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Meeting Sales Awards & Honors

And the winner is . . .

The San Diego Tourism Authority is consistently recognized as one of the top Bureaus in the U.S. with awards that highlight the achievements of our hotel meeting sales and services efforts, as well as the popularity of San Diego as a top destination among meeting planners. 

Recent Honors and National Rankings

Don't just take our word for it. The recognition we receive from prestigious industry publications and national organizations is a reminder that the high standards we strive for are not going unnoticed.

The following list represents some of the recent honors and national rankings earned by the San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau) for exceptional service to meetings clients.

May 2019

  • HelmsBriscoe, a global leader in meeting procurement and site selection, named the San Diego Tourism Authority as their Destination Partner of the Year in the U.S. The award was voted on by their 1,300+ associates in more than 55 countries. 

November 2018

  • Ernie Rossow, National Sales Director of the San Diego Tourism Authority, was named the Hotel Performance Network Global’s (HPN) CVB Sales Manager/Partner of the Year at the organization’s awards ceremony. Rossow has been awarded this distinction by HPN four times in the past seven years (Nov 2014, Aug 2015, Nov 2017 and now Nov 2018).

October 2018

  • San Diego ranked #4 as a Top Meeting Destination in the U.S. by Cvent, a leading cloud-based event management platform. San Diego moved up a spot from 5th in 2017. 
  • California Meetings + Events names San Diego Tourism Authority as Best of California 2018.

October 2017

  • San Diego was the 1st of 8 Cities Whose Entrepreneurship Communities are Booming as ranked by Entrepreneur magazine.

July 2017

  • Smart Meetings magazine selected the San Diego Convention Center as one of the “Nine of the World’s Coolest Convention Centers.”

May 2017

  • Maranda Tippin, SDTA Site Experience Specialist was named one of DMAI’s 30 Under 30 Rising Stars.
  • San Diego ranked #5 as a Top Meeting Destination in the U.S. according to Cvent, a technology firm used by meeting planners around the world for booking conventions. Cvent tracks more than 5,000 cities across the country and produces a ranking of the leading 50 convention destinations.
  • Margie Sitton, SDTA Senior Vice President of Sales, was named an Industry Leader in Smart Meetings’ 2017 Supplier of the Year feature. The award recognizes the people who help event professionals create inspiring meetings. 

November 2016

  • Smart Meetings magazine included San Diego in their roundup of the "Best Big Cities that are also Best Meeting Cities."
  • San Diego Tourism Authority received the 2016 Gold Service award from Meetings & Conventions magazine. The award has been established for the “best of the best” – the top convention and visitors bureaus as measured by total votes cast among M&C’s readers. 

September 2016

  • San Diego named a top five cruise destination in the U.S. and Canada. The recognition was awarded to the Port as part of Cruise Critic’s first-ever Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.
  • Successful Meetings magazine selected the San Diego Tourism Authority to receive one of the Pinnacle Awards for Best CVB/DMO in the West.

August 2016

  • San Diego Tourism Authority received the Prevue Visionary Award Gold winner in the Best Destinations/CVBs, Best Planner Support from CVB category in the Western region. The awards are given to the members of the meetings and incentives industry who are anchored in excellence. Prevue’s readership and Advisory Board voted for their favorite destinations, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, and airlines of the industry. 
  • HotelPlanner.com named San Diego “#1 Most Group Friendly Beach City in the United States.”

June 2016

  • In June 2016, Worth Magazine named San Diego a “Worth Destination.” San Diego is among 15 cities lauded for civic leadership, quality of life, business climate, sustainability, entrepreneurial community, cultural offerings and urban innovation.
  • In June 2016, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Vice President of Sales, Jarrod Finely, was selected by Connect Association as “40 Under 40” people to watch. The annual list of 40 Under 40 includes next-gen planning phenoms, meetings and hospitality headliners changing the future of the association and specialty meetings industry.

May 2016

  • San Diego ranked #5 as a Top Meeting Destination in the U.S. according to Cvent, a technology firm used by meeting planners around the world for booking conventions. Cvent tracks more than 5,000 cities across the country and produces a ranking of the leading 50 convention destinations.

November 2015

  • San Diego ranked #3 in Best U.S. Destinations for Conferences according to the SmartAsset website, which based the ranking on data reviewed from Hotels.com, Hotels Price Index and other sources on the cost and convenience of attending a conference in major U.S. cities.

