|WASHINGTON, DC -- September 25, 2007 - The
Travel Industry Association (TIA), in partnership with National Geographic
Traveler, has selected ten travel industry organizations to receive 2007
Odyssey Awards, the premier recognition program for the $700 billion travel
and tourism industry, to reward them for attaining new levels of excellence.
These annual awards recognize the very best in the industry: the very best
marketing and advertising programs; the top promotion and public and community
service programs; and excellence in communications and building awareness
of tourism’s positive impact on our nation. This year the Odyssey Awards
featured a new award category to better reflect the efforts outside of
traditional travel and tourism marketing that impact our industry: The
Partnership for America Award.
“The Odyssey Awards are an unparalleled showcase of inspiring, successful
work across the U.S.,” said Roger Dow, TIA’s president and CEO. “Every
year, entries come in from all segments of the industry that are truly
exceptional – work that takes us into new, uncharted territory. These winners
have demonstrated creativity, resourcefulness, community involvement and
solid business results.”
“I am happy to return this year as a partner with TIA’s Odyssey Awards
in presenting the signature Geotourism Awards. Entries were reviewed and
selected by a team of judges from the National Geographic Traveler editorial
staff and showcase achievements in the field of sustainable tourism both
in the U.S. and abroad,” said Dawn Drew, chair of the TIA Odyssey Awards
judging committee and Vice President and Publisher of National Geographic
The winning programs for the Odyssey Award recipients are outlined below.
They will be formally honored at TIA’s Annual Awards Banquet, which takes
place October 23, during the TIA Marketing Outlook Forum in Charlotte,
NC.. All winners will be recognized in the January issue of National Geographic
Online Marketing: “Hungry Suitcase”
In order to tap into the vast market of first-time cruisers, Royal
Caribbean International took the unique step of launching an (initially)
unbranded highly interactive and immersive website experience at HungrySuitcase.com.
Through their lovable, hilarious, sassy spokes-suitcase Sammy, users were
invited to pack their bags (i.e. Sammy himself) with items representing
the vacation of his or her dreams. This allowed Sammy to calculate the
user’s perfect vacation destination as well as the user’s vacation personality.
Results were presented by Sammy to the user through an entertaining Broadway-like
show, generating the clear message that whatever the user wanted to do
their vacation, Royal Caribbean was the perfect vacation choice.
Domestic Discover America Marketing: “Twenty Bucks for The Road”
In an effort to combat high gas prices and a predicted slump in summer
travel, the South Dakota Office of Tourism developed a partnership with
the state’s ethanol industry to help ease the burden of gas prices, promote
South Dakota as an affordable travel destination and showcase the state’s
leadership in the production of alternative fuels. An aggressive PR campaign
generated tens of thousands of requests from non-resident travelers for
vouchers redeemable for a one-time $20 purchase of ethanol-related fuel
at participating South Dakota gas stations. An impressive 44% of vouchers
were redeemed by visitors generating an economic impact of nearly $13 million
for the state.
Partnership for America: “Passport to Dreams”
To minimize the negative impact of new WHTI passport regulations on
its Canadian guests, Disney Canada worked with its travel partners and
Passport Canada to develop an innovative savings program to encourage Canadian
travelers to visit Disney Parks. Leveraging the look and feel of a real
passport, the bilingual Passport to Dreams booklet provided consumers with
detailed information on how to get a passport and also contained discount
coupons for passport photos, as well as to Walt Disney World and the Disneyland
International Inbound Discover America Marketing: “Virginia’s Royal
To commemorate the historic visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
to Virginia for the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown, the Virginia Tourism
Corporation worked in tandem with the state Governor’s office to create
a memorable experience for Virginia’s citizens and its visitors. The result
was Virginia’s Royal Welcome, a day of musical performances by Virginia
artists in honor of the visit from The Queen. In addition, daily updates
on The Queen’s visit and a Royal Walkabout Lottery was promoted to that
54 winners and a guest—representing the 108 settlers that came to Jamestown—could
see The Queen during her visit.
International Travel Advertising: “Brits Wanted!”
Tourism Montréal targeted the UK market for the first time by
creating the BritsWanted.com website to present a personalized view of
Montréal through Montréalers’ eyes. The site featured 9 interviews
with real Montréalers, each presenting a specific aspect or theme
of their city, supported by images and facts.
Domestic Travel Advertising: “My Favorite Minnesota”
Explore Minnesota Tourism created an entire marketing campaign based
on insider advice from those who have traveled in their state. Utilizing
the campaign theme of “Who knows more about having fun in Minnesota than
Minnesotans,” consumers and travelers were invited to share their favorite
places to go and things to do in Minnesota by creating lists of their "favorites"
at www.exploreminnesota.com, the state’s official travel website. The redesigned
website connects people with the Minnesota tourism industry and gives users
detailed, authentic information from locals and enthusiasts, thus inspiring
people to plan their own Minnesota getaways.
Geotourism Award for Sustaining the Environment of a Place: Xanterra’s
“Yellowstone National Park Environmental Initiatives”
In an effort to reduce the impact of tourist-related operations on
the pristine Yellowstone environment, Xanterra developed a tremendous number
of environmental initiatives at the park. The company also developed the
tourism industry’s first Sustainability Reports. Xanterra’s goal was to
set the pace in the tourism industry by establishing the standards by which
other tourist-related organizations can measure themselves. Xanterra does
this through the process of disclosure and detailed measurement of environmental
progress, as well as impact. Through third-party verification and accountability
systems, Xanterra is proving that environmental performance in the tourism
sector is quantifiable, and therefore able to be improved upon.
Geotourism Award for Sustaining the Environment of a Place (Honorable
Mention): “Boundless PhiladelphiaTM”
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation developed this
image-building campaign to increase the perception of Philadelphia as an
eco-destination and to promote the vast collection of natural assets, outdoor
experiences and stewardship opportunities in Philly five-county region.
Geotourism Award for Sustaining and Indigenous Culture or Community:
The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa on behalf of the Gila River
The Resort was built in 2002 to be a showcase for the Pima and Maricopa
Tribes that comprise the GRIC. Their culture and heritage is woven into
every aspect of the Resort, offering an authentic and tangible cultural
experience for guests and visitors…nothing is done at the Resort that is
not authentic to the Pima and Maricopa Tribes. The main objective of the
Resort was to diversity the Community’s revenues beyond gaming and to provide
expanded careers, revenue streams and a legacy for Tribal members. The
second objective was to have the Tribes finally tell their story in their
own voice. The result is a preservation and resurgence of ancient Pima
and Maricopa traditions that were on the verge of extinction.
Geotourism Award for Sustaining and Indigenous Culture or Community
(Honorable Mention): “Tour Rhode Island—There’s No Place Like Home”
Designed to encourage Rhode Islanders to experience authentic, cultural,
historical and natural treasures as a tourist in their own state, this
program created local tourism ambassadors who understood the importance
of sustaining the state’s Geotourism assets. In turn, that message was
spread to friends, relatives and business associates. It also educated
and prepared RI tourism industry partners to create, market and promote
new Geotourism products based on the tours they develop each year.
The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization
representing all components of the $703 billion travel industry.
TIA's mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within
the United States. TIA is proud to be a partner in travel with American