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Iowa Tourism Organizations, Individuals Receive Awards at 2016 Conference

For more information contact:

Jessica O’Riley
Iowa Tourism Office, Iowa Economic Development Authority
515.240.8089 or
October 20, 2016 (Bettendorf, Iowa) — The Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa presented 27 awards recognizing excellence in the tourism industry at a ceremony this evening in Davenport during the 2016 Iowa Tourism Conference.

“Iowa’s tourism industry is full of hard-working, passionate people dedicated to delivering our legendary warm hospitality and providing travelers with lifelong memories,” said Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office. “These awards truly honor the best of the best.”

“There is no higher award in the state for tourism excellence,” said Keith Rahe, president of the Travel Federation of Iowa. “We’re pleased to recognize these recipients for their extraordinary efforts.”

Awards to both metro and rural areas were made in 13 award categories. In addition, conference attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award; nominees were the second-highest scoring nominations in 12 of the categories.  

The complete list of 2016 Iowa Tourism Award recipients:

Outstanding Attraction
Grout Museum District, Waterloo (Metro)
John Wayne Birthplace & Museum, Winterset (Rural; tie)
RVP~1875: History Boy Theatre Co., Jefferson (Rural; tie)

Outstanding Community
Pella (Metro)
City of LeClaire (Rural)

Outstanding Dining Business
The Diving Elk, Sioux City (Metro)
Checkerboard Restaurant, Pleasantville (Rural)

Outstanding Event
Des Moines Beer Week, Des Moines (Metro; tie)
Iowa Caucus Consortium, Des Moines (Metro; tie)
Charles City Challenge, Charles City (Rural)

Outstanding Individual Leader
Greg Edwards, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, Des Moines (Metro)
Mike Van Natta, Knoxville (Rural)

Outstanding Lodging Property
Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City (Metro)
Boulders Inn & Suites (Rural)

Outstanding Marketing Collaboration
Grout Museum District, Waterloo (Metro)

Outstanding New Event
Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau, NCAA Tournaments, Des Moines (Metro)
Art in the Park Elkader Fine Arts Festival, Elkader (Rural)

Outstanding Niche Marketing Initiative
GO Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids (Metro)
Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell (Rural)

Outstanding Promotional Material
Iowa State Fair, Des Moines (Metro)
Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Clear Lake (Rural)

Outstanding Retail Experience
Cedar Falls Community Main Street, Cedar Falls (Metro)
Bikes To You, Grinnell (Rural)

Outstanding Social Media Execution
Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau, Council Bluffs (Metro; tie)
GO Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids (Metro; tie)

Outstanding Website
GO Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids (Metro)
Villages of Van Buren, Van Buren County (Rural)

People’s Choice Award: 
Dubuque (Community of the Year)

The annual Iowa Tourism Conference brings together nearly 300 industry representatives from across the state to network, attend educational sessions and discuss emerging industry trends. 

Tourism in Iowa generates more than $8.06 billion in expenditures and $466 million in state taxes, plus employs 67,400 people statewide. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. To learn more, visit, call 800.345.IOWA, or stop at any Iowa Welcome Center. Travelers can find additional inspiration on the blogFacebookTwitterPinterest boards, Instagram account, or You Tube channel.
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