2023 Arizona Governor’s Conference On Tourism

July 10 – 12, 2023

The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism (GCOT) is the premier educational and information-sharing event in the state for travel professionals and destination marketers. 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.

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


Full Conference Registration $425.00

Early Bird Pricing $375 is available till June 1, 2023.

We look forward to another productive year full of educational sessions, great networking opportunities and the chance to collaborate with partners across Arizona at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, AZ July 10 – 12, 2023.

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Events & Activities

Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala

On Tuesday, July 11, 2023 the Arizona Office of Tourism will host the 2023 Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala where we will recognize the outstanding marketers, innovators and ambassadors of the Arizona tourism industry. This sit-down dinner affair is a wonderful celebration of our industry and a great opportunity to network with fellow attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.

Nominations will open soon for 2023. Please feel free to glance at last year’s categories and rules to start planning now.  We look forward to recognizing excellence in Arizona’s travel and tourism industry during this special evening event. Here is a look at our 2022 Governor’s Tourism Award Winners

GCOT 2023 Submission Categories

GCOT 2023 Submission Rules


Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa is a AAA Four-Diamond hotel in the middle of the Sonoran Desert that was voted a Top Resort by Condé Nast Traveler readers. With staggering views of the Santa Catalina Mountains, it will be a beautiful and productive environment for our 2023 Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

The conference rate is $129 a night and will sell out so please book today.

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2023 Conference Schedule

**Please check back as more details are finalized**

Monday, July 10, 2023

Learn how to recognize, report, and end human trafficking in Arizona.

The SAFE Action Project (Safeguarding All From Exploitation) is designed to elevate awareness and train tourism industry professionals at all levels to identify, report and prevent human trafficking.  Through specialized training and community collaborations, the project provides knowledge and skills to recognize and properly report potential trafficking situations with a “see something, say something” approach.   At the end of the session, you’ll receive a “Be SAFE” Certificate confirming you have completed the training.  We hope you will join us to do your part to end this horrific crime and become SAFE Certified!

General Session: AOT State of the State Tourism Industry Update, Lisa Urias

AOT’s annual presentation will offer a brief look at the research data, recovery programs, marketing plans, and advertising strategies that contributed to a successful year. AOT will also share our strategic vision and path forward for the industry.

3:30PM General Session: Up, Up and Away!

Travel and tourism can only thrive when connectivity is in place. Hear from Arizona’s air connection hubs (AKA Airports) on the latest data and trends and what we as the tourism industry can do to help support increased air travel to our state.


  • Brian Gall, Airport Director, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
  • Chad Makovsky, Director of Aviation Services, Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport
  • Ryan Smith, Director of Communications & Government Relations, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority
  • Austin Wright, Chief Communications Officer, Tucson Airport Authority

4:30PM Conference Reception

Join AOT and your industry colleagues to enjoy a conference kick-off reception in the Exhibit Hall from 4:30-6:30pm. Dinner this evening is open to plan with colleagues and friends.

6:30PM Open Evening or Optional Sponsor Dinners

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

8:00AM Continental Breakfast 

8:45AM General Session: David Huether, Deputy Director, Research, National Travel and Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce

9:15AM General Session: Renegades Write the Rules, Amy Jo Martin

Humans connect with humans, not logos. Amy Jo Martin has guided some of the world’s most iconic people and companies in humanizing their brands to create connections that convert. She turns brands into Renegade brands by positively disrupting the way they think, execute and show up, which generates maximum impact and revenue. You will leave the session with 10 tangible Renegade Rules that help you go from idea to action and green light that “Why Not Now?” idea you’ve been thinking about, that same day — right then and there. If not now, when? If not you, who? Renegades write the rules.

10:30AM Morning Break 

11:00AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Now that you’ve heard the power of Renegades Write the Rules join Amy Jo Martin for a Q&A session.  The first 100 attendees to the breakout session will get a copy of her New York Times Best Selling book.  In the book, Amy Jo shows how to build a faithful following and beat the competition clamoring for people’s attention by continually delivering value – when, where, and how people want it. People want to be heard, to be involved, to be entertained, to be adventurous, to be informed.

Speaker: Amy Jo Martin

From influencers to storytellers to brand ambassadors, more than 50 million people on social media identify as content creators. But the best content creators are also community builders – both in and outside the social feed. Join us for a meet and greet with AOT’s Appreciate AZ Ambassadors to learn more about why they signed on to contribute to this campaign, how they approach educating their followers, and how you can build similar partnerships to promote your destination or core values.

It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention” and during COVID  the Town of Tusayan realized how true this proverb is. With borders closed, the international tourists Tusayan historically relied on to fill their hotels, eat at their restaurants and enjoy their attractions weren’t coming. Through sheer determination, relationship building and trust, competitors were able to pull together to create a domestic consumer marketing strategy that not only promoted the Town of Tusayan but other Northern Arizona destinations, fund it and cooperatively execute it. During this session, stakeholders from the Town and region will discuss the challenges, stakeholder-and-community buy-in, strategy, campaign and results.

This session will provide valuable information on the benefits of working with OTAs and Receptives, and which outlet(s) would be best for your community and/or product.

  • 12:00PM Conference Networking Lunch

2:00PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

We’ve all heard that video is king and that TikTok reigns supreme, but the truth is short-form, mid-form, and long-form content all have their place in your marketing mix. In this panel, we’ll talk about the various types of content and when to use each to help connect with different visitors in different ways.

