Courier Announces Distinguished Dozen

Published on : Tuesday, December 8, 2015

NTACourier, the official monthly magazine for members of the National Tour Association, has announced the winners of its 2016 Distinguished Dozen awards. Tour operators voted to determine gold, silver and bronze awards in 12 categories. Now in its fifth year, the Distinguished Dozen program reflects not only the appeal of the winning tour suppliers and destination marketers, but also operators’ respect for the way their colleagues conduct business.



“It’s great to be honored by your industry peers, especially when it’s for best practices,” said Penny Whitman,Courier editor in chief. “That’s what we asked tour operator voters to recognize in this year’s Distinguished Dozen survey.”



NTA tour operators voted for top DMO and tour supplier partners based on quality of product, level of customer service, value to customers and dedication to relationship building. Winners will be featured in the January Courier, and gold recipients will be introduced at a luncheon during Travel Exchange, the association’s annual convention, in Atlanta, Jan. 31–Feb. 4.


Here is the slate of 2016 Distinguished Dozen winners. (Listed in parentheses, if needed, is the location; many winners operate in multiple locations.)


North American DMO Partner

Gold: Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Silver: NYC & Company

Bronze: Destination DC


Overseas DMO Partner

Gold: Visit Scotland

Silver: Switzerland Tourism

Bronze: Jordan Tourism Board North America


Casino/Gaming Property

Gold: Caesars Entertainment

Silver: Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, Connecticut)

Bronze: Beau Rivage by MGM Resorts International (Biloxi, Mississippi)


Corporate Hotel Chain

Gold: Hilton Worldwide

Silver: Drury Hotels

Bronze: InterContinental Hotels Group


Independent/Boutique Hotel Property

Gold: Biltmore Estate & Hotels (Asheville, North Carolina)

Silver: Empire Hotel Group (New York City)

Bronze: Main Street Hospitality Group at The Red Lion Inn—Independent Hotels in The Berkshires (Stockbridge, Massachusetts)


Group-friendly Restaurant

Gold: Hard Rock International

Silver: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Bronze: Planet Hollywood/Buca di Beppo


Museum for Groups

Gold: Newseum (Washington, D.C.)

Silver: National September 11 Memorial & Museum (New York City)

Bronze: Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)


Big-ship/Ocean Cruise Company

Gold: Norwegian Cruise Line

Silver (tie): Holland America Line

Silver (tie): Royal Caribbean Cruises


River Cruise Company

Gold: American Queen Steamboat Company

Silver: Globus Family of Brands’ Avalon Waterways

Bronze: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection


Sightseeing Cruise Company

Gold: Maid of the Mist (Niagara Falls, New York)

Silver: Entertainment Cruises

Bronze: Blue & Gold Fleet (San Francisco)


Scenic Railroad

Gold: Alaska Railroad Corporation

Silver: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Colorado)

Bronze: The Mount Washington Cog Railway (New Hampshire)


Theater/Show Venue

Gold: Broadway Inbound/The Schubert Organization (New York City)

Silver: Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Group (Nashville, Tennessee)

Bronze: Sight & Sound Theatres (Branson, Missouri; Strasburg, Pennsylvania)


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