The U.S. Travel Association announced the recipients of the 2018 Mercury and Destiny Awards and the State Tourism Director of the Year at its 35th annual ESTO conference (the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations), held here August 11-14.

Twenty-six U.S. Travel member organizations were honored for excellence and creative accomplishments in destination marketing and inspiring the continued development of imaginative promotional programs.

Mercury and Destiny Awards

A full list of the Mercury and Destiny Award recipients is available online.

The Destiny Awards recognize excellence in destination marketing on the local and regional level, while the Mercury Awards recognize this achievement on the state level. A judging panel of marketing experts from organizations including JPMorgan Chase, Hylink North America and the University of South Carolina selected the winners for these two award programs.

New this year, both the Mercury and Destiny Awards featured a People’s Choice category. Voting was open to all U.S. Travel DMO and state tourism office members, as well as ESTO delegates.

State Tourism Director of the Year

The National Council of State Tourism Directors selected Sara Otte Coleman of the North Dakota Tourism Division as 2018’s State Tourism Director of the Year. This annual award recognizes a state tourism director who has successfully raised the profile of his or her state as a travel and tourism destination. Each year’s honoree is selected by a panel of their peers; prior to ESTO, state tourism directors from all U.S. states and territories vote for the individual exhibiting the most impressive achievements in destination marketing.


U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.3 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation's economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit for more information.



Cathy Reynolds

Manager, Media Relations and Lead Manager, IPW Press Operations

Email ›

Jamie Morris

Manager, Media Relations

Email ›