2024 Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards

About the Awards

Entries for 2024 awards closed at 5 pm on Friday, February 9.  There will be no further extensions.

Get ready for one of the most coveted events in Illinois tourism: the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards! This prestigious awards show is a chance for the state to honor innovative tourism marketing initiatives that promote outstanding destinations, attractions and events throughout Illinois. We know there is no shortage of great work coming from every corner of the state and can’t wait to see all of this year’s submissions – no doubt it will be a competitive year! With two budget categories – Budget A is over $750K and Budget B is under $750K – no project is too big or too small to be considered.

Explore the following categories that we will recognize at this year’s award show: 

  • Outstanding Niche Targeting (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Marketing efforts directed to a specific type or category of travel, including but not limited to: cultural heritage tourism, agritourism, ecotourism, adventure tourism, wildlife tourism, voluntourism, LGBTQ, culinary, girlfriend getaways, etc.
  • Best Social Media Marketing (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Creative use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and other popular social media platforms to promote a tourism experience or product. Results should include analytics, performance against targets, dashboard data (likes, engagement, re-tweets, pins, shares, growth over period) and paid tactics.
  • Best Cooperative Partnership (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Any campaign, program, tour, publication, event or other activity that is the result of partnership between three or more destinations, businesses or organizations who share resources to promote a common tourism experience or product. Results should include clear statement of partnership goals; any/all results, depending on activation media used.
  • Best Branding Initiative (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Campaign, tool or activity designed to revitalize the destination brand, establish new brand identity or create brand awareness. May include industry economic impact messaging.
  • Best Website (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Website used to promote a destination with criteria based on design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use. Results should include in addition to the number of unique visitors, time on site, signals of intent to travel and any other relevant conversion metrics.
  • Best Printed Collateral (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Entries can include, but are not limited to: printed visitor guides, print advertising pieces, brochures, etc. Entry should include information on media plan, targeting, audience and specific results. Metrics should include: print quantity, distribution and audience.
  • Best Event or Festival (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Event or festival designed to attract visitors to an area and provide a positive economic impact including hotel overnight stays and restaurant revenue.
  • Best PR Campaign (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Campaigns may be directed at niche markets or a general travel audience.Campaigns may also relate to special events, crisis management programs or overall tourism promotion. They must focus on a single, unified theme. Results should include: impressions, results, pick-up and social media (if applicable).
  • Best Tourism Marketing Campaign (Budget A | Budget B)
    • Marketing, promotion and/or campaign created to overall promote a tourism destination. This category recognizes creativity, innovation, clearly stated objectives and how those are measured, and the demonstrated results from a program that utilized multiple media components.
  • Best In Show

The winning entries will also be recognized in media releases and the Illinois Office of Tourism and Illinois Council of Convention and Visitor Bureaus newsletters.