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Courier names the 2018 Distinguished Dozen

November 27, 2017

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 28, 2017) — Courier, the official magazine of the National Tour Association, has announced the winners of its 2018 Distinguished Dozen awards. Tour operators voted for NTA-member destinations and tour suppliers to determine gold, silver and bronze awards in 12 categories.

“NTA tour operators work with DMOs and suppliers to create unique and innovative itineraries that really appeal to travelers,” said Bob Rouse, Courier editor. “And the Distinguished Dozen program gives operators a chance to recognize their valued partners.”

In two rounds of voting, NTA tour operators cast votes based on quality of product, level of customer service, value to customers and dedication to relationship building. Winners are featured in the December issue of Courier, and gold recipients will be introduced at a Dec. 16 luncheon in San Antonio during Travel Exchange, the association’s annual convention.

Here is the 2018 slate of Distinguished Dozen winners. (Location, if needed, is listed in parentheses; many winners operate in multiple locations.)


Sightseeing Cruise Company

  • Gold: Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry (Mackinaw City, Michigan)
  • Silver: Boston Duck Tours
  • Bronze: San Juan Cruises (Bellingham, Washington)

Sightseeing Rail Company

  • Gold: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Durango, Colorado)
  • Silver: Grand Canyon Railway (Flagstaff, Arizona)
  • Bronze: The Mount Washington Cog Railway (Mt. Washington, New Hampshire)

Casino/Gaming Property

  • Gold: Tulalip Resort Casino (Tulalip, Washington)
  • Silver: Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, Connecticut)
  • Bronze: Hard Rock International

Museum for Groups

  • Gold: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Silver: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (Simi Valley, California)
  • Bronze: Crazy Horse Memorial (Custer, South Dakota)

North American DMO Partner (State/Province)

  • Gold: Travel Oregon
  • Silver: Maryland Office of Tourism Development
  • Bronze: Georgia Department of Tourism

North American DMO Partner (City/Region)

  • Gold: Travel Portland (Oregon)
  • Silver: Greater Boston CVB
  • Bronze: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Overseas DMO Partner

  • Gold: VisitScotland
  • Silver: Mexico Tourism Board
  • Bronze: Italian National Tourist Board

Group-friendly Restaurant

  • Gold: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • Silver: Hard Rock International
  • Bronze: Applebee’s Restaurants NYC

Corporate Hotel Chain

  • Gold: Hilton Worldwide
  • Silver: Drury Inns
  • Bronze: Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Independent/Boutique Hotel Property

  • Gold: B Historic Savannah (Savannah, Georgia)
  • Silver: Elizabeth Oceanfront Suites (Newport, Oregon)
  • Bronze: Lord Elgin Hotel (Ottawa, Ontario)

Big-ship or River Cruising Company

  • Gold: Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Silver: Globus Family of Brands’ Avalon Waterways
  • Bronze: Holland America Line

Theater/Show Venue

  • Gold: Broadway Inbound (Shubert) (New York City)
  • Silver: Cirque du Soleil (Las Vegas)
  • Bronze: Sight & Sound Theatres (Strasburg, Pennsylvania)

To see the Distinguished Dozen spread in the December Courier, visit For more information about NTA and Travel Exchange, go to

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