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Visit NC records banner week at U.S. Travel Association conference

Wit Tuttell Named Tourism Director of the Year, Campaign Takes Home Two Mercury Awards

Longtime Luquire client Visit North Carolina (VNC) has been raking in recognitions over the past few weeks, a testament to both a dynamic creative partnership and stellar client leadership.  

At last week’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), Visit North Carolina was honored with a Mercury Award from the National Council of State Tourism Directors for its “Drive-Thru Vacations” campaign, which Luquire concepted and developed to encourage contactless visits to some of the state’s most beloved sites at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Visit North Carolina also took home the Mercury People’s Choice Award, which was voted on by the U.S. Travel Association’s destination marketing organization members as well as all ESTO delegates. 

Honors were awarded in 31 categories for excellence and creativity in destination marketing and inspiring visitation, which has been a critical component to the rebound of the travel industry following COVID-19.  

And to round out the banner week, the National Council of State Tourism Directors named VNC’s Wit Tuttell as State Tourism Director of the Year. Tuttell, who has served as VNC director for more than a decade, is credited with helping lead the state’s hospitality industry through the pandemic while innovating and reimagining travel – guiding North Carolina to become one of the top-visited states in the nation.  

The honor specifically highlighted Tuttell’s leadership on Luquire brainchild Count On Me NC, a public health initiative that promoted safe travel practices to help businesses reopen in the wake of the pandemic. The highly successful effort nabbed VNC top honors as State Tourism Office of the Year at the most recent Southeast Tourism Society Shining Example Awards. 

USTA also credited Tuttell’s work to renew active travel last spring with Luquire’s new multichannel brand campaign, “Get Back to a Better Place.” The campaign saw a 32:1 return in state and local taxes generated per dollar of media investment, boosting the state’s market share and helping maintain its place among the five most-visited states in 2021. 

“While we are honored to have our agency’s work recognized by the U.S. Travel Association, the truth is none of our success would be possible without Wit Tuttell,” said Luquire CEO Brooks Luquire. “Wit is the kind of client that truly feeds our soul. Not only is he a visionary, but he allows our team the creative freedom to share lofty ideas, take risks and work collaboratively with the Visit NC team to make big dreams a reality.”  

And we’re happy the feeling is mutual


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