A total of 12 SASI-ONE Awards (SASI = Shop America Salutes Innovation) for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence were presented at the annual SASI-ONE Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, August 22, during the ONE Travel Conference at the Embassy Suites in Napa, CA. The awards are sponsored by CenterCal Properties in partnership with Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council.

“Since 2006, we have honored more than 200 talented marketers, journalists and destinations for their stellar work in promoting Shopping, Dining and Cultural Heritage Tourism, the top three tourism activities in North America,” states Brandace Berger Bruning, Vice President of CenterCal Properties, and the SASI-ONE Awards Chairperson.

SASI-ONE Awards recognize prominent leaders in the tourism industry for their vision and commitment to developing shopping and cultural tourism.  Along with the 4 SASI-ONE Gold Awards and 4 SASI-ONE Merit Awards for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence, 4 SASI-ONE Special Award Recipients were honored in the categories of TravMedia Tourism Journalist of the Year, Cultural & Heritage Tourism Organization of the Year, Community Service, and Shop America Lifetime Achievement. The achievements of SASI-ONE Winners from throughout North and Latin America and the winners of the special awards were showcased in a video presentation that can be viewed at ONEtravelconference.com.

Industry experts served as judges and selected the SASI-ONE GOLD and Merit award winners.  2018 judges were Rose Hapanowich, Director of Travel & Tourism, Destiny USA and Patricia Wharton, Director of Tourism, Horizon Group Properties.

Travel journalist and photographer Jill Robinson has been named the 2018 TravMedia Travel Journalist of the Year.  Robinson was chosen from several thousand media subscribers to TravMedia, an international news distribution and media event company serving the public relations industry throughout the world. The award recognizes excellence in travel journalism in partnership with Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Council.  

Jill Robinson writes about travel and adventure for the San Francisco Chronicle, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Outside, Robb Report, Private Clubs, Virtuoso Life, Saturday Evening Post, Sierra, AARP, Delta Sky, American Way and more.  

Her essays have appeared in Travelers’ Tales, the Best Travel Writing and the Best Women’s Travel Writing.  She has won awards from the Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists.

Robinson’s most recent story in Travel & Leisure was titled “The Most Fun Way to Help Napa Valley Recover?  Go There and Drink Wine!”

The US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council has selected The Oakland Symphony as the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Organization of the year. This special award recognizes organizations that demonstrate leadership, marketing creativity and dedication to promoting cultural and heritage tourism.  

A distinguished panel of Judges including: Richard Peterson, President & CEO, US Cultural and Heritage Tourism Marketing Council; Maura Eggan, Consultant; Liz Dion, Dion et Cie Marketing; Anita Boeker, Creative Solutions Marketing; and Nancy Hahn Bono, NHB Marketing and Communications selected the Oakland Symphony as the 2018 Cultural & Heritage Organization of the Year.

Serving the diverse populations of the East Bay with its dynamic Oakland Symphony Chorus and Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Oakland Symphony has touched an incalculable number of lives.  Particularly impressive are the Orchestra’s commitment to remain relevant in addressing pressing issues of the day. In November of 2018, “Requiem for Ghost Ship” will premiere Richard Marriot’s cello concerto commissioned in memory of the artists and performers who lost their lives in the tragic 2016 Oakland Warehouse fire. Also of significance is the “To Belong Here Notes from the African Diaspora” which honors a virtuoso violinist and composer born to a plantation owner and slave that will be performed in January 2019.

“Doggone Serious Mission” at The Village at Meridian, Meridian Idaho, CENTERCAL PROPERTIES wins a special Community Service SASI-ONE Award.
“Doggone Serious Mission” was a fundraising and community support event that benefitted the Meridian Police Department K9 Unit.  Ramona Merrill, VP Marketing – Intermountain Region CenterCal Properties and Debby Smith, Marketing Manager at The Village at Meridian created a family-friendly event that generated enough funds to purchase K9 protective vests and two K9 “officers” for the Department, helping them heal from a horrific manhunt in which a K9 was fatally wounded and his handler lost his leg.  

Pat Lee, President of Pat Lee & Associates, was awarded the Shop America Lifetime Achievement Award.  Lee has spent over 40 years promoting tourism and is contracted to do the tourism marketing for Cherry Creek Shopping Center, the premier tourism attraction in Denver, Denver Theater & Arenas representing 9 theaters and the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Chesterfield Taubman Prestige Center in Chesterfield, Mo. and the National Western Stock Show.

Lee is a recipient of the ‘Outstanding Tourism Individual of the Year’ in the State of Colorado and was inducted into Colorado’s Tourism Hall of Fame in 2007. She serves on Visit Denver and is on the International Committee for the Colorado Tourism Board.  “Pat is an enthusiastic advocate for the Tourism Industry, a leader in Colorado Tourism and a valued resource for Shop America Alliance,” says Rosemary McCormick, President, Shop America Alliance.

