Columbia County Convention & Visitors Bureau received top honors from the U.S. Travel Association, winning Best Integrated Marketing and Messaging Campaign in the nation among Destination Marketing Organizations for their Serene18 Paddle Trail campaign. Over 400 nomination were received, with Columbia County landing the top prize.

"Outdoor recreation has long been one of the biggest assets in Columbia County but especially when it comes to the abundance of water. Serene18 offers the unique opportunity to discover the natural beauty of three bodies of water, uncommon wildlife and historic sites with some only accessible on water.  We created Serene18 Paddle Trail as a marketing tool to package existing paddle opportunities into a user-friendly visitor experience,” said Shelly Blackburn, Executive Director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Destiny Award recognizes U.S. Travel destination members for excellence and creative accomplishment in destination marketing and promotion at the local and regional level; and foster the development of imaginative and innovative destination marketing promotion programs and activities.

The Serene18 Campaign has generated big results for tourism in Columbia County. The videos were viewed nearly a quarter of a million times and more than 4 million people were reached by the content. Hundreds of people have visited Columbia County to participate in the paddle trail.

“We have a phenomenal team of people who have worked incredibly hard on this campaign. To say I am proud is an understatement,” said Blackburn.

The Serene18 Paddle Trail also won the TravelBlazer Award from the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, earlier this year.