February 05, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: MARLA CICHOWSKI
CHICAGO - The 2019 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism kicked off Monday, February 4, in Chicago with the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards ceremony at the Palmer House Hilton. The awards honor Illinois’ travel and tourism marketing teams with the most compelling marketing initiatives of 2018. Before the ceremony, Governor JB Pritzker welcomed attendees and thanked them for making Illinois a top destination for visitors from around the world.
Travel and tourism professionals from around the country judged submissions in eight categories, ranging from best social media marketing to best event or festival, with one exceptional entry receiving best of show. 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.
Here are the 2019 Illinois Excellence in Tourism Award winners:
The Best of Show award goes to the submission that received the highest overall score from the judge’s panel, going above and beyond to execute a fully comprehensive event, initiative or campaign.
Travel and tourism drives significant contributions to Illinois’ economy. In 2017, Illinois welcomed 114 million visitors, which generated more than $3 billion in state and local tax revenue. The success of state tourism each year couldn’t be accomplished without help from hospitality and tourism partners and stakeholders across the state.
This year’s Illinois Excellence in Tourism program, was presented by Illinois Office of Tourism. The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism is taking place in Chicago, Feb. 4-6, at the Palmer House Hilton. The conference unites state leaders, travel experts and special guests to share the latest innovative ideas for promoting travel.
To download photos from Monday’s awards ceremony click here.
To review a complete conference schedule and a list of speakers at this year’s conference, visit
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The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents