Tourism Excellence Awards

The New York State Tourism Industry Association will recognize leaders in New York State's tourism industry who have achieved a high level of excellence and accomplishment. Winning individuals or organizations are selected on the basis of demonstrated commitment, leadership, and accomplishment in the travel and tourism sector for the calendar year 2016.

Winners will be honored at the NYSTIA Annual Meeting Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen, NY. See below for brief descriptions.


Have a nominee you would like to submit for the awards this year?

If you are already logged into your NYSTIA Account -- click on the Submission Instructions link to the left.

If not, please Login to your Member or Guest Account, select a category and submit your nominee.

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Award Categories at a Glance (log in for more details and additional requirements):

Excellence in Tourism Marketing: Entries shall include an organization's planning and implementation of overall marketing strategy for an attraction, destination or region that is creative and innovative, and resulted in increased attendance, public and private partnerships, media exposure, website activity and/or consumer response. There will be multiple categories:

  • Entities within the public sector with budgets less than $500,000
  • Entities within the public sector with budgets over $500,000
  • Tourism Marketing Statewide Effort
  • Tourism Marketing Regional Effort
  • Tourism Marketing County Effort

Cultural Heritage: This category includes programs or projects aimed at exposing visitors to the state's unique cultural aspects, increasing visitation to a community or region, and stimulating the local economy. Examples: community promotions exclusively featuring arts, history and/or culture, interpretive exhibits, websites or printed materials; special events such as festivals, and trails (e.g. wine & food, history or recreation). Two categories:

  • Entities with budgets less than $500,00
  • Entities with budgets over $500,000

Tourism Economic Development: Entries are those individuals, communities, or organizations that have fostered economic development and/or enhance a destination as a result of revitalizing a downtown, adaptive reuse of a historic structure to be used as visitor center, museum, restaurant or lodging facility; and/or, encouraged development of a tourism attraction.

Visitor Service: This award goes to a tourism promotion agency, community or attraction that has worked strategically to welcome visitors more effectively. Projects/Programs may include, but not limited to, providing front-line staff or docent training, tourism readiness workshops or symposiums, informative and visitor friendly websites, and/or interactive visitor centers focused on “going the extra mile" to serve the public.

Excellence in Leadership: This award shall honor a tourism professional for excellence in leadership through outstanding initiative, impact of their work, and the inspiration of others.

Young Professional Leadership: Do you work alongside young colleagues who have captured your attention because of their outstanding abilities? Have they shown a strong commitment to increasing their expertise in the travel and tourism industry? Have they demonstrated a capacity to become a future leader in our industry? Tell us about them. We want to provide the opportunity to recognize the brightest rising star!

Partner in Tourism: This award recognizes individuals, groups, partnerships, product developers and/or government entities that are not DMOs/TPAs. Qualified nominees have made unique contributions that support, guide, improve or innovate the New York State tourism industry. They have taken active roles in developing tourism opportunities in New York State that increase visitation and tourism expenditures. Examples of a partner in tourism could include a marketing firm, a print or digital media provider, a non-profit organization, an operator of a new event or business, or a community leader.