The Galesburg Tourism & Visitors Bureau won an award this week as part of the 2022 Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism.

Kicking off Monday, Dec. 5, at Navy Pier in Chicago, Gov. JB Pritzker attended the event to address conference attendees prior to the awards ceremony.

Gov. JB Pritzker spoke at the annual state travel and tourism conference, at Navy Pier in Chicago.

“It is an incredible honor to celebrate and recognize our state’s tourism industry leaders and innovators who work incredibly hard each day to make Illinois a premier travel destination,” Gov. Pritzker said in a Tuesday release.

“Their tourism marketing efforts have made an impact in their communities, reinvigorating local economies, and putting a spotlight on what makes Illinois an exceptional destination. As tourists gear up for a busy holiday travel season, we’re ready to welcome visitors near and far to experience everything Illinois has to offer, boosting our hospitality industry and bringing revenue to Illinois businesses.”

“The winners of the Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards reflect the resilience, creativity, and passion of Illinois’ dynamic tourism industry,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, we have awarded an unprecedented level of grant funding to support tourism recovery and we remain focused on supporting the tourism sector, driving economic development, and bringing our communities together.”

Representatives of the Galesburg Tourism & Visitors Bureau were honored at the conference with the Best Social Media Marketing award, Budget B. Pictured are (L-R) Sylvia Garcia, head of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Tessa Jones, Denise Gerstenberger and Randy Newcomb of Galesburg Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

Galesburg’s tourism agency won the Best Social Media Marketing Budget B, for its “Stop on the Scenic Drive” campaign. The best social media marketing awards for larger budget agencies went to Choose Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago and Visit Lake County, Spooks & Spirits Lake County, Illinois Autumn Celebration.

The Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards were presented to honor the 20 most successful tourism marketing and advertising initiatives, from convention and visitor bureaus and tourism destinations to attractions and innovators throughout the state who make Illinois shine, Tuesday’s release said.

Travel and tourism professionals from across the industry judged submissions in nine categories, ranging from best public relations and social media marketing campaigns to best event or festival, with one exceptional entry receiving best of show.

Each category contained a Budget A for organizations with annual operating budgets of $750,000 and above, and Budget B for organizations with budgets under $750,000.

The home page for Galena Country Tourism at

The top Best of Show award went to ILLINOISouth Tourism, which represents 21 counties stretching from the Mississippi River east of St. Louis, to the Wabash River west of Vincennes, Ind.

Galena Country Tourism won state awards for Best Niche Targeting and Best Branding Initiative.

This year’s Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards program was presented by the Illinois Office of Tourism. The conference is underway in Chicago, through Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Navy Pier. The annual conference brings hundreds of Illinois industry leaders, travel experts and visionaries together to explore the latest industry trends and insights that contribute to Illinois tourism, one of the leading economic drivers in the state.

You can find out great places to visit in Illinois at The Middle of Everything | Enjoy Illinois.

The annual State of the State Tourism Address will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The address will celebrate and reflect on Illinois’ successful tourism marketing and advertising efforts, including experiential activations, partnerships and the state’s award-winning tourism campaign, “The Middle of Everything” — all significant contributors to Illinois’ ongoing tourism recovery in 2022.