September 2015

  • The San Diego Tourism Authority was recognized by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, receiving the Gold Service Elite Award for the 32nd year in a row.
  • Smart Meetings magazine named the San Diego Tourism Authority a Platinum Choice award winner for delivering exceptional service to the meetings industry.

August 2015

  • San Diego ranked #4 as a Top Meeting Destination in the U.S. according to Cvent, a technology firm used by meeting planners around the world for booking conventions. The company tracks more than 5,000 cities across the country and produces a ranking of the leading 50 convention destinations.
  • The San Diego Tourism Authority received the Distinctive Achievement Award from Association Conventions & Facilities Magazine. SDTA was selected by subscribers who voted for organizations that best served their association meetings during the past year.
  • Hospitality Performance Network recognized Ernie Rossow, National Sales Director at the San Diego Tourism Authority, as their Partner of the Year for the second time at HPN’s partners’ conference in New Orleans. 

March 2015

  • Margie Sitton, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services at the San Diego Tourism Authority received the Gold Key Award for Sales Person of the Year from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.
  • The San Diego Tourism Authority received the Award of Excellence from Corporate & Incentive Travel Magazine. SDTA was selected by subscribers who voted for destinations that best served their corporate meetings and/or incentive travel programs during the past year.

November 2014

  • San Diego Tourism Authority was recognized by Meetings & Conventions magazine, receiving the Gold Service Elite Award for the 31st year in a row.

August 2014

  • San Diego ranks No. 6 on Cvent's 2014 Top US Meeting Destinations

March 2014

  • 5 San Diego nightclubs in "2014 Top 100 Nightclubs" by Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show

November 2013

  • "Best of the Best" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine

October 2013

  • Best Destination for Cultural Tourism by Business Destination Travel Awards

September 2013

  • Pillar Visionary Award by Prevue Magazine

March 2013

  • CVB of the Year by ConferenceDirect
  • Prime Site Award by Facilities & Destinations Magazine

December 2012

  • Platinum Choice Award by Smart Meetings Magazine

October 2012

  • Most Helpful North American CVB by Development Counsellors International (DCI)

August 2012

  • 2012 Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings magazine for the 19th year
  • "Best Of" honor in the Best Technology Tools category from Convene magazine. The San Diego Convention Center was also recognized with a "Best Of" honor in the Food & Beverage category.
  • #6 on Cvent's list of the Top 50 Meeting Destinations in the United States

June 2012

  • San Diego CVB and San Diego Convention Center were both recognized as 2012 Distinctive Achievement Award winners by Association Conventions & Facilities magazine.
  • 2012 World Class Award from Insurance & Financial Meetings Management magazine
  • 2012 Awards of Excellence winner from Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine

March 2012

  • CVB of the Year Award from ConferenceDirect for the 6th time

December 2011

  • 2011 Platinum Choice Award from Smart Meetings magazine
  • 2011 Inner Circle Award from Association Meetings magazine

September 2011

  • 2011 Distinctive Achievement Award from Association Convention & Facilities magazine
  • 2011 Platinum Partner from Incentive magazine
  • 2011 Gold Service Elite Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine.

August 2011

  • 2011 Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings magazine

July 2011

  • 2011 Award of Excellence from Corporate and Incentive Travel magazine

General San Diego Accolades

  • March 2019: Big Seven Travel ranked Balboa Park as the #1 Most Instagrammable Spot in California.

  • February 2019: Forbes Travel Guide named San Diego as one of “14 Top Destinations of 2019” in the world. 

  • February 2019: Named “One of the Most Dog-friendly Vacation Destinations in the U.S." by Expedia.

  • November 2018: Moved to #7 of the Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. according to its TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Award, up from #8 in 2017. 

  • October 2018: Thrillist includes San Diego on the list of Best New Foodie Cities in America.

  • October 2018: WalletHub ranked #1 Best Foodie City for Affordability and Accessibility of Highly Rated Restaurants and for Craft Breweries and Wineries per Capita.

  • October 2018: Ranked 7th overall as Conde Nast Traveler’s “Best Cities in the US” list, moving up from a ranking from #8 in 2017.  

  • September 2018: San Diego ranked #10 as “America’s Most Fun Cities” according to Travel Pulse magazine in September 2018. 

  • September 2018: Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, included San Diego in its top ten listing for the following categories: Best Cities for Families, Best for Infants and Toddlers (0-2): La Jolla Cove; Best for Little Kids (3-6): San Diego Zoo; Best for Big Kids (7-9): Balboa Park; Best for Tweens and Teens (10-13+): California Surf Museum.

