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Tourism Conference Award Nominations

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards celebrate the outstanding people, events, marketing initiatives and activities that help to make Minnesota a premier travel destination

The awards will be presented during the 2020 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, Minnesota, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. Click here for more information about the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference.

The Explore Minnesota Tourism Awards recognize outstanding achievements in the following categories:


These awards are an opportunity for destinations to nominate the people and businesses in their own communities who are doing outstanding work on a local level to further tourism.

  • Tourism Trailblazer Award
    Recognizing creative and innovative ideas in the area of tourism marketing, promotion, product development or enhancement of the customer experience; given to a community, individual business or person.
    Submit nomination here

  • NEW Event of the Year
    Celebrating a new limited-time or annual public event (2018/2019), which has had a significant and lasting impact on the community; presented to an event or event organizers.
    Submit nomination here

  • ONLY IN MN Icon Award
    Recognizing an iconic business, attraction or event, which has become synonymous with a community or the state; exemplifying the spirit of ONLY IN MN
    Submit nomination here

  • Marketing Partner of the Year
    Outstanding marketing, social, web or special project executed by an individual business, enhancing overall visibility of a community and directly impacting visitor travel to the area.
    Submit nomination here


Honoring exceptional destination marketing efforts and execution; single or multi-community initiatives. Two awards will be given in each category: Overall organizational budgets under $300K; and overall organizational budgets over $300K.

  • Branding and Integrated Marketing Campaign
    Effective integration of two or more components of a marketing campaign.Includes advertising, digital media, print, social, public relations, etc.
    Submit nomination here

  • Niche Targeting
    Marketing campaign/initiatives directed to a specific type or category of travel including but not limited to: hunting/fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, cultural heritage tourism, agritourism, ecotourism, culinary, etc
    Submit nomination here

  • Social Media Campaign
    Submit nomination here
  • Special Project (public relations, website, branding, co-op or other)
    Submit nomination here



Honoring individuals in recognition of major and lasting contributions to the promotion of the Minnesota travel product or dedication to and development of the Minnesota travel industry.


  • Tourism Rising Star Award
    This award recognizes an individual who has joined Minnesota's tourism industry within the last five years and has exhibited the skills and abilities to excel in the tourism industry; is mindful of their role in making the state a better place to visit; is passionate about promoting travel and tourism in Minnesota.
    Submit nomination here

  • Outstanding Individual in Tourism
    Presented to an individual who has actively worked to advance tourism, conducting statewide programs that enhance, underwrite, and promote the tourism industry in Minnesota. This person may be a volunteer or an employee of a tourism-related or other business. Special consideration will be given to level of achievements, time period of involvement, and overall contributions to the State's image and/or tourism industry.
    Submit nomination here

Deadline for nominations is Friday, November 29, 2019
Please limit supplemental uploads to 100MB. Large files may cause the forms to time out.


  • ONLY IN MN and Destination Marketing awards recognize achievements from October 2018 through October 2019.
  • Due to their close relationship with Explore Minnesota Tourism including staffing and financial support, the Governor's Fishing Opener, Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener, Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener are not eligible.


Questions?  Contact Dave Bergman at Explore Minnesota Tourism at 888-563-7777 or

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