Visit Tampa Bay Honors McKibbon Hospitality Chairman as its 2019 Tourism Ambassador. John McKibbon, chairman of McKibbon Hospitality, was named the 2019 Gonzmart Family Tourism Ambassador of the Year by Visit Tampa Bay during a luncheon ceremony at the Tampa Hilton Downtown The event kicked off National Tourism Week. John McKibbon — the third-generation head of Tampa, Fla.-based McKibbon Hospitality, an industry leader in hotel development, management and renovation — was recognized for his contributions to the tourism industry in Tampa Bay. In 1991, he took the reins of McKibbon Hospitality, which currently manages 87 hotels representing 20 Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG brands throughout the U.S.
In addition to the development of 10 hotels in Tampa Bay, McKibbon
also developed the West Shore District’s Avion Park, a 19-acre mixed-use business park that includes McKibbon Hospitality’s headquarters, BioSpine Institute, World of Beer, and four hotels. John McKibbon was honored for his many charitable endeavors, including work with Metropolitan Ministries, Feeding America Tampa Bay, Tampa General Hospital Foundation and many more. His impact on the Tampa Bay community goes well beyond his economic investment with hotels and businesses.
“We are proud to honor John and celebrate his tireless efforts to make a positive impact on Hillsborough County tourism and the community at large,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “Through his work, he represents the best of Tampa Bay as a destination. He is a true ambassador for the local tourism industry. His care for visitors and residents is evident in all he does.”
In a video tribute shown at the event, McKibbon was described as “relentless when it comes to serving his community,” “a visionary” and “an amazing leader, a humble leader, a leader who brings about change for good.”
During a brief thank-you speech, McKibbon talked about his first experience in Tampa. In the early 90s, Marriott International asked McKibbon Hospitality to become one of its developers in the Southeast, and he was sent from his hometown in north Georgia to “this big city, Tampa, Florida.” The Tampa business community immediately opened its arms, he said, which is why John McKibbon moved to Tampa and relocated the company’s corporate headquarters there as well.
The award was presented by Columbia Restaurant Group 5th Generation owner/operator Andrea Gonzmart Williams, who spoke to John McKibbon’s commitment to his company, employees and the community in which he lives.