The U.S. Travel Association announced the recipients of the 2021 Destiny and Mercury Awards and the State Tourism Director of the Year at the annual ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) conference, held August 15-17 in Los Angeles. Awards for 33 categories were presented for excellence in destination marketing and inspiring visitation, a critical component for the continued recovery of the travel industry.
Destiny And Mercury Awards
The Destiny Awards recognize excellence in destination marketing on the local and regional level, while the Mercury Awards recognize achievements on the state level. A judging panel of marketing experts from organizations, including HarperCollins Publishers, Hylink North America, Hilton, Tourism Cares and Socialisssima selected honorees in these award programs.
Visit Panama City Beach was the winner of the “Destiny People’s Choice” award, and the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism took home the “Mercury People’s Choice” award. Voting for this category was open to U.S. Travel’s destination marketing organization members, as well as all ESTO delegates. U.S. Travel created the People’s Choice award to increase delegate engagement at ESTO and allow for sharing of best practices and inspiration.
State Tourism Director Of The Year
The National Council of State Tourism Directors selected Brad Dean of Discover Puerto Rico as 2021’s State Tourism Director of the Year. This annual award recognizes a state tourism director who has successfully raised the profile of his or her state or U.S. territory as a travel and tourism destination. Each year’s honoree is selected by a panel of their peers; prior to ESTO, state tourism directors from all U.S. states and territories vote for the individual exhibiting the most impressive achievements in state-level destination marketing.