Visit Sarasota County wins two prestigious awards

Organization honored for adding Newtown African American Heritage Trail to U.S. Civil Rights Trail and for creation of Local Farm Guide 

Erin Duggan, vice president of Visit Sarasota County, shows off the Flager Awards. Photo courtesy Visit Sarasota County

Visit Sarasota County (VSC) received two 2020 Visit Florida Silver Flagler Awards in November “for marketing efforts that portrayed outstanding Florida tourism marketing in 2019-2020,” VSC has announced.

The winning entries were Niche Marketing Category: Sarasota’s Newtown Lands on U.S. Civil Rights Trail and Rural County Marketing Category: Farm Guide of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, a news release says.

“The entries stemmed from VSC’s work with Newtown Alive,” which resulted in the Newtown African American Heritage Trail being added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail; and the creation of a print and digital Local Farm Guide, “built in collaboration with DeSoto County,” the release points out.

“Named for Henry Flagler, the Flagler Awards were established in 2000 to recognize outstanding tourism marketing in Florida,” the release explains. “Annually, the Flagler Awards honor many of the countless individuals and organizations that help maintain and improve Florida’s position as one of the world’s most popular travel destinations,” the release notes. “The awards are open to all individuals, private businesses and not-for-profit organizations offering a product or service that promotes tourism to or within the state of Florida,” the release says.

“As in previous years, the 2020 Flagler Awards drew entries from Florida’s tourism partners, large and small,” the release continues. Working independently, 11 judges “evaluated the creativity, innovation, production quality and effectiveness of each entry,” the release says. “Based on the judges’ cumulative scores, awards were presented to the top three entries in each category: the Bronze Award for the third highest scoring entry, the Silver Award for the second highest scoring entry, and for the highest scoring entry in each category, the Henry Award.”

To learn more about the Flagler Awards, visit