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U.S. Travel Association Honors Tourism Marketing Organizations with Awards
at Annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO)

Diane Shober Named 2012 State Tourism Director of the Year

WASHINGTON, D.C.- August 29, 2012 – Winners of the 2012 Mercury and Destiny awards, State Tourism Director of the Year and DMO Rising Star were announced during the U.S. Travel Association’s annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference held in Boston.

Mercury and Destiny Awards
The Mercury awards are given to state tourism offices by the National Council of State Tourism Directors (NCSTD) and the Destiny awards are given to destination marketing organizations at the local and regional levels by the Destinations Council . Both programs recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishment in tourism marketing and promotion, and to inspire the continued development of exciting destination marketing and promotion programs.

This year, the awards were judged by JWT, an internationally recognized marketing and communications firm. Judges offered a unique perspective because the agency was chosen to help develop Brand USA's national tourism promotion strategy.

Winners for the Mercury and Destiny awards are available online.

State Tourism Director of the Year
Wyoming's Diane Shober was honored by NCSTD as the 2012 State Tourism Director of the Year . The award annually recognizes a state tourism director who contributes to successfully raising the profile of their state as a travel and tourism destination. It's a unique honor as fellow state tourism directors cast the ballots in the election, selecting the individual exhibiting the most impressive achievements.

DMO Rising Star
The Destinations Council named Brandi Scott of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau as the 2012 DMO Rising Star of the Year . The new award recognizes the achievements of an individual working for a destination marketing organization for less than three years, but has already made significant contributions to the destination marketing industry.

Destination & Travel Foundation - Destinations Council Continuing Graduate Student Scholarship
George Washington University Masters of Tourism Administration candidate Yuri Horowitz received the 2012 Destinations Council Continuing Graduate Student Scholarship . Awarded to a graduate student in the field of travel and tourism, the winner is selected based on goals and accomplishments in travel.

About ESTO
ESTO is the premier national forum bringing together travel destination professionals from the local, state, and regional levels to share expertise, participate in educational activities, and leave with tools, tips and information to help better market and grow their destinations.

The U.S. Travel Association
is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and supports 14.4 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.  Visit www.ustravel.org.  Follow us on Twitter @ustravel
.
Contact:

Cathy Keefe
(202) 408-2183
ckeefe@ustravel.org





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