"Shining Example Awards highlight some of the best work in travel and tourism, and winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow," said STS President and CEO Bill Hardman.  2016 winners were celebrated the evening of September 8, 2016, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, Birmingham, Alabama.

2017 Award Winners will be announced at the STS Annual Meeting in Spring 2018.  The time period examined is January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017. Online submissions deadline: December 31, 2017 *Stay Tuned for this year's nomination categories and online submission link.

Nominate Your Star

Receive the recognition you deserve. Nominate your star, your partners, your region for a Shining Example Award and be in the spotlight as one of Tourism’s Best & Brightest in the Southeast.

Shining Example Awards recognize outstanding contributions in professional tourism across its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia & West Virginia.

2016 Award Winners

  • Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia
  • State Tourism Office of the Year Louisiana Office of Tourism
  • Tourism Office of the Year - Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing in Florida (budget less than $2 million); Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast (budget greater than $2 million)
  • Best Marketing - Bath County (Virginia) Tourism (budget of less than $100,000); The Columbus (Georgia) CVB (budget of $100,000 to $499,000); Wild, Wonderful West Virginia (budget of more than $500,000)
  • Tourism Partnerships - Auburn and Opelika Tourism Bureau, Central Alabama Mountain, Pedalers and Chewacla State Park
  • Top 20 Event/Festival of the Year - Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown & Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia
  • Tourism for Tomorrow - Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Governmental Tourism Leadership Award - Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia
  • Rising Star Award - Tom Shinall, director of marketing, Booth Western Art Museum
  • Beacon Award - Rick Taylor, executive director, Hattiesburg Convention Commission & Hattiesburg Tourism Commission in Mississippi
  • Best Niche Marketing Campaign - Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
  • Chairman of the Board Award - Franci Edgerly of ITI Digital
  • Spirit of STS Award - Tami Reist, president and CEO, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association