ST. CLOUD -- Julie Lunning with the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is being recognized for her work attracting big events to town. She was named the "Outstanding Individual in Tourism" Tuesday night during the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference.

Lunning says the community hosting the Governor's Fishing Opener last year and Hockey Day Minnesota in January helped St. Cloud shine.

Those were excellent opportunities for us to be able to not only showcase St. Cloud but to be able to bring more awareness to those events.

Lunning says a big event coming to St. Cloud this summer is the BMX Nationals.  And, she says they just signed a long-term contract with the Minnesota Senior Games.

Lunning has been the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for 21 years and has been in the tourism industry for 30 years.

Other awards that were handed out at the banquet included the "Visitor Attraction of the Year" going to the Mall of America, the "Event of the Year" going to Schwan's USA Cup, and the "Minnesota Signature Event Awarded" to Grandma's Marathon.

Running people are kind of crazy, to begin with, let alone having a marathon that has such a history and such a heritage to the Duluth area, it's a great event.

Explore Minnesota's says visit Northfield was awarded "Best Website" and Visit Grand Rapids won the award for "Best Social Media" marketing.