This session will look at some initiatives AOT’s International Reps have been working on as well as some future programming including what international travel looks like right now to the State and future trends anticipated.

Building off last year’s breakout, we will deep dive in ways the tourism community can promote and utilize the various resources to encourage responsible OHV activities. Learn from state-wide experts to know what resources are available to visitors that can lead to more responsible behaviors and how proper management and messaging can promote a positive attitude towards the use of motorized vehicles on public lands.

We’re wearing many hats these days! In this interactive session, representatives from tourism organizations and municipalities are invited to learn how to get in the news from PRBULLDOG’s David Weissman. From relationship building, leveraging the news cycle, identifying local, state and national media targets, pitch development, press releases and media advisory creation to op-ed writing, PRBULLDOG will cover it all.

Speaker: David Weissman, PRBullDog

  • 3:00PM Afternoon Break

3:30PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Join AOT and Off Madison Avenue as we introduce exciting new changes and offerings in the FY24 Rural Cooperative Marketing Program. A chance to talk in-depth to AOT, OMA and participating publishers will follow directly after the session.

This informative breakout session will focus on how Arizona’s most important international market is traveling after the pandemic and what they expect when visiting a different country. The goal here is to help identify opportunities and address challenges to better market everything a destination offers to this market.

Join the AOT Grants team as we discuss the Visit Arizona Inititive (VAI) grant opportunities available. This is a chance to learn about the requirements for the competitive and non-competive grants as well as discuss the step-by-step process of the grant’s life cycle. We will be going in depth about what items are eligible for reimbursement, the quarterly reporting requirements, and much more.

How can a DMO, or local business, work with land managers to polish and enhance the visitor experience? Hear from both land managers and industry experts on the current offerings, how to connect and work with your local land manager, and learn from successful partnerships.

5:00PM Conference Reception

  • 6:00PM Governor’s Tourism Awards Celebration

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

8:00AM Continental Breakfast

9:00AM General Session: TBD

9:45AM Morning Break

10:15AM General Session: ChatGPT and the Future of Travel Planning

Not since the advent of the search engine has there been this much buzz about a technological development in marketing. Learn about the pros and cons of ChatGPT and how to leverage AI in your travel marketing strategy. We will share real-life examples of how ChatGPT can be applied effectively and what to watch out for, including its current limitations.

Speakers: Jeff Ficker, Chief Creative Officer, Casual Astronaut and Tina Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, Casual Astronaut

11:00AM Conference Closing  

2023 Keynote Speakers

Amy Jo Martin

Amy Jo Martin guides people down the black diamond slopes of business and life. She helps them navigate difficult paths, turning ideas into action. It’s the career love of her life.

Amy Jo is the author of New York Times best-seller “Renegades Write the Rules”, host of the top-ranked Why Not Now? Podcast and an angel investor. 

Amy Jo has built two 7-figure companies over the past decade, both with 8-figure valuations. She’s the founder and CEO of Renegade Global, a human innovation company that unlocks positive disruption for both individuals and corporations, as well as Founder of Renegade Global Ventures, an investment fund focused on getting more Renegade women seats at the cap table. 

She has a social media following of more than a 1 million people and was named the third most powerful woman on Twitter by Forbes. She has worked closely with world-renowned brands such as Hilton Worldwide, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Nike, Shaquille O’Neal, Dell and many others.

Breakout Sessions

Sponsorship Information

Become a GCOT sponsor and take advantage of a full spectrum of cost-effective opportunities.

2023 Sponsorship Packages

As always we strive to create packages that allow organizations to choose the exposure opportunities that best matches their budget and promotional needs. All sponsorship levels are cash-only participation and may be a cooperative partnership between no more than two organizations, each contributing an equal amount. Packages range from $1,500 to $20,000 with all levels of visibility at the event. Please download the 2023 Sponsorship Packages to review all packages.

2023 Sponsors

Gold Level

Bronze Level

Copper Level

Exhibitor Level

12 News – Premion

62 Above


Arizona Highways


Casual Astronaut

Cities West Media

Cox Media

Discover Gila County, Inc.

Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure at Dotdash

Go Travel Sites

Herrmann Global

ON Media

Pat Davis Design Group (PDDG)

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority

Pride Guide USA & AZ Drive Guide

Official Best of America / Media World

Smithsonian Media 

Sojern, Inc. 

State Farm Stadium

The Wander Media Group, LLC

Town of Chino Valley

True Omni

Visit Widget, LLC

Your-Type 3D Event Letters and Shapes

Contact Us

Have a question? Please complete the form below and we’ll get back to you soon.

AOT Partners

Want to stay up to date on information from the Arizona Office of Tourism and their Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism?

Sign Up for AOT’s Partner Portal!

AOT has launched a new partner portal for tourism businesses across Arizona. Our Partner Portal is free of charge and allows us to maintain accurate records of businesses and partners across the state and provide enhanced services and opportunities.

Through the Partner Portal, partners are able to:

  • Add and manage multiple contacts at a single business or organization.
  • Create and edit business listings for consideration on VisitArizona.com.
  • List deals and promotions.
  • Upload photos and access AOT’s image library.
  • Create consumer events listings to publish on VisitArizona.com.

You can create an account and access the partner portal using this link: arizona.idss.com/extranet.

We have printable step-by-step instructions available here.