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SPECIAL TO THE BEACON

The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority has been honored with the top prize in the 2018 Flagler Awards, bringing home Best of Show during a ceremony at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Orlando Sept. 13.

The Flagler Awards are an annual statewide competition recognizing outstanding Florida tourism-marketing efforts.

West Volusia won Best of Show for marketing budgets under $500,000. Along with the top overall award for the night, West Volusia also won the Internet Advertising Award.

The Best of Show category celebrates the best and brightest in the tourism industry, paying tribute to those who use their skill, resourcefulness, creativity and innovative spirit to market Florida to the world.

Both West Volusia wins came from its video series, What’s Up in West Volusia, which focuses on what to do, where to stay and where to eat in the area. It showcases the many great natural, cultural and historical assets of West Volusia often overlooked or undiscovered by visitors.

“We are so honored to receive both these awards,” said Georgia Turner, executive director of the WVTAA. “Our What’s Up in West Volusia videos capture the area’s distinct charm, and it’s wonderful to see the hard work that went into the program recognized by our peers in the tourism industry.”

The new promotional campaign was possible due to the combined efforts of Turner and the WVTAA’s advertising agency, Benedict Advertising & Marketing, headed by Michael Benedict.

“Winning Best of Show is especially gratifying,” said Benedict. “We are very fortunate to have a great partner in Georgia who, along with the entire West Volusia tourism board, allows us to use our creativity to the fullest. These awards are wonderful affirmations of what a cohesive team effort can achieve — including our host Erica Group and videographer Jordan Kahn, who shot and edited these now award-winning videos!”

Named for famed Florida land developer Henry Flagler, the Flagler Awards were established in 2000 to recognize outstanding tourism marketing in Florida. The awards were presented in 17 categories, along with the three overall Best of Show winners based on budgets. The highest-scoring entry in each category received the prestigious Henry Award.

The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority’s mission is to develop and support marketing and advertising programs that bring increased tourism to West Volusia, and to demonstrate the desirability of West Volusia as a tourism destination. The authority works with area hoteliers, tour providers, attractions and event promoters, to represent the area to vacationers, tour operators, travel and meeting planners, and the media.

The WVTAA is the smallest of Volusia County’s three tourism-advertising entities and has a total budget — for marketing and operations — of about $910,000 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. Funding comes from taxes levied on hotels, campgrounds and other short-term rentals in West Volusia.

The other tourism-advertising entities promote the Greater Daytona Beach area and Southeast Volusia with total budgets for the coming fiscal year of more than $10 million and more than $2.5 million, respectively, derived from tax revenues raised within their districts.

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