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Courier magazine has announced the winners of the 2014 Distinguished Dozen awards: 12 categories of destinations, attractions, hotels and restaurants selected by NTA tour operators as favorites. Voting was conducted at the close of the year by Courier, which is the official monthly magazine for NTA members, and NTA Services Inc., the publisher of NTA products.

“NTA’s tour operators chose these Distinguished Dozen winners as their favorite partners in each of the categories,” said Penny Whitman, Courier editor in chief. “All of NTA’s member destinations and tour suppliers work hard to provide great service and experiences, but we know that relationship is everything in the tour and travel industry.”

The award carries significance for winners, according to Linda Jeffries, director of group sales and marketing for the Newseum in Washington, D.C., which was honored for the second consecutive year.

“NTA tour operators are professional and well-informed and have been very supportive of the Newseum,” Jeffries said. “One of the best ways to experience the museum is as part of a group tour, and we are thankful to have such a great partner in NTA.”

The winners were recognized with gold, silver or bronze awards in each of the 12 categories. (In some cases, the name of the NTA member is listed in parentheses. The city in which winners are located is listed where appropriate; some winners operate in multiple locations.)

FAVORITE BIG CITY DESTINATION
Gold: New York City (NYC & Company)
Silver: New Orleans (New Orleans CVB)
Bronze: Washington, D.C. (Destination DC)
FAVORITE GROUP-FRIENDLY HOTEL
Gold: Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort; Anaheim, Calif.
Silver: The Red Lion Inn; Stockbridge, Mass.
Bronze: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort; Mount Pleasant, Mich.
FAVORITE DESTINATION FOR ADVENTURE
Gold: Alaska (State of Alaska)
Silver: Hawaii’s Big Island (Big Island Visitors Bureau)
Bronze: Utah (Utah Office of Tourism)
FAVORITE THEATER/SHOW VENUE
Gold: Grand Ole Opry; Nashville, Tenn.
Silver: Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops Orchestra/Tanglewood
Bronze: New York City Ballet
FAVORITE SCENIC RAILROAD
Gold: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad; Durango, Colo.
Silver: Napa Valley Wine Train; Napa, Calif.
Bronze: Alaska Railroad Vacations; Anchorage, Alaska
FAVORITE GROUP-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
Gold: Cracker Barrel
Silver: Hard Rock International
Bronze: Court of Two Sisters; New Orleans, La.
FAVORITE MUSEUM FOR GROUPS
Gold: Newseum; Washington, D.C.
Silver: Biltmore; Ashville, N.C.
Bronze: California Academy of Sciences; San Francisco, Calif.
FAVORITE SIGHTSEEING CRUISE COMPANY
Gold: Boston Duck Tours
Silver: Entertainment Cruises; New York, N.Y.
Bronze: Blue & Gold Fleet; San Francisco, Calif.
FAVORITE BIG SHIP OR RIVER CRUISING COMPANY
Gold: Norwegian Cruise Line
Silver: Holland America Line
Bronze: American Queen Steamboat Company
FAVORITE FAITH-BASED DESTINATION
Gold: Israel (Israel Ministry of Tourism)
Silver: Québec (Tourisme Québec)
Bronze: Washington, D.C. (Destination DC)
FAVORITE CULINARY DESTINATION
Gold: California (Visit California)
Silver: State of New York (New York State Division of Tourism)
Bronze: Switzerland (Switzerland Tourism)
FAVORITE CASINO/GAMING PROPERTY
Gold: Beau Rivage by MGM Resorts International; Biloxi, Miss.
Silver: MGM Resorts International
Bronze: Foxwoods Resort Casino; Mashantucket, Conn.

Whitman; Ed Dresel, NTA Services board chair; and Karla DiNardo, NTA Services president, will recognize Gold recipients in Los Angeles during a luncheon on the final day of Travel Exchange, NTA’s annual convention, held in conjunction with the United Motorcoach Association.

NTA was founded in 1951, NTA is the leading business-building association for travel professionals (from more than 40 countries) interested in the North American market—inbound, outbound and within the continent. Travel Exchange is Feb. 16–20 at the Los Angeles Convention Center; next year’s event is in New Orleans, Jan. 18–22.

Source: NTA Press Release dated February 5, 2014.

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