  • April 2018: San Diego Convention Center achieved Level Three certification to the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards. 

  • March 2018: Family Vacation Critic named Coronado as one of the Best Beaches for Families in 2018

  • March 2018: TripAdvisor ranked San Diego as #7 in its Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. according to its Travelers Choice Award. 

  • November 2017: Ranked San Diego as #8 in its Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. according to its TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Award. 

  • October 2017: Listed #1 for Best Beach Destination and Year Round Perfect Weather according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” issue. 

  • October 2017: Conde Nast Traveler readers’ choice awards ranked San Diego in the Top 10 “Best Big Cities in the U.S.” 

  • October 2017: WalletHub.com ranked San Diego 9th overall as on its 2017’s Best Foodie Cities in America list. San Diego ranked #1 for craft breweries and wineries per capita and #1 also for affordability & accessibility of highly rated restaurants across the 24 key metrics applied to 180 of the largest U.S. cities. 

  • September 2017: Family Vacation Critic named San Diego as one of the Best Cities for Family Vacations in 2017.

  • September 2017: Ranked San Diego #10 Most Fun Cities in America by WalletHub.com.

  • September 2017: Sunset.com listed San Diego #1 in its list of 20 Best California Beach Vacation Spots.

  • June 2017: Earned #6 spot for natural beauty, academic brains, and military brawn in Resonance Consultancy’s 50 Best Large American Cities for 2017.

  • May 2017: Ranked #1 by RewardExpert.com as the Most Kid Friendly Cities in the U.S. 

  • April 2017: Family Vacation Critic named Coronado as one of the Best Beaches for Families in 2017.

  • April 2017: Flight Network ranked San Diego #2 in its “22 of the World’s Best Luxury Honeymoon Destinations in 2017.”

  • March 2017: Thrillist ranked San Diego #10 of the 25 Best US Cities To Spend A Weekend

  • March 2017: Trip Advisor ranked San Diego #4 as the 10 Most Popular Spring Break Destinations for Americans to Get the Most Bang for their Buck

  • March 2017: VacationIdea–Dream Vacations Magazine ranked San Diego first in its 25 Best Places to Visit in California.

  • October 2016: Conde Nast Traveler readers’ choice awards ranked San Diego in the Top 10 “Best Big Cities in the U.S.” 

  • October 2016: WalletHub.com ranked San Diego #5 Greenest Cities in America.

  • August 2016: Infogroup ranked San Diego as the 6th Hippest City in the U.S. 

