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Brenda Sidoti and Georgia Turner
PARTNERS IN WINNING — Brenda Sidoti, media director at Benedict Advertising, and Georgia Turner, West Volusia Tourism’s executive director, bask in the tourism authority’s win at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism earlier this month.

The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority (WVTAA) has been honored with the state’s top tourism award at the 2021 Flagler Awards.

West Volusia won Best of Show for campaign budgets under $500,000 during an award ceremony at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Hollywood, hosted by Visit Florida earlier this month.

The Flagler Awards are an annual statewide competition recognizing outstanding Florida tourism-marketing efforts. Named for famed Florida land developer Henry Flagler, the Flagler Awards were established in 2000.

WV Flagler awards Best of Show
PHOTO COURTESY BENEDICT ADVERTISING
AND THE WINNER IS … — A projected display is shown to announce the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority’s Best of Show award presented at this year’s Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism, hosted by Visit Florida earlier this month.

This year, West Volusia took home Best of Show for marketing budgets under $500,000 for its “CoolCraft Beverage Trail” campaign. The idea behind the “CoolCraft Beverage Trail” sprang to life in 2019 during a creative discussion between Georgia Turner, executive director of the WVTAA, and Ann-Marie Willacker, the owner of Odd Elixir MeadWorks in Downtown DeLand.

While discussing unique ways to bring more people to the area during the summer months, they soon conceptualized a way to combine all the area’s breweries, coffee shops, vineyards, and establishments selling cold-pressed juices, meads, specialty cocktails, and even Key lime juice into a “trail.” The campaign rolled out in the summer of 2020.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be honored with Best of Show for the ‘CoolCraft Trail,’” said Turner. “This campaign is especially meaningful because it came about during a pandemic, when people were not visiting local establishments, but we were able to create and modify this trail to keep people safe and get them back into our establishments. It worked, and visitors came back, and business picked up!”

The “CoolCraft Beverage Trail” campaign was possible due to the combined efforts of WVTAA and its advertising agency, Benedict Advertising.

This is the third year in the past four that WVTAA has won a Flagler Award — it did not enter in 2020. In 2019, West Volusia took home the Bronze in Sustainable Tourism Marketing for the “Wings of the West” Mural Trail; and in 2018, it also won Best of Show and a Henry Award for Internet Advertising for its “What’s Up in West Volusia” Video Series.

West Volusia offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy parks and outdoor recreation of all kinds, pristine natural beauty, historical homes like Stetson Mansion, a vibrant Downtown DeLand — voted America’s Best Main Street — and award-winning restaurants within 14 distinct communities.

The West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority’s mission is to develop and support marketing and advertising programs that increase tourism to West Volusia, and to work with area hoteliers, tour providers, attractions, and event promoters to represent the area to vacationers, tour operators, travel and meeting planners, and the media.

For more information, go to visitwestvolusia.com.

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