2024 Arizona Governor’s Conference On Tourism


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

We look forward to another productive year full of educational sessions, great networking opportunities and the chance to collaborate with partners across Arizona.

Events & Activities

Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala

The Governor’s Tourism Awards Gala is where we 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.

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.

GCOT 2023 Submission Categories

GCOT 2023 Submission Rules




Book Now

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, Director, Arizona Office of Tourism

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! – Presentation

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

7:00-8:00AM How to Make a Social Media Video – Session 1 Presentation
Join us for this interactive session to learn social media video tips, tricks and best practices to create simple yet compelling short-form videos. You will have the opportunity to apply what you learned as we break up into small groups and practice shooting videos around the hotel property. Your finished piece will be highlighted during the conference. 

Speakers: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism and Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson

8:00AM Continental Breakfast 

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

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

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.

Moderator: Jamie Daer, Arizona Office of Tourism 


  • Stoney Ward – President, Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Buck Wild Hummer Tours
  • James Troutman  – Vice President, Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, General Manager, Pink Adventure Tours, Tusayan
  • Karlyn Bunting – Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Manager of GrandCanyon.com
  • Miranda Baldosky – Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Director, Canyon Community Alliance
  • Keri Bieber – Director of Media Services, Off Madison Avenue

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. – Presentation

Moderator: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism


  • Lauren and Own Steinwall, Content Creators @theazhikeaholics
  • Heidi & Zander Ault, Founds of The Cyclist’s Menu, and The Spirit World 100 and the Patagonia Lumber Company
  • Katie Pollak, Content Creator @trustyourtrail
  • Christina Rico, content creator @hikersledge

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.

Moderator: Jessica Remington, Director of Travel Industry Marketing, Arizona Office of Tourism 

Speakers: Hylton Fothergill, Bonotel Exclusive Travel; Maxwell Key, Viator

  • 12:00PM Conference Lunch – Storytellers with Megan Finnerty 

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.

Moderator: Sasha Howell, Chief Strategy Officer, Off Madison Ave.


  • Rachel Abady, Creative Director of Branded Content, Atlas Obscura
  • Anna Hrach, Senior Strategist, Convince & Convert and Social Pros Podcast
  • Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson
  • Lee McLaughlin, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Tucson

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. – Presentation

Moderator: Christina Parisi, Sr. Intl Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service Tucson

Panelists:  AOT’s International Representatives

2022 was a record year for domestic visitation in Arizona, both for the number of visitors and the amount being spent in the state’s communities. A better understanding of who is visiting Arizona, why they’re coming, what they’re doing, and when they’re visiting is a key piece to continuing this success and ensuring your marketing aligns with traveler behaviors. Anna Blount with Longwoods International will delve into the most recent and relevant findings from the Arizona Travel USA® study, and highlight similarities and differences in behaviors and preferences among the state’s regions.

Moderator: Brittany Augustine, Director of Research, Arizona Office of Tourism 

Speaker: Anna Blount, Vice President of Research, Longwoods International 

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.

Moderator: Matt Caldwell, Executive Director, Tread Lightly!

  • Matthew Eberhart, State Off Highway Vehicle Coordinator, Arizona State Parks & Trails
  • Micah White, Off Highway Vehicle Law Enforcement Program Coordinator, Arizona Game & Fish Department
  • Matt Driscoll, Outdoor Recreation Planner for the Kingman Field Office Bureau of Land Management, Arizona
  • Brian Poturalski, Recreation Program Manager, USDA Forest Service, Coconino Forest Division 
  • 3:00PM Afternoon Break

3:30PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions

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.

Moderator: Lena Allen, Director of Outdoor Recreation and Sustainability,  Arizona Office of Tourism

  • Lee McLaughlin, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Tucson
  • Adam Milnor, Recreation, Heritage, and Lands Staff Officer, Forest Service at Coronado National Forest, Supervisor’s Office
  • Dr. Dawn Collins, Project Manager, Office of Continuous Improvement, Arizona State Parks & Trails
  • Andrew Leary M.S., Director of Sustainable Tourism and Partnerships, Leave No Trace

Join AOT and Off Madison Avenue as they present the FY24 AOT Cooperative Marketing Program (formerly known as the Rural Cooperative Marketing Program) live and in person. The FY24 program will feature the following offerings: Packaged Digital Media, Shared Opportunities, Strategic Planning Services, Integrated Media Advertising Programs, Individual Ad Buys, Content Creation and Distribution, Mobile Location Data, Economic Impact Reporting, Arizona Visitor Information Center Program (AVIC), Local First Development Packages, Trade & Media Missions, Crowdriff UGC (User Generated Content), Bandwango Digital Passports, IBCCES Autism & Cognitive Disorder Certification Training, and new to the program – Self-Managed Tourism Marketing Services. A Zoom presentation will happen simultaneously and the session will be recorded and posted at tourism.az.gov/rural-marketing-co-op-program/

Moderator: Jamie Daer, Director of Advertising, Arizona Office of Tourism


  • Keri Bieber – Director of Media Services, Off Madison Ave
  • Kriss Scheid – Media Services, Off Madison Ave
  • Jessica Remington, Director of Travel Industry Marketing, Arizona Office of Tourism 
  • Brittany Augustine, Director of Research, Arizona Office of Tourism  
  • Colleen Floyd, Associate Principal, Coraggio Group

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.

Speaker: Mauricio Gonzalez, CEO, CWW Mexico

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. – Presentation

Moderator: Josh Coddington, Director of Communications and PIO, Arizona Office of Tourism

Speaker: David Weissman, PRBullDog

5:00PM Conference Reception 

  • 6:00PM Governor’s Tourism Awards Celebration 

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

8:00AM Continental Breakfast

9:00AM General Session: Sustainable Tourism! What is it? Why is everyone talking about it? 

Ecotourism, Sustainable Tourism, Regenerative Tourism, Responsible Tourism. There are so many terms being thrown around it is hard to know what they all mean. In this session, hear from global sustainable tourism expert, Dr. Kelly Bricker, as she dives into what it all means, what types of resources are available, and how to get started down this journey.

Speaker: Dr. Kelly Bricker, Professor, Director of HAITC, Arizona State University, Vice Chair, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

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

11:15 AM Conference Closing  

11:30AM How Make a Social Media Video – Session 2 – Presentation

Join us for this interactive session to learn social media video tips, tricks and best practices to create simple yet compelling short-form videos. You will have the opportunity to apply what you learned as we break up into small groups and practice shooting videos around the hotel property. REGISTER HERE-Session 2

Speakers: Jordyn Walworth, Social Media Marketing Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism and Dave Levin, Content Manager, Visit Tucson


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




Arizona American Indian Tourism Association

Arizona Highways

Atmosphere TV


Casual Astronaut


Certified Folder Display Service, Inc.

Cities West Media

Cox Media

Discover Gila County, Inc.

Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure at Dotdash

Go Travel Sites

Herrmann Global

Navajo Tourism Department

Official Best of America / Media World

ON Media

Pat Davis Design Group (PDDG)

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority

Pride Guide USA & AZ Drive Guide

RateGain Adara, Inc.

Secretaria de Turismo del Estado de Sonora 

Semcasting, Inc. 

Smithsonian Media 

Sojern, Inc. 

State Farm Stadium

The Wander Media Group, LLC


Town of Chino Valley

True Omni

Unicomm, LLC – Travel & Adventure Show Series

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.