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Tourism Veteran Judy Bijlani To Receive Legacy Award

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TOURISM VETERAN JUDY BIJLANI TO RECEIVE LEGACY AWARD

Orange County Visitors Association Honors Retiring Visit Laguna Beach CEO



IRVINE, CA (January 24, 2014)---Retiring Visit Laguna Beach CEO Judy Bijlani will receive the "Legacy Award" from the Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) in recognition of her many contributions to the region's tourism industry. Awarded annually at the Orange County Tourism Conference in May, the Legacy Award honors a visionary in the tourism industry for contributing to the awareness, positive reputation and growth of tourism in Orange County.


For nine years, Bijlani served as President and CEO of Visit Laguna Beach (formerly Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau), where her most recent achievements include shepherding the tourism bureau's renaming and rebranding effort. She was also instrumental in introducing Laguna Beach's arts programs to travelers via an exhibit at John Wayne Airport titled "Orange County: Destination Art & Culture."  The Laguna Beach exhibit entitled "A Legacy of Art" featured iconic Laguna Beach Yesterday, Laguna Beach Today images dating back to 1904.


In addition to her advocacy of Laguna Beach, Bijlani has also served on the OCVA Board of Directors for nearly a decade. As Marketing Chair, she lead development of a comprehensive, countywide tourism website, VisitTheOC.com, which launched in early 2013. She also steered OCVA through a rebranding to position the organization as the county's primary tourism driver, as well as serving as Vice Committee Chair for the annual Orange County Tourism Conference.


"For more than 15 years, Judy has been a leader in OC Tourism, from retail tourism marketing to promoting Laguna Beach around the world. She has been a tireless champion for The OC brand and a leader in uniting Orange County's cities to work together for the greater good," says OCVA Chairman and President/CEO of Visit Newport Beach, Gary Sherwin. "She is well respected throughout the county for her wisdom and thoughtful approach to making The OC one of the premiere destinations in the world. Her talents and contributions to our industry are tremendous, but as she retires what we will primarily miss is her smile and gentle personality. I hope Judy finally has a chance to enjoy what she has been so successful promoting for all these years."


Past Legacy Award recipients include Henry Segerstrom, Steve Bone, Dr. Robert Schuller, The Walter Knott Family, The Irvine Company, Don Hansen and Werner Escher.


About Judy Bijlani

A resident of Orange County for over 20 years, Bijlani served as President/CEO of Visit Laguna Beach. She is currently Vice Chairman of the Orange County Visitors Association and serves on the Board of Advisors for California State University Fullerton's Center for Entertainment & Tourism Communications. A veteran of the tourism and retail industry for 30 years, Bijlani has provided business plan development and strategic marketing plans for industry businesses.  She has served as founding President of Shop California; on the Board of Directors for the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau; and on the Board of Directors for the California Travel Association; Prior to joining Visit Laguna Beach, Bijlani worked as a consultant for several tourism related entities including major attractions and retail venues. Among her accomplishments include the founding, development, design and opening of the first California Welcome Center for Orange County. She resides with her husband in south Orange County. They have one child and three grandchildren.


About Orange County Visitors Association

The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) is a non-profit organization representing a wide variety of local tourism- related organizations, including accommodations, arts & culture venues, attractions, chambers of commerce, convention & visitor bureaus, retail & shopping centers, restaurants, transportation providers and visitor services. The primary goal of the OCVA is to brand Orange County (The OC) as a premier vacation destination. Learn more at VisitTheOC.com.


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