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Courier's 2019 Distinguished Dozen

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posted January 14, 2019
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Courier’s Distinguished Dozen program offers NTA tour operators a way to recognize their partners: NTA tour suppliers and destination marketing organizations whose representatives provide a high-quality, high-value product—with great customer service. The gold, silver and bronze winners in each of the 12 categories are listed below.

Sightseeing Cruise Company

Hornblower
Photo by Hornblower Cruises

Gold

Hornblower Cruises & Events
Founded in 1980, Hornblower provides cruises from seven California port cities—San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Marina del Rey and San Diego—and excursions to the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls in New York State.
Estelle Miller emiller@hornblower.com

Silver

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
Chris Shepler, chris@sheplersferry.com

Bronze

Entertainment Cruises
Liz Gilbert, lgilbert@entertainmentcruises.com


Sightseeing Rail Company

Durango and Silverton
Photo by Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Gold

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
“2018 was one of the most challenging years our little scenic railroad has ever faced in our 136 years of operation. Thank you, thank you NTA tour operators for sticking with us during the fire and then the flooding. Your loyalty means everything to us.”
—Carrie Whitley, cwhitley@durangotrain.com

Silver

Rocky Mountaineer
Josh Mahon, jmahon@rockymountaineer.com

Bronze

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Corrine Williams, cwilliams@cumbrestoltec.com


Casino/Gaming Property

Mohegan Sun
Photo by Jason Koburov

Gold

Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, Conn.)
“Being the best in delivering an incredible product and guest service is certainly what we strive for at Mohegan Sun, so being atop the casino and gaming list is quite an honor. NTA and Courier do an amazing job for the travel industry, and we greatly value the relationship.”
—Ray Pineault, president and general manager;
NTA contact: Stephen Olender, solender@mohegansun.com

Silver

Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort (Worley, Idaho)
Dee Dee McGowan, wmcgowan@cdacasino.com

Bronze

Tulalip Resort Casino (Tulalip, Wash.)
Tracy Banfield, tracyb@tulalipresort.com


Museum for Groups

Crazy Horse Memorial
Photo by Crazy Horse Memorial

Gold

Crazy Horse Memorial
“NTA has allowed me—and Crazy Horse Memorial—to build lasting, genuine relationships and friendships with tour operators.”
—Amanda Allcock, amanda.allcock@crazyhorse.org

Silver

Newseum
Monica Garney, mgarney@newseum.org

Bronze

Corning Museum of Glass
Melissa Rose, rosemm@cmog.org


North American DMO Partner (State/Province)

NY Tourism
Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks region of Upstate New York (Photo by CC Flickr/Heipei: bit.ly/2OeG6TK)

Gold

New York State Division of Tourism
As they explore the Empire State’s 11 diverse regions, visitors can enjoy a range of experiences—from wine tasting, farm-to-table dining and the best of Broadway to world-class museums, historical battlefields and the roar of Niagara Falls.
Danae Jones-Persip, danae.jones@esd.ny.gov

Silver

Travel Oregon
Jenna Wheatley, jenna@traveloregon.com

Bronze

Travel Alaska
Tanya Carlson, tcarlson@alaskatia.org


International DMO Partner

Visit Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Photo by VisitScotland)

Gold

VisitScotland
“We’re absolutely delighted to receive gold again in this year’s Distinguished Dozen. North America is a huge inbound market for Scotland, and NTA provides us with a fantastic platform to showcase the country’s rich history and awe-inspiring landscapes, which draw so many visitors from across the Atlantic every year.”
—Gwen Raez, senior marketing manager;
NTA contact: Nicole Graham, nicole.graham@visitscotland.com

Silver

Jordan Tourism Board
Malia Asfour, malia@visitjordan.com

Bronze

Mexico Tourism Board
Alfonso Sumano Lazcano, asumanol@promotur.com.mx


Group-friendly Restaurant

Cracker Barrel
Photo by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Gold

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
“At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, we share warm welcomes and friendly service while offering guests quality homestyle food and unique shopping—all at a fair price. Guests are cared for like family in our more than 655 locations in 45 states.”
—Tammy Phillips, tammy.phillips@crackerbarrel.com

Silver

Hard Rock International
Tara Hippensteel, tara_hippensteel@hardrock.com

Bronze

Golden Corral
Carolyn Boss, CTP, groupsales@goldencorral.net


Corporate Hotel Chain

Hilton
Photo by Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Gold

Hilton Hotels & Resorts
“We are grateful to be recognized by our industry peers, and we always look forward to welcoming groups. Conrad Hilton’s vision is to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality by delivering exceptional experiences at every hotel … to every guest … every time.”
—Mayumi Florek, mayumi.florek@hilton.com

Silver

Drury Hotels
Amy Defrancesco, amy.defrancesco@druryhotels.com

Bronze

Best Western Hotels & Resorts
Michelle Zajac, zajac@bestwestern.com


North American DMO Partner (City/Region)

Empire State Building
Photo by Julienne-Schaer

Gold

NYC & Company
NYC & Company is the official destination marketing organization for the five boroughs of New York City. Our mission is to maximize travel and tourism opportunities throughout the city, build economic prosperity and spread the dynamic image of New York City around the world.
John A. Marshall, jmarshall@nycgo.com

Silver

Destination DC
Lindsay Hill, lindsay.hill@destinationdc.com

Bronze

Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Stacy Shreffler, sthornton@bostonusa.com


Individual/Independent or Boutique Hotel Property

Hotel Zephyr
Photo by Hotel Zephyr

Gold

Hotel Zephyr at Fisherman’s Wharf (San Francisco)
“Hotel Zephyr, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, is within walking distance to many of the city’s most popular attractions. The hotel has a fun container port theme with a game room and large outdoor yard area.”
—Tony Swiecichowski, tony.s@hotelzephyrsf.com

Silver

Holiday Inn Capitol (Washington, D.C.)
Eric Pittfield, eric.pittfield@hicdc.com

Bronze

Apple Farm Inn & Trellis Court (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
James Leigh, jamesl@applefarm.com


Big-ship or River Cruise Company

NCL
Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Gold

Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line sails around the globe, offering guests a chance to explore ports of call on their own time and experience award-winning entertainment, superior guest service, up to 27 dining options and more across all of the brand’s 16 ships.
Liz Finn, efinn@ncl.com

Silver

Royal Caribbean Cruises
Anthony Meloro, ameloro@rccl.com

Bronze

Holland America Line
Heidi Jo Davis, hdavis@hollandamerica.com


Theater/Show Venue

Broadway
Photo by Broadway Inbound

Gold

Broadway Inbound/Shubert Organization
“Broadway Inbound is honored to be a Distinguished Dozen gold recipient for the fourth year running. We are committed to providing the best Broadway experiences possible, and this acknowledgement from our NTA peers indicates we must be doing something right!”
—Peter Waugh, peterw@broadwayinbound.com

Silver

Sight & Sound Theatres
Simi Telesco, simi.telesco@sight-sound.com

Bronze

Boston Pops Orchestra/Boston Symphony Orchestra/Tanglewood
Megan Cokely, mcokely@bso.org