The highest award presented by the San Antonio Visitor Alliance recognizes individuals, organizations or families from San Antonio for their significant contributions to travel and tourism.
Marise McDermott is presented with the Milton Guess Hospitality Award by Bill Brendel on September 14, 2023 at the Tourism Unity Night Gala.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (September 21, 2023) – Witte Museum president & CEO Marise McDermott was recognized for her contributions to travel and tourism in San Antonio with the Milton Guess Hospitality Award at last week’s Tourism Unity Night Gala. The Milton Guess Hospitality Award is the highest award presented by the San Antonio Visitors Alliance and is named after San Antonio’s great champion for hospitality and tourism—Milton Guess. The award, presented to McDermott by Bill Brendel of the San Antonio Visitor Alliance, recognizes individuals, organizations or families from the San Antonio community for their significant contributions to travel and tourism in San Antonio, commitment to the growth of the travel and tourism industry and teamwork, leadership and mentorship of others.
“It is a great privilege to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with all of you,” McDermott shared when accepting the award, highlighting the people she’s worked alongside to support the hospitality and tourism community in San Antonio.
McDermott has served on the board of both Visit San Antonio and the San Antonio Visitor Alliance for many years, traveling multiple times to Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of San Antonio tourism and hospitality. As a Visit San Antonio committee chair, McDermott led the development of the cultural story and assets for the narrative of San Antonio as a destination. She served as a TriChair of the Alamo Advisory Committee where she worked to establish the vision and guiding principles for the redevelopment of Alamo Plaza and the surrounding area, was Chair of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau and served for 12 years on the San Antonio River Oversight Committee.
McDermott has guided the Witte Museum as its president & CEO for two decades, leading the dramatic, $100 million transformation of the museum that served as a catalyst for the broader revitalization of the Broadway Cultural Corridor and other local attractions. The acclaimed touring exhibitions the museum hosts bring visitors from across the world to San Antonio, contributing to the tourism economy and supporting local businesses. McDermott mentors her staff to be tourism advocates, encouraging them to become Certified Tourism Ambassadors and provide remarkable, memorable experiences for San Antonio’s visitors. Recently, the Witte team opened the museum doors to the world’s tourism journalists, hosting the IPW Press Brunch at the Witte Museum.
Milton Guess was McDermott’s mentor in all things tourism and hospitality, closely advising her in her many leadership roles. As the city developed, McDermott leaned on him for wisdom and council. His mentorship has inspired her significant contributions to travel and tourism in San Antonio.