Excellence in Tourism Awards

The Excellence in Tourism Awards are presented annually at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism, which is co-hosted by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism (DCEO/IOT) and the Illinois Destinations Association (IDA). Each year, information about the categories and the entry form are published on the conference website. Divisions within categories are based on budget size.

The most recent award recipients appear below. For previous years, please select from the follow links: 2022, 2021, 2019,  201820172016 2015, 2014, 20132012.

Distinguished Tourism Leadership Award for 2020 to Jim Reilly. View Jim’s tribute video 

2024 Excellence in Tourism Award Winners

  • Outstanding Niche Targeting Budget A (TIE) –Choose Chicago – Chicago Brew Pass | Chicago Northwest – Chicago Northwest is Your Home for Golf
  • Outstanding Niche Targeting Budget B –Ottawa Visitors Center – Smoketober Fest
  • Best Social Media Marketing Budget A –Great Rivers and Routes – Heartbeats of Southwest Illinois
  • Best Social Media Marketing Budget B –Skydeck Chicago – Skydeck Becomes Chicago’s Biggest Cheerleader
  • Best Branding Initiative Budget A –Heritage Corridor Destinations – New Year, New Brand
  • Best Branding Initiative Budget B –Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – Jacksonville Illinois Rebrand
  • Best Cooperative Partnership Budget A –Go Rockford – 2023 Midwestern and Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships—As A Partnership Between Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, BMO Center, Skating Council of IL, City of Rockford
  • Best Cooperative Partnership Budget B –Art Institute of Chicago – Van Gogh and the Avant-Garde: The Modern Landscape Cooperative Partnership Activation
  • Best Event or Festival Budget A –Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – Stroll on State
  • Best Event or Festival Budget B –SeeQuincy – Summer Flavor Tours
  • Best Website Budget A – Chicago Southland CVB – VisitChicagoSouthland.com
  • Best Website Budget B –Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau – Jacksonville Illinois Rebrand
  • Best Tourism Marketing Budget A –Visit Springfield – Kansas City Carvertise Marketing Campaign
  • Best Tourism Marketing Budget B –Greater Freeport Partnership – Be A Trailblazer
  • Best Printed Collateral Budget A (TIE) –Aurora Area CVB – 2023 Aurora Area Go Guide | Great Rivers and Routes – Discover the Mother Road Passport
  • Best Printed Collateral Budget B – Rendleman Orchards – Orchard & Times – A Special Edition Newspaper Celebrating 150 Years
  • Best PR Campaign Budget A –Heritage Corridor Destinations – The Great American Road Trip
  • Best PR Campaign Budget B (TIE) –Ravenswood Chicago – Public Relations campaign for Malt Row in the Ravenswood Corridor by the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce | Ottawa Visitors Center – Your Hometown
  • Best of Show (highest score across all categories) – Meet Chicago Northwest – Chicago Northwest is Your Home for Golf