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Welcome to the 2018 Arizona Governor’s Conference On Tourism Website

July 18-20, 2018
JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
5402 E. Lincoln Dr.
Scottsdale, AZ 85253

The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism is the premier educational and networking event in the state for travel professionals and destination marketers.

Tourism is Arizona’s No. 1 export industry, and each year GCOT provides its attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas with peers, learn from expert panelists, draw inspiration from nationally renowned speakers, and discover cutting-edge products and services.

In addition to professional development, GCOT is an occasion to celebrate.

The Taste of Arizona Reception—the conference’s official welcome gathering—is a social dine-around that showcases cuisine from some of Arizona’s best chefs and restaurants.

And the Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala, which brings Day 2’s activities to a festive close, recognizes the achievements of the marketers, ambassadors and innovators who each year propel Arizona’s travel industry to new heights.

Questions? Please contact us at (602) 542-0065 or info@azgcot.com

Selfies In The Arizona Desert
Traditional Native American Dance Urban
Arizona Golf Courses


Registration for GCOT is available.

Full Conference: $425

Register Now

For more information or questions, please contact us at:

Events & Activities

Taste of Arizona Reception

Usher in GCOT 2018 with your travel-industry peers at this casual networking event and dine-around, which showcases cuisine and beverages from some of Arizona’s best restaurants, resorts and F&B purveyors. The conference’s opening evening also features a silent auction and sponsor exhibits.

Hosted by the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association

Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala

The Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala—featuring a reception and sit-down dinner—brings together attendees, exhibitors, speakers and sponsors for an evening of networking and celebration. This is where the coveted Governor’s Tourism Awards are bestowed on the individuals, communities and organizations that have elevated Arizona’s tourism industry during the course of the past year.  Each year, the Arizona Office of Tourism presents the Governor’s Tourism Awards to recognize outstanding accomplishments by individuals, communities and organizations within Arizona’s travel-and-hospitality industry.

2018 Governor’s Tourism Award Winners

Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Rural – Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau – Sedona Northern Lights Events

Outstanding Marketing Campaign – Urban – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa – Nirvana

Outstanding Tourism Partnership – Rural – Local First Arizona Foundation – WeekendZona

Outstanding Tourism Partnership – Urban – Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade & Trail’s End Festival

Outstanding Arizona Culture and Historic Preservation – Hopi Festival of Arts & Culture – Museum of Northern Arizona

Tourism Spirit of Service – Shonto Community Governance

Tourism Hall of Fame – Roger Naylor


JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85253

Book Your Room Today

JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa

The JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa delivers the perfect blend of luxury and comfort for your Arizona visit. Perched on 125 acres of immaculately manicured grounds in the scenic Sonoran Desert, our hotel sets the tone for complete relaxation.  Take advantage of our resort’s unparalleled services and facilities during your Scottsdale visit; we offer a full-service spa, exceptional on-site dining and a heated outdoor pool. Golf enthusiasts will be delighted with our resort’s Camelback Golf Club, which showcases 36 championship holes.

2018 Conference Schedule

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Registration Opens | 3:00 p.m.
First Timer’s Reception | 3:30 p.m.
General Session – Driven by Data: AZ Year-End Tourism Performance & Market Research | 4:00 p.m.

Bob Hayward Presentation

Taste of Arizona Reception | 5:15 p.m.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors | 7:30 a.m.
General Session: Arizona Office of Tourism Update | 8:15 a.m.
General Session: How to Work With & Lead People Not Like YouKelly McDonald | 9:15 a.m.

Morning Break |10:30 a.m.
Concurrent Workshop Sessions |11:00 a.m.

How to be a Culturally-Ready, Culturally-Friendly Employer: Insights Into Your Diverse Workforce
Put Tourists on Your Trail: How to Develop Outdoor Adventure Concepts That Appeal to Niche Visitors
Avoiding Social Awkwardness: How to Remain Relevant and Sustain Engagement When Social Media Changes the Rules
Session Descriptions

Conference Luncheon The Great GCOT Debate|12:00 p.m.
Is Marketing an Art or a Science?

Concurrent Workshop Sessions|2:00 p.m.
Picture Perfect – How to Capture and Create Engaging Social Photos and Videos
How to Leverage the Park in Your Backyard
China Readiness: How to Engage and Capture this Growth Market
Building a Better Destination Website: Tips from the User Experience Lab
Session Descriptions

Afternoon Break |3:00 p.m.
Concurrent Workshop Sessions|3:30 p.m.
Next-Level Mobile Marketing
Raise the Stakes. The Secret Prolific Places Use to Create Videos that Deliver Visitors
How to Create a Marketing Plan Under $10k
Pitching Stories in the Age of Storytelling: How to Serve Quality Content to Media Outlets in Need of It
Session Descriptions

Conference Reception | 5:00 p.m.
Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala | 6:00 p.m.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Continental Breakfast with the Exhibitors | 8:00 a.m.
General Session: Triumphs, Anomalies & MythsAndrew Davis | 9:00 a.m.
Morning Break |10:15 a.m.
Closing Conference General Session: International Insights | 10:45 a.m.

For Roundtable information please email Joanna Tejeda at jtejeda@Tourism.AZ.gov.

Our 2018 Speakers

Kelly McDonald is considered one of the nation’s top experts in marketing, customer service and consumer trends.  She is the author of three bestselling books: “How to Market to People Not Like You”, “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You” and “How to Work With & Lead People Not Like You.”

Andrew Davis is a bestselling author & keynote speaker.  He’s built and sold a digital marketing agency, produced for NBC and worked for The Muppets.  Today, Andrew Davis teaches business leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities and leave their legacy.


Sponsorship Information

2018 Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Copper Sponsors


829 Studios

Arizona American Indian Tourism Association

Arizona Highways Magazine

Arizona State Parks


Casual Astronaut, Inc.

Certified Folder

Discover Salt River

Grand Canyon National Park

Hot Spot Travel/Acorns 2 Oak Trees

ISM Raceway

Madden Media

Meredith Corp.

National Park Trips

Navajo Nation Shopping Centers, Inc.

Nei – Turner Media Group

Old Tucson Company


Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport Authority

Pinal County, AZ

Republic Media

Simpleview, Inc.

Standard Textile

Tempe Tourism Office


True West Publishing

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort

Unicomm, LLC – Travel & Adventure Show Series

University of Phoenix Stadium

Wander AZ Magazine


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