VMI Team Members Honored at Indiana Tourism Association Conference

VMI Team Members Honored at Indiana Tourism Association Conference
March 19, 2024 sarah@visitmadison.org

Left: VMI Marketing Associate Julia Gregory; Right: Sarah Prasil VMI Executive Marketing Director

Madison, Indiana {March 21, 2024} – Indiana’s premier tourism industry event, the annual Indiana Tourism Association (ITA) conference, unfolded from March 11-13 in Evansville, Indiana. Among the distinguished honorees were the members of the Madison/Jefferson County Tourism organization, Visit Madison, Inc. (VMI), who received accolades from both regional industry leaders and the ITA in the highly anticipated awards ceremony, as well as a graduate of the Indiana Tourism Academy.

The ITA conference awards spotlight outstanding achievements within the tourism sector, celebrating organizations that demonstrate creativity, innovation, and excellence in leveraging their investments.

The VMI Marketing team, comprising Sarah Prasil and Julia Gregory, garnered attention by submitting a series of projects across four categories: Best Visitors Guide, Best New Merchandise, Best Website, and Best IN Indiana Activation (state branding immersion). Their exceptional efforts were rewarded with victory in the Best New Merchandise category for marketing budgets under $300K. The newly launched VMI Gift Shop Collection & Souvenirs received acclaim for its comprehensive product refresh, success and resonating strongly with visitors.

Reflecting on the achievement, Sarah Prasil, Executive Marketing Director, remarked, “Redesigning the gift shop and souvenir items for VMI has been a significant endeavor. The revamped collection not only serves as a cherished memento of our visitors’ experiences but also enhances the vibrancy of our offerings, both onsite and the new online shop. Winning this award amidst tough competition is a testament to our commitment to excellence in tourism.” Julia Gregory added, “It is an honor to have been part of crafting merchandise that allows our visitors to commemorate the magic of Madison and residents a way to proudly display their hometown. This award is not only recognition of our team’s hard work but a testament to our dedication to the exceptional visitor experience.”

Andrew Forrester, echoing the sentiment, added, “The VMI Board of Directors and I extend our heartfelt congratulations to Sarah and Julia for their remarkable achievement. We are immensely proud of their dedication in elevating our gift shop offerings and look forward to further enriching the visitor experience through ongoing collaborations and innovations.”

The winners were:

  • Best Advocacy Initiative (Marketing Budgets under $300,000) – Huber’s Orchard & Winery
  • Best Advocacy Initiative (Marketing Budgets over $300,000) – Hamilton County Tourism, Inc.
  • Best Cooperative Partnership – Elkhart County, IN CVB
  • Best Digital Marketing Campaign (Marketing Budgets under $300,000) – LaGrange County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Best Digital Marketing Campaign (Marketing Budgets over $300,000) – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Best Event/Festival – Shelby County Tourism and Visitors Bureau
  • Best IN Indiana Activation – Visit Dubois County
  • Best New Experience (Marketing Budgets under $300,000) – Huber’s Orchard & Winery
  • Best New Experience (Marketing Budgets over $300,000) – Visit Hendricks County
  • Best New Merchandise (Marketing Budgets under $300,000) – Visit Madison, Inc.
  • Best New Merchandise (Marketing Budgets over $300,000) – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Best Specialty Item – Visit Hendricks County
  • Best Visitors Guide – Visit Fort Wayne
  • Best Overall Marketing Campaign – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
  • Best Website (Marketing Budgets under $300,000) – Huber’s Orchard & Winery
  • Best Website (Marketing Budgets over $300,000) – Visit Fort Wayne

Left: Andrew Forrester VMI Executive Marketing Director; Right: Jaime Bohler Smith ITA Academy Instructor & Hendricks County Executive Director

In 2022, the ITA introduced the Indiana Tourism Academy, aimed at nurturing and empowering tourism professionals across the state. As part of the Academy’s second-year cohort, ten graduates, including Andrew Forrester, Executive Tourism Director for VMI, were honored as Certified Indiana Tourism Professionals, underscoring their commitment to advancing the tourism landscape.

Expressing his appreciation, Andrew stated, “Participating in the Indiana Tourism Academy has been an enriching journey, deepening my understanding of tourism dynamics, particularly within Indiana. The insights gained have proved invaluable in enhancing our strategies at VMI, and I am honored to contribute to the advancement of our tourism product.”

Jeff Frazier, VMI Board President added, “as a member of the VMI BOD the last few years I’ve seen this team grow and persevere in ways that I could only admire. I can speak for the entire board when I say we are proud of these individuals for their contributions and successes in Madison and the Indiana tourism industry.”

Two hundred tourism leaders from around the state came to the Indiana Tourism Conference for networking and educational sessions over the three-days.

. . .

The Indiana Tourism Association’s mission is advocating the value of tourism in Indiana and supporting the best practices of its members. Established in 1980, the association partners with the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, Association of Indiana Restaurant and Lodging and other statewide associations to support tourism investment and promotion as an economic contributor to the state. For more information, visit www.IndianaTourismAssociation.com.

ITA Media Contact:
Carrie Lambert, carrie@indianatourismassociation.com


Visit Madison’s mission is to develop and promote authentic visitor experiences that enhance sustainable economic growth and quality of place for the City of Madison and Jefferson County. For more information, visit www.VisitMadison.org

VISIT MADISON, INC. MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Forrester or Sarah Prasil
812-265-2956 | andrew@visitmadison.org  | sarah@visitmadison.org


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