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The Travel Industry Association Selects Ten Travel Industry
Organizations to Receive 2007 Odyssey Awards

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 Traveler.

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 Traveler magazine.

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 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 Resort.

International Inbound Discover America Marketing: “Virginia’s Royal Welcome”
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 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, 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 Indian Community
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 Express.

Cathy Keefe 
Also See: Holiday Inn Express Attributes TV Campaign to a 20% Increase in Revenue Per Room; The Stay Smart TV Spots Receives TIA Odyssey Award / Aug 2001


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