ALBUQUERQUE, NM (May 19, 2010) – The Visit Albuquerque (Visit Albuquerque) is pleased to announce that the graduates of the Albuquerque Concierge Excellence (A.C.E.) program and their supporting employers have been selected as the 2010 “Unsung Heroes of Tourism.” This annual recognition by the Visit Albuquerque was presented in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week events.

The A.C.E. program is designed to educate and inform employees in the hospitality and tourism industry about Albuquerque, as well as provide them with customer service tools that they can utilize in their guest service efforts. By sending their employees to the A.C.E. program, more than 50 employers have demonstrated their commitment to excellent customer service.

The A.C.E. graduates and their employers were recognized throughout National Travel and Tourism Week, May 8 – 16, 2010. National Travel and Tourism Week is an initiative led by the U.S. Travel Association in which states, cities and tourism organizations across the country celebrate the importance of tourism. Albuquerque’s “Unsung Heroes of Tourism” designation is an annual method of honoring a local community group that has made significant contributions to the city’s tourism industry.
This year’s “Unsung Heroes of Tourism” was also recognized at the Visit Albuquerque Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Testimonials of exceptional customer service were shared and individual ACE graduates were highlighted.

Here is a sampling of some inspiring quotes from the A.C.E. graduates:
“It takes a certain kind of person to work in a service role and I know that I am one of those people. I like to say that if you’re here for the tip, you’re not going to make that many tips. But, if you’re here to provide a service, you can make a life out of it. And that’s what I’m doing,” said Ed Sanchez, Bell Captain at the Albuquerque Grand Hotel.

“Customer service is important because of the bottom line; it brings in revenue. Our customers are our advertising so good impressions are crucial so that visitors report good verbiage about our state,” said Linda Marburger, Supervisor at Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway.

“If I went to their business, I would want the same level of customer service that I provide. It inspires me when I tell someone something and their eyes light up,” said Eric Perrault, Asst. Front Office Manager at the Embassy Suites.

Tourism is a $1.3 trillion industry in America and is Albuquerque’s second largest private industry generating more than $2 billion annually. Albuquerque and these front-line employees are host to approximately 3.6 million visitors each year, producing over $30.7 million in local and state taxes. The Albuquerque hospitality industry supports approximately 23,000 jobs.

Past “Unsung Heroes of Tourism” include the ABQ Experts, Convention Center employees, local Solid Waste Management departments, Old Town merchants, Albuquerque museums, Balloon Fiesta volunteers, Downtown Action Team ambassadors, Albuquerque area hotel housekeepers, the Big I construction team and the Albuquerque International Sunport baggage handlers.