MTJA GEMmy Award recipients in Milwaukee
The Midwest Travel Journalists Association presented GEMmy Awards to three Milwaukee businesses. From left are Jeff McAvoy, Urban Ecology Center; Anna Lardinois, owner of Gothic Milwaukee; Gary Knowles, president, MTJA; and James Kieselburg II, director, Grohmann Museum. Credit: VISIT Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — The Midwest Travel Journalists Association (MTJA) presented its GEMmy Award to three Milwaukee attractions. Gothic Milwaukee, the Grohmann Museum and the Urban Ecology Center were all presented with this award that recognizes tourism gems, as nominated and voted on by MTJA members.

“It is incredibly uncommon for a destination to be awarded three GEMmy Awards, but the members of MTJA were so impressed with the attractions in Milwaukee that they felt all three were worthy of recognition,” said Gary Knowles, president of MTJA.

The Midwest Travel Journalists Association is a not-for-profit organization for professional travel journalists and destination marketing representatives. The members are award-winning travel writers, editors, photojournalists, and more from 13 Midwestern states who travel extensively around the country and internationally. In April 2018, Milwaukee hosted their spring conference, bringing over 70 members to the city to experience Milwaukee’s great attractions, restaurants, tours and accommodations.

GEMmy Award recipients are attractions that are often new, small, overshadowed, or somewhat undiscovered by mainstream travelers. These awards encourage travelers to signify to travelers that this attraction will provide a rich, rewarding and memorable experience.

Award nominators were impressed by “the uniqueness, sheer beauty and a devotion to various special forms of art” of the Grohmann Museum, called the Gothic Milwaukee tours “the highlight of many a family trip,” and recognized that the Urban Ecology Center “fills an important role … to educate an urban population from a young age.”

“As a nonprofit that connects people in cities to nature and each other, we believe that Milwaukee’s green spaces are beautiful and worthy of exploration,” said Jeff McAvoy, director of marketing and communications for the Urban Ecology Center. “Receiving a GEMmy helps us to highlight the ways that visitors can experience urban nature.”

“To have my micro-business recognized with these amazing Milwaukee institutions is a delight and an unexpected honor,” said Anna Lardinois, owner of Gothic Milwaukee. “I am grateful to VISIT Milwaukee and the staff for giving me the opportunity to showcase my unique business. It thrills me that I get to help locals and visitors alike see the city I love in a new way.”

About VISIT Milwaukee

VISIT Milwaukee is the Greater Milwaukee area’s convention and visitors bureau, marketing the destination as a top choice for business, convention and leisure travel to national and international visitors in order to increase the economic impact of tourism in the region. Each year, tourism supports over 52,000 full-time jobs and brings more than $5.7 billion to the community. VISIT Milwaukee has over 700 members, including hotels/motels, restaurants, attractions, services and area businesses. The Wisconsin Center District, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, and City of Wauwatosa are strategic partners with VISIT Milwaukee, providing funding support for conventions and tourism programs. For more information call 1-800-554-1448 or visit