AUGUSTA — Gary Allen was honored with a new award presented by Governor Janet Mills last week at the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held at the Augusta Civic Center.
Allen, from Great Cranberry Island, is the founder and director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Millinocket Marathon and several other endurance events across Maine.
“Gary Allen is emblematic of the Maine spirit of Originality, said Steve Lyons, Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “His vision for a kind of “participation tourism” that binds visitors and communities is directly in line with current trends in the types of experiences today’s visitors seek, and is a commendable example of sustainable tourism.”
The Governor’s Conference on Tourism Awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations that have distinguished themselves through their work and contributed to the growth of tourism in Maine.
The award specifically recognizes the Millinocket Marathon which has earned national accolades for its unique, pay-it-forward, free to participate platform.
“I am beyond thrilled to be recognized for what I do but make no mistake, I believe these accolades represent the absolute tip of the iceberg for what we can do here in Maine to grow our tourism economy by thinking outside the box,” said Allen.
“I firmly believe that even in well-established tourism destinations like here on Mount Desert Island, it’s vitally important to recognize a quickly changing demographic where visitors want to be both challenged and engage in ‘do this’ types of organized outdoor recreation experiences that test them, versus more traditional, ‘look at this’ types of sight-seeing opportunities. “Endurance sports have become the common person’s Mount Everest in my humble opinion,” he continued, “and Maine is poised near large active urban populations, who will absolutely come if we build it.”