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Sonoma County Tourism Awarded Top Honors

SANTA ROSA, CA (8/12/22) – Sonoma County Tourism was the winner of the U.S. Travel Association’s 2022 Destiny Award, taking top honors in the digital marketing campaign category at the annual ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) conference, which took place August 6-9 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Awards were presented for excellence in local and regional destination marketing and inspiring visitation, a critical component to the continued recovery of the travel industry.

The ESTO’s Destiny Award program fosters the development of imaginative and innovative destination marketing promotion programs and activities. A judging panel of marketing experts from organizations including TripAdvisor, Tourism Cares, Travel Industry Marketing Association, Socialisssima and JPMorgan Chase selected honorees in the award program.

Sonoma County Tourism was a finalist in three different categories for the 2022 Destiny Awards: PR Campaign: Stories of Renewal; Digital Campaign: Life Opens Up, Ready for Renewal; and Community Building: Sonoma County Tourism Cares. Voting for these categories was open to U.S. Travel’s destination marketing organization members, as well as all ESTO delegates. 

“It is an honor to be recognized by ESTO and our peers in the U.S. tourism industry for our Life Opens Up, Ready for Renewal digital campaign,” said Sonoma County Tourism Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Todd O’Leary. “We are thrilled at the success of our initiative to awaken the spirit of travel and remind visitors of how Sonoma County’s laid-back luxury contributes to one’s personal wellbeing. O’Leary went on to say, “Thanks to our agency partners at Fahlgren Mortine and Miles Partnership, the campaign was successful in both promoting the destination and continuing to energize our local economy through promoting responsible tourism.”

Throughout 2022, Sonoma County Tourism has been the recipient of several high-profile industry awards. With public relations agency partners at Columbus, OH based Fahlgren Mortine, Sonoma County Tourism won the PRism Award for Media Relations - Consumer Products and Services for “Life Opens Up” in Sonoma County: Immersive Press Trip and another PRism Award for Integrated Communications: Reawakening the Spirit of Travel in Sonoma County. PRism Awards honor exceptional public relations activities from a diverse mix of businesses, industries, and backgrounds.

SCT was also a finalist for the prestigious Visit California 2022 Poppy Award for Best Public Relations Campaign. The award considers what destination puts storytelling front and center and supports marketing initiatives with invaluable earned media. The category recognizes the best use of earned media and media activations to draw attention to destinations, businesses, and special events. Fellow California destination nominees included Travel Paso and Visit Eureka.

And earlier this year, SCT also took home two Silver Adrian Awards – for Digital Marketing; as well as for the organization’s Recovery Campaign. The Adrian Awards, presented by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), recognizes excellence in travel marketing, including advertising, digital, public relations/communications, and integrated campaigns.

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About Sonoma County Tourism

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is the region’s official Destination Stewardship Organization. Through a multi-channel sales and marketing program, the organization promotes Sonoma County as a global visitor and meetings destination, where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Leveraging the region’s unmatched assets, wine, culinary, wellness, and sustainability continue to define its character. Visitors spent $1.97 billion in Sonoma County in 2021, a 58% increase over 2020 and employed 17,640 Sonoma Countians, a gain of 8.3% over 2020 hospitality job levels. SCT is working with partner businesses to rebuild the tourism economy, regain critical revenue, and re-establish a vibrant workforce, as the destination emerges from the pandemic. For more information, visit www.sonomacounty.com.

Media contacts:

Birgitt Vaughan, Director, Public Relations
Chris Vomvolakis, Senior Manager, Consumer Public Relations
[email protected]