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#esto23 Recap: Authentically Curated for You

Wednesday, September 20, 2023
feature blog graphic Presented by The ESTO Team

ESTO 2023 Props

What a week! The Visit Savannah and Explore Georgia teams set the bar for a record-breaking ESTO, surpassing the number of attendees we had the last time we were in Savannah in 2010 by more than three times.

From a positive buzz and a shared passion felt throughout the sellout event to world-class speakers, special moments of recognition and more, there’s much to look back on and celebrate. Below are some of the special moments and events that happened at #esto23.


ESTO Cares

This year, under the guidance of Visit Savannah, we joined with the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia in putting together 400 bags of materials for the Girl Scouts to complete different badge work. Founded in Savannah by Girls Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low, it was a truly meaningful collaboration that celebrated both our commitment to community engagement and the enduring legacy of this remarkable organization.

ESTO 2023 attendees at ESTO Cares.


The Great Debates 2.0

We heard you and brought it back! We hosted the re-imagined ESTO debates of years past with snacks and drinks, sponsored by Rove. Congratulations to our winning debaters – Adam Sacks, Tourism Economics, in the Insights and Measurement topic and Julie Gilbert, Destination Door County, in The Future of Marketing topic. 

ESTO 2023 Great Debates with four panelists and one moderator.


Destiny and Mercury Awards

We celebrated the year’s best destination marketing campaigns, promotions and creative. Explore Georgia and our Awards Dinner sponsor, Miles Partnership, hosted an “eerie-sistable” evening featuring some of your favorite horror scenes re-enacted by the Miles Partnership team. Congratulations to this year’s impressive slate of Destiny and Mercury Award winners!

ESTO 2023 Awards Winners


Thanks to all who attended and shared these #esto23 moments with us. Keep reimagining and redefining the possibilities for your organization – we’ll see you in Columbus for ESTO’s 40th anniversary.


ESTO convenes a unique community of DMOs in a different city each year. All content is created by attendees and our members and curated for you.

Hear from some of our attendees on what they think of ESTO:

“ESTO is my priority conference and attending is always well worth the time investment!  The content, collaboration and evolving formats mean I will leave with actionable insight to position our state for the best possible results.”

Sara Otte Coleman
North Dakota Tourism Division

“ESTO provides the best in educational programming for DMOs. The quality from the general keynotes to the breakout sessions exceeds all expectations. My staff and I return to the office energized with tangible research and innovative ideas to incorporate into our marketing plans.”

Patrick Kaler
President and CEO
Visit Buffalo Niagara


Read more about the ESTO experience from some of your colleagues:

ESTO 2023: Get Ready, The Travel Industry is Roaring Back

Madden Media at ESTO 2023 – 2023 ESTO Insights

View our ESTO 2023 Recap Video