The SASI-ONE Awards are presented annually at the ONE Travel Conference. To view the video award presentation of the 2017-18 SASI-ONE Awards and or more information about the Awards, visit ONETravelConference.com or call 707-224-3795.

SASI-ONE 2017-18 GOLD Award Winners:

Category:  Single Shopping Center
Beverly Center, CenterCal Properties
Beverly Center Chinese Social Media Mascot Campaign
Honorees:  Carlos Montenegro, Manager Tourism and Customer Service, Beverly Center; China Luxury Advisors, Agency; Momo Wang, WeChat Sticker Designer; Fiona Li and Tony Li, Copy Writers

Category:  Multi Center Shopping Center Chain
Craig Realty Group
Thinking Outside the Box
Honoree: Peggy Ziglin, Director of Tourism and Business Development, Craig Realty Group

Craig Realty Group
Rock the Runway Model Search
Honoree: Peggy Ziglin, Director of Tourism and Business Development, Craig Realty Group

Category: Cultural & Heritage Tourism Organization
Louisiana Tax Free Shopping
Louisiana Shopping Trail Website
Honoree: Denise Thevenot, Executive Director, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping

SASI-ONE 2017-18 MERIT Award Winners:

Category:  Destination Management Organization
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
$20,000 Shopping Spree Giveaway
Honorees:  Kelly Messina, Senior Director of Leisure Sales, LVCVA; Jessi Goldberg, Brand Partner, R&R Advertising; Omar Rubi, Brand Partner, R&R Advertising; Ramon Montez, Advertising Manager, LVCVA; Wendy Albert, Senior Director of Marketing, Miracle Mile Shops; Laura Lake, Assistant Director of Marketing, Miracle Mile Shops; Vicki Rousseau, Area Director of Marketing and Business Development, Las Vegas North and South Premium Outlets; Janet LaFevre, Senior Marketing Manager, GGP (Fashion Show and Grand Canal Shops); Jennifer Olsen, Tourism Marketing, GGP (Fashion Show and Grand Canal Shops); Robin Hanson, Marketing Director, Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Category: Travel Partners
Puerto Rico Traveler Perception Project
Honorees: Laura Mandala, CEO Mandala Research; Carla Campos, Director and Ron Castro, Chief Strategist, Puerto Rico Tourism Company

Category: Print Editorial and Online Digital
Conde Nast Mexico y Latinoamerica
Vogue Travel and Shops Guide 2018
Honoree: Karla Martinez, Conde Nast Mexico and Latin America

Category: Single Shopping Center
Outlets of Mississippi
Family Spring Festival
Honorees: North American Midway, Partner and The Outlets of Mississippi Team including: Kathy Hackshaw, General Manager, Outlets of Mississippi; Shanna Head, Marketing Manager; Carlos Hernandez, Director of Operations; Teresa Facemire, Visitor Services Manager; Tim Sarrett, Security Manager

SASI-ONE 2017-18 Special Awards:

Community Service Award:
‘Doggone Serious Mission’ at The Village at Meridian, CenterCal Properties
Ramona Merrill, CenterCal Properties and Debby Smith, The Village at Meridian

TravMedia Tourism Journalist of the Year
Jill Robinson, Travel Journalist and Photographer

Cultural Heritage Organization of the Year
Oakland Symphony, Oakland, California

Lifetime Achievement Award
Pat Lee, Pat Lee & Associates, Denver, Colorado

ONE Travel Conference
for Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism is produced annually by Shop America Alliance. Since 1998, this annual Conference has brought together leaders in the travel and retail industries to focus on The Power of Partnership, speaking with ONE Voice. The 2018 ONE Travel Conference was held at the Embassy Suites in Napa, California, August 20-22. For more information visit ONETravelConference.com or call 707-224-3795.

Shop America Alliance LLC is the travel trade organization representing hundreds of the premier shopping tourism destinations, retailers, shopping centers and outlets in North America. Founded in 1998, Shop America Alliance co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards, publishes Shop America Magazine and the annual White Paper on International Travel and markets dozens of shopping tours in 40 destinations. For more information, visit shopamericatours.com or call 707-224-3795.

US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council LLC (USCHT) is a travel trade association with the mission to market cultural and heritage tourism experiences. USCHT represents leading tourism destinations, attractions and travel partners engaged in marketing cultural and heritage to travelers throughout the United States and around the world. The organization publishes The Cultural Traveler guidebook annually. For more information, visit TheCulturalTraveler.com or call 415-728-4221.