Annual Conference Honors Tourism Industry Achievements with Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards in Peoria

AURORA, IL—The Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (AACVB) received an Illinois Excellence in Tourism Award for its 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide

The awards were given at the Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism held this week in Peoria, Illinois. The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism is the state’s premier educational and networking conference for tourism industry professionals. 

The three-day conference began March 19 at the Peoria Civic Center with the 2024 Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards ceremony, honoring Illinois tourism leaders’ contributions to the industry. The annual conference, held in Peoria for the first time, unites more than 360 tourism and hospitality leaders, travel experts and visionaries to explore the latest industry trends and insights that contribute to Illinois tourism.

The Aurora Area CVB was recognized in the category of Best Printed Collateral Budget A, for organizations with an annual operating budget of $750,000 and above. 

“Thank you to the Illinois Office of Tourism and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for recognizing the 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide with this award,” said Cort Carlson, Executive Director of the AACVB. “We’re both honored and thrilled to share this recognition with our partners in Aurora Area tourism, the visitor attractions and lodging properties that make our region such an excellent travel destination.”

10 Ways to EnjoyAurora from the 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide
"10 Ways to #enjoyaurora" from the award-winning 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide

The 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide showcases all there is to see and do throughout the ten communities of the Aurora Area, with an emphasis on arts & entertainment at the award-winning Paramount Theatre

From a fantastical image of Broadway-bound actor Mikayla Renfrow as Cinderella on its front cover to a two-page “Showtime” spread highlighting Paramount’s Broadway and BOLD series lineups and a back cover sponsorship by the Aurora Civic Center Authority, the Go Guide emphasizes Paramount as one of the leading leisure travel draws to the Aurora Area. 

Paramount Theatre "Showtime" spread, 2023 Aurora Area Go Guide
Paramount Theatre's Broadway Series and BOLD Series are featured in the 2023 edition of the Aurora Area Go Guide.

Inside, readers are treated to in-depth coverage each of the ten communities serviced by the AACVB, as well as newly editorialized sections for outdoor recreation, entertainment, shopping, and dining, with topics ranging from the many “Tastes of Chicago” visitors can find at popular spots like Portillo’s and Lou Malnati’s to listings of the region’s top spots for spring blooms, wedding venues, and artisan markets.

“It is an incredible privilege to recognize and celebrate our statewide tourism partners at this year’s Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards,” said Daniel Thomas, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. “These awards are a reflection of our partners’ unwavering commitment to Illinois’ tourism industry, whose hard work and dedication promote Illinois as a premier travel destination.”

Aurora Area CVB Wins State Tourism Award TimeZoneOne
Right to left: Daniel Thomas, Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism; Brad Banks, Sports Sales Manager, Aurora Area CVB; James Cardis, Director of Marketing, Aurora Area CVB; Cort Carlson, Executive Director, Aurora Area CVB. Photo courtesy TimeZoneOne.

“The Aurora Area Go Guide is our key marketing collateral each year,” said James Cardis, Director of Marketing at the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Getting the Go Guide into potential visitors’ hands is a core component of all of our leisure marketing efforts, and we find that it helps to improve the perception of our regional destination for locals and travelers alike.”

The Aurora Area CVB promotes the region, comprising the communities of Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville, as a leisure travel destination to travelers throughout the Midwest and beyond.

“Visitor analytics and first-party data sources connected to our digital properties identify key attributes of our audience that inform the production and presentation of the Go Guide,” said Cardis. “We select creative assets and write guide copy with an audience of likely travelers in mind, emphasizing activities for families and young adult couples visiting the region as a budget alternative to staying in Chicago and for milestone events like weddings and holidays, as well as travelers in our sports and group tour markets.”

The Aurora Area Go Guide is available in print and online at the AACVB’s website, The 2024 edition of the Go Guide publishes soon, timed to capture interest and engagement for the spring and summer travel season.