  • August 2016: Resonance Consultancy ranked San Diego #5 overall – and specifically #6 in Culture, #6 in Entertainment, #3 in Sightseeing, #5 in Sports & Adventure, #6 in Culinary and #5 in Lodging in the U.S. Tourism Quality Performance Index.
  • August 2016: Travel + Leisure magazine ranked San Diego #6 as America’s Best City for Fall Travel
  • August 2016: Ranked #1 as the “Most Group Friendly Beach City” across the U.S. by HotelPlanner.com. 
  • July 2016: Smarter Travel website named La Jolla as the #4 Best Beach City in the U.S. 
  • June 2016: Ranked #9 by U.S. News Travel’s vacation rankings for “Best Places to Visit in the USA.” 
  • June 2016: Named a “Worth Destination” by Worth Magazine among 15 cities lauded for civic leadership, quality of life, business climate, sustainability, entrepreneurial community, cultural offerings and urban innovation.
  • June 2016: Ranked #2 on Travelocity’s Best Summer Vacation Destinations, out of 50 U.S. cities. 
  • May 2016: Dr. Beach rated Coronado Beach # 7 on his list for the Top 10 Beaches in the United States for 2016.
  • May 2016: Balboa Park ranked the #2 Best City Park in America according to online site Thrillist. 
  • April 2016: Ranked as #6 in its Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. according to TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Award. 
  • March 2016: FamilyVacationCritic.com recognized La Jolla Cove as one of the 10 Best Beaches for Families
  • March 2016: Named the #1 Domestic Destination in Best in Travel Awards by Money Magazine.
  • March 2016: La Jolla Cove and Shores and Coronado Municipal Beach ranked #9 and #10 respectively in 10Best and USA Today’s Readers’ Choice contest for Best West Coast Beach.
  • February 2016: La Jolla Shores ranked as #8 of Top 25 Beaches in the U.S. according to TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Award. 
  • January 2016: Included as one of 10 Best Beach Getaways in the world for 2016 by Fodor’s Travel.
  • December 2015: Awarded “Best Family-Kid Destination” by Top Travel magazine.
  • November 2015: National Geographic Traveler magazine selected San Diego/Tijuana as one of 20 “Best of the World” destinations.
  • November 2015: Ranked #9 among U.S. cities that have the highest international traveler-review ratings by TripAdvisor.
  • October 2015: One of only two cities in the U.S. named a "Smart21 Community" by the Intelligent Community Forum for its 2016 competition.
  • October 2015: Balboa Park topped the list of “Great Places in America: Public Spaces” by the American Planning Association (APA).
  • May 2015: Ranked #7 for Kid Friendly Destination on 10Best.com.
  • April 2015: Named in Endless Vacation magazine’s feature, “Top 10 Spring Vacation Spots.”
  • March 2015: Listed as #10 on Trip Advisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice Top 25 U.S. Destinations.  
  • March 2015: La Jolla Cove ranked #6, Coronado Beach ranked #19 and Carlsbad State Beach was #23 on Trip Advisors list of Top 25 US Beaches.
  • March 2015: Coronado Beach ranked #6 of the 10 Best California Beaches in 10Best.com and USA Today’s Reader’s Choice contest. 
  • February 2015: In the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Business Travel in Readers Choice Awards by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.
  • February 2015: La Jolla Cove was named the 6th best beach in the U.S. by Trip Advisor.
  • January 2015: Ranked #5 Most Popular Destinations by Hotels.com for 2014.
  • October 2014: Ranked #1 for Best Weather and Best Spa Vacations according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” issue. Also ranked in the top 5 for other
  • categories: Athletic/Active (#2) and Attractive (#2) people, Best Beach Getaways (#4), Most Relaxing Weekend (#4) and Best Romantic Escape (#5). 
  • August 2014: Winner of Parenting OC's Readers Choice Awards for Best Weekend Getaway
  • August 2014: Ranked #6 in America’s Coolest Cities by Forbes magazine. 
  • July 2014: #1 Buzziest Beach Town according to Yahoo Travel.
  • June 2014: Balboa Park named #7 of the Top 10 U.S. Parks in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.
  • April 2014: Ranked 7th best tourist spot in the U.S. in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.
  • March 2014: Selected #3 in the Top 10 Kid-Friendly Cities in the U.S. by Family Fun magazine. 
  • October 2013: Named Best Destination for Cultural Tourism—North America by the Business Destinations Travel Awards.
  • August 2013: Named one of the "Best Places for Business and Careers" in Forbes Magazine. 
  • August 2013: In top 10 "Happiest, Healthiest Cities in America" according to a study by Prevention Magazine.
  • August 2013: San Diego grabbed the number one spot in TripAdvisors "Top 10 American Cities for Pizza."
  • July 2013: Named one of America's "10 Best Cities for Families to Visit" by Parents Magazine.
  • June 2013:  San Diego Airport recognized as on of the "Top 10 Fastest Airports in the U.S." by the Huffington Post.
  • June 2013: Coronado Beach named one of the "10 Best Beaches for Families" on the Family Vacation Critic's 2013 List.  
  • March 2013: NerdWallet named San Diego one of the Best Cities for Beer Lovers
  • February 2013: La Jolla ranked #8 on the "Top 10 Beaches in the U.S." in Trip Advisor Travelers Choice Award. 
  • January 2013: Named one of the "Top 7 U.S. Family Destinations for 2013" by ABSC Travel Guide for Kids.
  • October 2012: Second Best City in North America for hosting a meeting by Development Counsellors International (DCI)
  • July 2012: "#1 Beach in the U.S." by Dr. Beach for Coronado Beach
  • May 2012: #8 on Travel + Leisure magazine's list of America's Greenest Cities
  • February 2012: Travel + Leisure's "America's Techiest Cities" list, highlighting San Diego's thriving biotech and telecom sectors and noting some very cool apps that have been developed here, including Balboa Park's Giskin Anomaly cell phone game and the TapHunter App for craft beer enthusiasts
  • April 2011: #23 Ultimate Sports City by the website www.TUSL.com
  • April 2011: TripAdvisor's "Top 25 Beaches in United States" Travelers Choice 2011 awards
  • February 2011: Best City to "Hatch big ideas" by Sunset magazine

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