Shawnee Hills Wine Trail wins tourism award

Where to stop along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
Shawnee Hills Wine Trial was one of four Silver Lining Stories winners.(tcw-kfvs12)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:18 PM CST
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CHICAGO, Ill. (KFVS) - An awards ceremony honoring tourism leaders in Illinois included special recognition for how communities responded throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The new Silver Lining Stories initiative awards were announced on Monday, December 6 during the 2021 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Honorees were selected by their industry peers who voted on the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism Facebook page.

Shawnee Hills Wine Trial was one of four Silver Lining Stories winners.

The wine trail picked up the ‘Best Pivot’ award.

The award spotlights the business or individual that changed their business model during the pandemic that innovated a result.

Southernmost Illinois Tourism nominated Shawnee Hills Wine Trial for the award.

The three other Silver Lining Stories winner were:

  • Best Support for Essential Workers - Project Front Line, nominated by Visit McHenry County. The award is for organizations, individuals or businesses that stepped up for essential workers and helped make their lives better.
  • Most Engaged Community Partner - Vine Street Market, farmers market at O’Fallon Station, nominated by ILLINOISouth Tourism. The award is for an individual, business or organization that supported their community in multiple ways over a period of time.
  • Most Innovative Pandemic Startup - Takeout 25, nominated by Visit Oak Park. The award is for a travel/tourism business that successfully launched during COVID and created a sustainable business.

“Congratulations to the small businesses and community groups who were nominated for the Silver Lining Stories,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “Their stories spotlight the ingenuity, resilience and resourcefulness we saw in the tourism industry and across Illinois as folks pivoted to help each other and be in service to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards were also presented to the state’s most innovative tourism marketing initiatives from convention and tourism bureaus (CVB), prior to the pandemic.

Each submission was judged in eight categories for Budget A organizations and Budget B organizations. Budget A organizations have an annual operating budget of $500,000 or more and Budget B organizations have budgets less than $500,000.

The following are the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Award winners:

Best Niche Targeting

  • Budget A – Heritage Corridor CVB, 2019 Heritage Corridor Ale Trail
  • Budget B – Ottawa Visitors Center, Local Food Restaurant Week
  • Budget B – Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, History in Your Backyard

Best Social Media Marketing

  • Budget A – Galena CVB, Facebook milestone Galena
  • Budget B – Quincy Area CVB, Best Postcard Pic FB Contest + Inside Guide

Best Branding Initiative

  • Budget A – Rockford Area CVB, 2019 International Table Tennis Federation North American Olympic Table Tennis Trials
  • Budget B – Elgin Area CVB, Ring Around Elgin
  • Budget B – Galesburg CVB, Experience Galesburg Rebrand

Best Cooperative Partnership

  • Budget A – Visit Lake County CVB, Visit Lake County - Six Flags Great America and Lincolnshire Marriott Resort
  • Budget B – Sports Illinois, Sports Huddle 2019

Best Event or Festival

  • Budget A – Illinois Restaurant Association, Chicago Gourmet
  • Budget B – The Joliet Area Historical Museum, A Night Behind Bars

Best Website

  • Budget A – Choose Chicago, Choose Chicago Website
  • Budget B – Elgin Area CVB, Explore Elgin Website

Best Tourism Marketing

  • Budget A – The Art Institute of Chicago, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again
  • Budget B – Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Wrigleyville Wonderland

Best Printed Collateral

  • Budget A – ILLINOISouth, ILLINOISouth Kids Activity Book Series
  • Budget B – Great Rivers Country, Antiques in Illinois

Best International Marketing

  • Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Route 66

Best PR Campaign

  • Navy Pier, The Beach Chicago

Best of Show

  • Illinois Restaurant Association

The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism wraps up on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

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