Visit NC to receive international award

Published 7:01 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International will honor Visit North Carolina with a Gold Adrian Award for “Firsts That Last,” an integrated campaign featuring real-life travelers making their first visit to North Carolina for first-time experiences. The award will be presented Jan. 22 in New York City at HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Gala, which honors recipients of the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition.

“Firsts That Last” centers on short films documenting three first-time trips to the North Carolina mountains, Piedmont and coast. Stills and footage from the unscripted films were used in compilation TV spots, print ads, online video, digital executions and public relations outreach. A dedicated section on highlights how visitors can experience similar trips of their own. The campaign was designed and produced by Luquire George Andrews in Charlotte, Visit North Carolina’s agency of record.

“We love the way everyone can relate to these first-time visitors,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “The featured experiences are specific: seeing the ocean, tasting moonshine and exploring waterfalls. As these visitors immerse themselves in a memorable time and place, their personal discoveries reflect the way travel enriches our lives. It’s a compelling truth that people recognize when they engage with ‘Firsts That Last.'”

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Travelers responded, with site traffic in target media markets up 85 percent during the initial spring 2018 run. In newer target markets, growth was up as much as 400 percent.

“The Adrian Awards celebrate travel marketing innovators whose awesome creativity and hard work are integral not only to the success of their companies, but to the continued growth of the hospitality industry as a whole,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “HSMAI will be proud to recognize these award winners and their outstanding campaigns at the Adrian Awards Gala.”

Visit North Carolina will be honored during the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala on Jan. 22 at the New York Marriott Marquis. Attended by nearly 1,000 hospitality, travel and tourism marketing executives, this elegant affair is a must-attend industry event. The Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala, recognized as a Top 100 Event in New York City by BizBash, will celebrate award-winning work and the people behind it, lifetime achievement and the HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing and Revenue Optimization.

Visit for more information on the event and competition. Winning entries will be posted in the Adrian Awards Winners’ Gallery after the gala.

About Visit North Carolina:
Visit North Carolina is part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Established in 2014, the EDPNC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that oversees the state’s efforts in business and job recruitment and retention, international trade and tourism, film and sports development. The mission of Visit North Carolina is to unify and lead the state in developing North Carolina as a major destination for leisure travel, group tours, meetings and conventions, sports events and film production. For more information, go to


Coveted cover features Outer Banks experience