San Diego and Tourism Authority Receive Accolades in 2015

The San Diego region and the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) received numerous accolades in 2015 for destination attractions, food, parks and beaches, as well as recognition for business travel and cross-border culture. Additionally, SDTA’s staff and sales and marketing efforts were recognized by leading tourism industry organizations. Some of the awards San Diego received in 2015 include:

Meetings & Incentive Industry Awards

  • In Nov. 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 Price Index and other sources on the cost and convenience of attending a conference in major U.S. cities.
  • In Sept. 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.
  • In Sept. 2015, Smart Meetings magazine named the San Diego Tourism Authority a Platinum Choice award winner for delivering exceptional service to the meetings industry.
  • In Aug. 2015, 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.
  • In Aug. 2015, 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.
  • Margie Sitton Accolades in 2015In March 2015, Margie Sitton (right), 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.
  • In March 2015, 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.

Media Recognition

  • In Nov. 2015, National Geographic Traveler magazine selected San Diego/Tijuana as one of 20 Best of the World destinations in its December 2015/January 2016 issue. The selection process involved nominations from National Geographic Traveler ’s worldwide network of editors, writers and explorers. “The Best of the World list reflects the travel expertise and global knowledge of National Geographic,” said features editor Amy Alipio. “The destinations represent what’s superlative, timely, and richly authentic in the world of travel today.”
  • In Nov. 2015, San Diego ranked #9 among U.S. cities that have the highest international traveler-review ratings according to a study by TripAdvisor. The study ranked cities’ ratings for accommodations, including hotels, B&Bs, inns and specialty lodging. San Diego was the only California city to make the cut.
  • In Oct. 2015, the American Planning Association (APA) released its annual list of Great Places in America and San Diego’s Balboa Park  earned recognition on this exclusive list. Since 2007, the Great Places in America list recognizes unique and extraordinary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces. The locations that top the list incorporate forward-thinking planning while showcasing unique architecture, community engagement and accessibility and economic opportunity.
  • Smart21 Communities of the YearIn Oct. 2015, San Diego was one of only two cities in the United States named a Smart21 Community by the Intelligent Community Forum for its 2016 competition. The Intelligent Community Forum is a global movement of more than 140 cities, towns and regions that promotes best practices of intelligent communities.
  • In Jan. 2015, ranked San Diego #5 on its list of Most Popular Destinations for 2014.

Readers’ Choice Awards

  • In Sept. 2015, San Diego/La Jolla was the winner of Parenting OC’s Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Weekend Getaway for the second time.
  • In July 2015, the San Diego Zoo was named Top Zoo in the World by, winning the Travelers’ Choice Award.

    Pandas at the San Diego Zoo! Bai Yun, whose name means "white cloud", gave birth to her fifth cub at the San Diego Zoo on Aug. 5, 2009.

    Pandas at the San Diego Zoo! Bai Yun, whose name means “white cloud”, gave birth to her fifth cub at the San Diego Zoo on Aug. 5, 2009.

  • In July 2015, San Diego ranked in the top 20 for several categories in Travel + Leisure magazine’s America’s Favorite Cities issue. According to the readers of Travel + Leisure, San Diego ranks as a Best City for Picnics (#2), Singles (#11), Running (#15), Beer Lovers (#18) and Foodies (#18).
  • In May 2015, San Diego ranked #7 for Kid Friendly Destination on, promoted in USA Today’s travel section.
  • In March 2015, Coronado Beach ranked #6 out of 10 Best California Beaches in and USA Today’s Reader’s Choice contest.

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