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Newly launched State Park Passport wraps up successful year

  • 12/1/2020 12:09:00 PM
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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Tourism Office are wrapping up a successful introduction of the new State Park Passport by announcing grand prize winners to the 2020 promotion.

Sarah B., of Sumner, Iowa, won a two-night stay donated by Honey Creek Resort State Park in Moravia. Madeleine H., of Nevada, Iowa, won a state park print set donated by Bozz Prints of West Des Moines.

The free digital State Park Passport, created to mark the 100th anniversary of Iowa State Parks, encouraged Iowans to discover new state parks and enjoy the outdoors, plus provided discounts to restaurants and tourist attractions near each state park. For each park visit, travelers earned a digital stamp in the Passport app that qualified them for prizes. Since June, more than 13,000 travelers have checked in more than 25,000 times.

“Our centennial tagline has been ‘Celebrate. Connect. Inspire,” said Todd Coffelt, parks bureau chief at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The Park Passport helped visitors do just that while enjoying all the beauty and fun Iowa state parks have to offer.”

Along with Honey Creek Resort and Bozz Prints, prizes were donated by Karen Musser Nortman, an Iowa author who writes mysteries set in Iowa state parks, and the Iowa Parks Foundation, which published a book in 2020 called “Iowa State Parks: A Century of Stewardship.”

Because of its innovative format and popularity, the Passport received national recognition from two travel organizations in November. At the eTourism Summit, held November 9-10 in Orlando, Fla., the passport received the eTourism Summit Excellence Award (eTSY) for “Best Campaign That Went Viral.” The Park Passport was also shortlisted along with three other campaigns for a Skift IDEA Award in the “Experience or Excursion” category. Presented by Skift, the biggest business intelligence brand in travel, the awards celebrate the innovation, design and experiences defining the future of travel.

“This year really shined a light on how valuable and vital Iowa state parks are to residents and travelers,” said Jessica O’Riley, Tourism communications manager at the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “We’re fortunate to have such an impressive range of parks to suit anyone’s passions. The parks provided the perfect venue to be active while still practicing social distancing.”

Because of the success in 2020, the Iowa DNR and Iowa Tourism Office plan to continue promotions using the Passport to connect Iowans with state parks. To learn more about Iowa state parks, visit www.iowadnr.gov. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. For more information, visit traveliowa.com.   

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