SCT Receives Destiny Award for its “Pause & Effect” Public Relations Campaign 

SONOMA COUNTY, CA (August 28, 2023) The U.S. Travel Association announced recipients of the 2023 Destiny Awards at the 39th annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference, held August 19-22 in Savannah, GA. 

Honors in 21 categories were awarded for excellence and creativity in destination marketing and inspiring visitation, a critical component of the continued growth of the travel industry. Award categories included: broadcast advertising; video, film, or podcast series; public relations campaign; integrated marketing and messaging campaign; and destination website, among others.  

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) earned top honors, receiving a Destiny Award for its “Pause & Effect” Public Relations campaign. The Destiny Awards recognize excellence in destination marketing on the local and regional level. A panel of more than 60 esteemed marketing experts from across the United States selected this year’s nominees. 

Many destinations struggled in recent years, but perhaps none felt the gravity of multiple, successive crises like Sonoma County. Since 2017, the destination faced disasters including wildfires, floods and droughts threatening the economic foundation that tourism provides. As a result of careful planning including audience and trend analysis, SCT launched the Pause & Effect consumer marketing campaign to draw visitors to Sonoma County’s restorative wellbeing experiences while further positioning Sonoma County as a leader in responsible travel. It included strong messaging, a honed content strategy, and a heavy focus on stakeholder involvement to amplify the campaign and empower its storytellers.  

 “Our team at Sonoma County Tourism is honored to be recognized by our peers as having the best Public Relations Campaign in our industry,” said Todd O’Leary, VP of Marketing and Communications at SCT. “I couldn’t be more proud of this best-in-class team who built this campaign around solid strategy, careful planning, and flawless execution.”  

In addition to the PR Campaign award, SCT was also a finalist in three other categories: Integrated Marketing and Messaging Campaign; Community Engagement; and Destination Stewardship.  

ESTO is an annual conference for destination marketing professionals from city, regional, and state tourism offices. Each year the conference is held in a different destination and features four days of educational sessions, networking opportunities, and industry awards. 


About Sonoma County Tourism 

Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s destination stewardship organization. Inspiring travel to the region through a variety of sales and marketing programs aimed at consumers, meeting and event planners, the travel trade, and media, the organization strives to ensure responsible tourism helps create a robust economy for the Sonoma County region. For more information visit 

Media Contact: 

Birgitt Vaughan, Director, Public Relations 

[email protected]