Illinois enjoys two national tourism awards 


The Illinois Tourism Office is enjoying two U.S. Travel Association Mercury Awards for its tourism campaigns “Illinois: The Middle of Everything” and “Illinois Made.” 

“The Middle of Everything” campaign won the Best Public Relations Campaign award starring Illinois native Jane Lynch, an actor and first-time director. Launched in April at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, the campaign has created significant regional and national interest in Illinois destinations, including widespread media coverage and visitors to the Enjoy Illinois website. 

“Illinois Made,” a campaign celebrating small business owners, local craftspeople, artisans and artists, won The Roads Less Traveled category. 

The Mercury awards were announced recently at the 2022 ESTO (Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations) held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“We are honored to be recognized by the U.S. Travel Association for our efforts to drive tourism in every part of Illinois,” said Sylvia Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism. 

“‘Our Middle of Everything’ and ‘Illinois Made’ marketing campaigns showcase so much of what Illinois has to offer and demonstrate there is something for everyone in Illinois,” she added. 

The Illinois Made program inspires residents and visitors to discover the people, products and authentic off-the-beaten-path experiences created by small businesses found in every region of the state. The Quad Cities is home to four Illinois Made businesses: Navarro Canoe and Wild Cherry Spoon Co., both in Rock Island, and Lagomarcino’s and Dot’s Pots, both in Moline. 

The Illinois Office of Tourism shared the honors with its Public Relations Agency of Record TimeZoneOne, a global creative communications agency and its Creative Agency of Record, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP), a Chicago advertising agency.

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