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Arizona Office of Tourism Receives Prestigious National Award

August 29, 2008

Arizona Office of Tourism Receives Prestigious National Award

PHOENIX (August 29, 2008) — The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) was awarded the prestigious Mercury Award by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) for its innovative and cooperative marketing campaign, Arizona Origins. Margie A. Emmermann, director of AOT, accepted the award at the Education Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) annual conference in Bonita Springs, Florida on August 26.

The Mercury Award 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.

Launched in 2007, Arizona Origins was developed by AOT in conjunction with the release of the National Geographic Arizona-Sonora Desert Region Geotourism MapGuide, a guide showcasing nearly 85 unique geotourism locations throughout the Sonoran Desert region. The MapGuide was created in partnership with National Geographic and the Mexican State of Sonora. This was the first bi-national MapGuide of its kind. AOT launched Arizona Origins to extend Geotourism marketing opportunities beyond the MapGuide and assist Arizona communities in applying the principles of Geotourism to their own marketing activities.

Arizona Origins focuses on the state’s cultural, environmental, historical and heritage assets, bringing a more holistic approach to celebrating these unique Arizona attributes. AOT developed this marketing campaign to featuring online and print advertising that drove traffic to a special Arizona Origins Web site, accessible from AOT’s consumer site, This interactive Web site features the National Geographic MapGuide and also highlights many of the geotourism sites not incorporated in the hard copy of the map.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive such a distinguished award and could not have been accomplished without the great partnerships we have with National Geographic and the Sonora Office of Tourism,” said Emmermann. “Arizona Origins has been a highly-effective tool in helping us promote the diverse culture and heritage of Arizona and we look forward to expanding this marketing campaign to feature other areas of Arizona.”

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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