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Arizona Office of Tourism Receives Prestigious Mercury Award

August 24, 2006

Contact: Jacki Mieler, (602) 364-3697
August 24, 2006

Arizona Office of Tourism Receives Prestigious Mercury Award

The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) recognized the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) as an innovative leader among state tourism offices, presenting the director with a prestigious Mercury Award for international marketing during the annual Education Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference on August 22.

The Mercury Awards is a national awards program that was initiated by the National Council of State Tourism Directors, an industry council of TIA. The program was created to recognize TIA members for excellence and creative accomplishment in state tourism marketing and promotion, and to showcase outstanding work and the continued development of truly imaginative and exciting destination marketing and promotion programs.

AOT received a Mercury Award for its Grand Canyon IMAX Road Show campaign. The promotion was an effort to “reclaim the Grand Canyon,” an objective set forth by Governor Janet Napolitano. The Grand Canyon IMAX Road Show was held in April 2005 in six major UK cities – Glasgow, Bradford, Bristol, Manchester, London and Birmingham. The Road Show spanned three weeks, with two cities being featured each week, giving local schoolchildren and general audiences the opportunity to view the film and learn more about the history and geology of the Grand Canyon. In total, more than 7,700 UK resident saw the film.

AOT Director Margie A. Emmermann accepted the award during the ESTO Awards Gala on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, in Minneapolis, MN.

“I am honored that the Arizona Office of Tourism was selected as the recipient of such a distinctive award,” Emmermann said. “This promotion was an incredible collaborative effort and everyone involved deserves to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to promoting the Grand Canyon State.”

The Grand Canyon IMAX Road Show was made possible by a number of valuable partnerships, including British Airways, which donated six 12-day packages for two to Arizona, including airfare, car rental, and accommodations. In addition, British Airways donated 12 places on a familiarization tour to Arizona, giving two travel agents at each screening the opportunity to experience the Grand Canyon firsthand and expand their Arizona product knowledge. Media relations also played a significant role in the Road Show, as it is an inexpensive way to generate more buzz about the film and Arizona. Travel writers from the regional and national newspapers in the UK were invited to explore Arizona before the Road Show to see what the Grand Canyon State has to offer and generate interest in the upcoming movie screening. To date, AOT has generated more than $550,000 in free publicity about Arizona as a result of the Grand Canyon IMAX Road Show campaign.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $645 billion travel industry. TIA’s mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. More information on TIA is available at

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion and development. AOT works to serve the Grand Canyon State’s travel industry and related businesses, the traveling public, and the taxpayers of Arizona.

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