Heritage Corridor Destinations Earns Two Top Awards from State

Heritage Corridor Destinations staff and board accept award on stage with Deputy Director Daniel Thomas of the Illinois Office of Tourism, from left, Daniel Thomas, Claire Mierzwa, Lauren Las, Bob Navarro and Greg Peerbolte.
Heritage Corridor Destinations staff and board accept award on stage with Deputy Director Daniel Thomas of the Illinois Office of Tourism, from left, Daniel Thomas, Claire Mierzwa, Lauren Las, Bob Navarro and Greg Peerbolte.

Heritage Corridor Destinations recently received two prestigious Excellence in Tourism awards at the 2024 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism in Peoria.

These awards recognize the organization’s dedication to promoting travel throughout the six counties of the Heritage Corridor.

• Best Branding Initiative – Budget A: Heritage Corridor’s refreshed brand identity, including a new logo, name, and visual style, earned top honors in the large budget category.
• Best PR Campaign – Budget A: The “Great American Road Trip,” a collaborative effort with WJOL, secured the award for Best PR Campaign. The campaign featured 10 live radio shows following morning host Scott Slocum’s journey along the Mother Road, highlighting attractions in The First Hundred Miles of Route 66 along with his travels.

“We’re incredibly proud to be recognized by the Illinois Governor’s Conference for our branding and PR efforts,” said Bob Navarro, President and CEO of Heritage Corridor Destinations. “These awards are a testament to the hard work and creativity of our team, and we’re proud that our efforts to increase the economic impact of tourism in our communities were recognized tonight.”

In 2023, the organization debuted a new name, shifting away from Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau and into a modern, consumer-facing brand. The new logo features a silhouette of the state of Illinois, with icons of the organization’s three brand pillars depicted inside of it – The First Hundred Miles of Route 66, Starved Rock Country, and the I&M Canal Towns. Heritage Corridor showcased the new look at three “New Year, New Brand” events held at Clarks Run Creek in Utica, Barrel & Vine restaurant in Lemont, and the Joliet Area Historical Museum.

The Great American Road Trip celebrated The First Hundred Miles of Route 66 with a marathon of live radio remote broadcasts across the country by WJOL morning host Scott Slocum. Slocum and Heritage Corridor Destinations worked together to plan the route, collect interviews from luminaries along the way, and produce 10 live morning shows on 1340AM WJOL and streaming nationwide.

The shows, interviews, and accompanying articles and videos documented the incredible people and stories along the Route, especially in the Heritage Corridor region, and inspired people to plan their Route 66 road trips at TheFirstHundredMiles.com.

The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards are presented annually at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism to honor the best tourism marketing and advertising initiatives across the state. Industry professionals judge each submission. Budget A is for total annual operating budget of $750,000 or more. Budget B is for total annual operating budget of under $750,000.

 

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