchant, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Hospitality Professional of the Year: Deborah Surden, Expedia

Frank W. Berkman, CHME, was a former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HSMAI for 16 years. This award was created in 1994 by the Past Presidents Council of the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter and was named after Berkman because of his dedication to building HSMAI into the highly-influential international hospitality industry organization it is today.

Previous recipients recognized for their outstanding contributions to the tourism industry in New York City include:

2016          The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
2015          Marriott International
2014          The Empire State Building
2013          Rockefeller Center
2012          NYC & Company
2011          Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center
2010          Times Square Alliance
2009          United States Tennis Association U.S. Open
2008          New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg
2007          Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes
2006          Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels
2005          ING New York City Marathon
2004          The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting
2003          Macy*s
2002          New York City FDNY, EMTs, NYPD & Port Authority Police
2001          Starwood Hotels
2000          The League of American Theatres & Producers
1999          The Today Show
1998          Donald Trump
1997          New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
1996          Arthur Surin, Senior Vice President of Hilton Hotels Corporation
1995          Robert Preston Tisch, Chairman of the Board for Loews Hotels
1994          Charles Gillette, Chair of the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau


HSMAI is the leading association of sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality industry. With over 7,000 members in 35 countries, HSMAI is a global network of individuals, chapters, businesses and organizations. All industry segments are represented including hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise ships, car rental agencies, restaurants, attractions and theme parks, convention and visitors bureaus, destination management companies and reservation sales organizations.

As the regional chapter for the metropolitan area, HSMAI Greater New York serves a community of over 500 hospitality professionals who are committed to the highest standards of service and ongoing professional development.

Membership is open to anyone in hospitality sales, marketing or management as well as travel and tourism educators and service providers who support the industry. HSMAI continues to lead the industry by providing education and market research to its members.

For more information on HSMAI, contact Kathie Stapleton, Executive Director HSMAI Greater New York at telephone: 914-762-1456; fax: 914-944-9227; or e-mail: