“Great Rivers, Great Routes, Great Memories”, the 2019 travel guide created by the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau, received top honors at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism held in Chicago Feb. 3-6.
The 84-page full-color guide was named Best Visitors Publication and also received Best of Show honors during an awards ceremony held at the Palmer House in Chicago. Awards honored Illinois’ passionate travel and tourism marketing teams with the best marketing initiatives of 2018. This is the second year in a row that the bureau’s travel guide has received the Best Visitors Publication award.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognized for the travel guide for the second year in a row,” said Brett Stawar, president and CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “To also win Best of Show means our guide received the highest marks from judges out of the hundreds of entries submitted by travel organizations in the state. The competition included the Art Institute of Chicago, Skydeck Chicago and the Magnificent Mile Association among others so this was a huge win for us. These awards are a true celebration of all that is great about our region.”
Travel and tourism professionals from around the country judged submissions in eight categories ranging from best social media marketing to best event or festival. Each category contained a Budget A for organizations with annual operating budgets of $500,000 and above and Budget B for organizations with budgets under $500,000. The Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau competed in the Budget A category.
“Great Rivers Great Routes Great Memories” was created as a travel magazine highlighting Route 66, the Great River Road and the outdoor, scenic, historic and family-centered activities available to travelers to the region. It features the work of local photographers and Instagrammers along with feature stories highlighting outdoor activities, urban trails, regional Local Legends and a focus on local makers. The guide was designed by Sherrie Hickman of Creative Options Graphic Design in Edwardsville. Staff of the tourism bureau created all content for the publication. The guide is supported by local advertising.
“We have a talented and creative staff at the bureau which is committed to showcasing our region,” Stawar said. “Marketing and Communications Director Stephanie Tate led the work on production of the travel guide. We look forward to creating additional marketing publications designed to bring travelers to the area.”
Travel and tourism drives significant contributions to Illinois’ economy. In 2017, Illinois welcomed 114 million visitors who generated more than $39.5 billion in travel expenditures for the state.