SASI-ONE 2016-17 Award Winners Honored at ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining & Cultural Tourism

October 24, 2017

A total of 8 SASI-ONE Awards  (SASI = Shop America Salutes Innovation) for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence were presented at the annual SASI-ONE Awards Breakfast on Wednesday, September 27, during the ONE Travel Conference at the Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. The awards are sponsored by CenterCal Properties in partnership with Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council.


Brandace Berger Bruning, Vice President, CenterCal Properties serves as the SASI-ONE Awards Chairperson. She stated: “Since 2006, we have honored more than 200 talented marketers, journalists and destinations for their stellar work in promoting Shopping, Dining and Cultural Heritage Tourism, the top three tourism activities in North America.


SASI-ONE Awards recognize prominent leaders in the tourism industry for their vision and commitment to developing shopping and cultural tourism.  Along with the 3 SASI-ONE Gold Awards and 2 SASI-ONE Merit Awards for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence, 3 SASI-ONE Special Award Recipients were honored in the categories of TravMedia Tourism Journalist of the Year, Cultural & Heritage Tourism Destination of the Year and a special Community Service Award. The achievements of SASI-ONE Winners from throughout North and Latin America and the winners of the special awards were showcased in a video presentation that can be viewed at


A prestigious panel of judges selected the SASI-ONE GOLD and Merit award winners.  The 2017 judges were Rose Hapanowich, Director of Travel & Tourism, Destiny USA and Patricia Wharton, Director of Tourism, Horizon Group Properties.


Travel journalist and photographer Kit Bernardi has been named the 2017 TravMedia Travel Journalist of the Year.  Kit was chosen from several thousand media subscribers to TravMedia, an international news distribution and media event company serving the public relations industry throughout the world. The award recognizes excellence in travel journalism in partnership with Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Council.  


During her freelance travel writing career of more than 25 years, Kit Bernardi’s articles have appeared in USA TODAY GoEscape Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, South China Morning Post, AAA Publications, Delta Sky Magazine, Travel Illinois Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, and other media outlets. She is a USA TODAY 10Best expert for Illinois. Her editorial work has earned awards from the Society of American Travel Writers Central States Chapter, Midwest Travel Writers Association and National Women’s Press Association. 


The US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council has selected St. Augustine Florida/The St. John’s Cultural Council as the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Destination of the year. This special award recognizes organizations that demonstrate leadership, marketing creativity and dedication to promoting cultural and heritage tourism. 


A distinguished panel of Judges including: Anita Boeker, Communications Director, The Cultural Traveler; Rosemary McCormick, President, Shop America Alliance and Sheila Armstrong, co-founder of the US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council selected St. Augustine Florida/The St. John’s Cultural Council and in particular highlighted the leadership of Andrew Witt, the Council’s Executive Director.


In January 2012, Andrew Witt became the first Executive Director of the St. Johns Cultural Council (SJCC) in St. Augustine Florida.  In 2011, the St Johns County government signed a contract with the Cultural Council to administer the Tourist Development Tax grant program for Arts Culture and Heritage programs and to prepare a Cultural Development Strategic Plan for the County and its citizens. The SJCC is the designated Local Arts Agency for St Johns County. 


‘Witches Night Out’ at The Village at Meridian, Meridian Idaho,

CENTERCAL PROPERTIES wins a special Community Service SASI-ONE Award.


“Witches Night Out,” benefitted the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, a grass routes organization tackling domestic abuse.  Ramona Merrill, VP Marketing – Intermountain Region CenterCal Properties and Debby Smith, Marketing Manager at The Village at Meridian created a night of frightful frivolity that generated enough funds to move fifty women off the waiting list and into WCA’s program as their first step toward healing and freedom. Despite the seriousness of the cause, levity (flying broomsticks included) was encourages as the event kicked off in the village at Meridian’s Fountain Square amid its Bellagio style dancing fountains, which after dark took on the energy of a nightclub with a 1699 Salem meets 2016 “Wizard of Ahhhsss” vibe. Spooktacular décor was at every turn, raffle prizes, including a $3000 witch’s wardrobe and best-dressed witch competition, raised over $12,000 for WCA, doubling their original goal.


The SASI-ONE Awards are presented annually at the ONE Travel Conference. To view the video award presentation of the 2016-17 SASI-ONE Awards and or more information about the Awards, visit or call 707-224-3795.


SASI-ONE 2016-17 GOLD Award Winners:

Category:  Single Shopping Center Location


Fashion Show Las Vegas/General Growth Properties

Fashion Show’s Chinese Innovation Takes Flight

Honorees: Janet LaFevre, Fashion Show; Jennifer Olson, Fashion Show; Cecile Dick, Hainan Airlines; Amy Alter, Dreamworks Marketing & Publicity


Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas/Rouse Properties

Time To Save: The Turn-Around Story of Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas

Honorees: Missy Heanue, Rouse Properties; Megan Stagnaro, Rouse Properties; Robin Hanson, Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas; Carolyn J. Feimster, CJF Marketing International; ZJ Tong, China Pro Marketing Partners



Category:  Destination Management Organization


Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Chinese Social Media Influencers

Honoree: Kelly Messina, Las Vegas CVA


SASI-ONE 2016-17 MERIT Award Winners:

Category:  Travel Partner


Wellness Tourism Worldwide

The Sage International Encyclopedia on Travel & Tourism

Honorees:  Camille Hoheb, Wellness Tourism Worldwide; Linda Lowry, Sage Publications


Conde Nast Mexico y Latinoamerica

Vogue Travel and Shop Guide

Honorees: Rosa Gardea, Conde Nast Mexico y Latinoamerica



SASI-ONE 2016-17 Special Awards:


Community Service Award:

‘WITCHES NIGHT OUT’ at The Village at Meridian, CenterCal Properties

Ramona Merrill, CenterCal Properties and Debby Smith The Village at Meridian


TravMedia Tourism Journalist of the Year

Kit Bernardi, Travel Journalist and Photographer


Cultural Heritage Destination of the Year

St. John’s Cultural Council/St. Augustine, Florida