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Garden of the Gods - Southern Illinois

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Aug 30, 2017 Wins U.S. Travel Association’s Mercury Award for Best Travel Website

MINNEAPOLIS – The Illinois Office of Tourism’s website received the U.S. Travel Association’s Mercury Award for outstanding travel website at the 2017 Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Minneapolis, Minn.

The new launched in March, featuring inspiring content and customized, user-friendly webpages based on browsing behavior. The site was designed to feel like a digital magazine showcasing amazing experiences across Illinois while engaging visitors with a combination of compelling video, photography and user-generated content from local influencers. Since launching, the website has generated a 74% increase in user traffic, 447% increase in newsletter signups and a 14.5% increase in hotel accommodations and flight bookings.

“We are thrilled to be honored for doing what we love—sharing all of the incredible people and places that make Illinois such an amazing state,” said Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “The website delivers visually compelling content, encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in all the experiences Illinois has to offer.”

The Illinois Office of Tourism shared the honors with Chicago-based partners TimeZoneOne, a global creative communications agency, and J. Walter Thompson, an international marketing communications firm.

The U.S. Travel Association’s ESTO is a national forum where tourism destination professionals across the country go to learn about new tools and techniques, share best practices and debate pressing issues impacting destination marketing.


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.

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