Paradise Client Campaigns Honored at HSMAI Tourism Awards

Paradise Advertising CEO Barbara Karasek, CRO Tony Karasek, President Rudy Webb and CCO Cris Duschek at the HSMAI event

Barbara Karasek is honored as one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization, and Distribution for 2023

Campaigns Earned Nine Adrians and Paradise CEO Barbara Karasek Named one of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds” for 2023

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, February 14, 2024 / — Paradise Advertising & Marketing Inc. last night was honored with nine (9) Adrian Awards, including six (6) President Awards at the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) event for client work executed for The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB, Columbia County CVB and ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

The annual HSMAI awards, also known as the Adrians, are regarded as the Oscars for the travel and destination marketing industry. Held in New York City at New York Marriott Marquis, the 67th annual event celebrated the most creative and successful campaigns in travel marketing and the people behind the work with more than 400 industry and agency executives on hand.

At the same event, HSMAI announced that it has selected Paradise CEO and Co-Owner, Barbara Karasek, as one of its “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization, and Distribution“ for 2023. This is the 21st year HSMAI has compiled the list, which annually recognizes exemplary achievement and leadership in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Karasek joins an exclusive list of honorees honored by HSMAI at a reception last night.

The agency was awarded three Silvers, and President Awards, for Canada, the Weather Network Campaign, in the Digital/Sweepstakes Category; for The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB for the “Only” campaign, in the Print Advertising category; and ZooTampa at Lowry Park, for the “Unveiling the Wonders of BUGTOPIA,” also in the Print Advertising Category.

Two of the Bronzes, also President Awards, were awarded for work performed on behalf of The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB – one in the Digital/Social Media category, for the “Partner Recovery Campaign,” and the other for Print Collateral for an innovative media buy “Scent” campaign.

Paradise’s work for ZooTampa won two more Bronzes in the Video category, while Columbia County received its first ever Adrian recognition, with a Bronze for its comprehensive and authentic branding and marketing campaign to revitalize the destination’s image and position Lake City, Florida as a top-notch outdoor travel destination.

“This has been an incredible night for Paradise and our clients,” Paradise Chief Creative Officer Tom Merrick said. “For more than a decade, we have been fortunate to come away from this wonderful event awarded and rewarded—with our commitment to the tourism industry strengthened even more. We don’t work simply for awards, but it’s that much sweeter when industry peers do notice and appreciate good work that delivered results. Congrats to everyone at Paradise, as well as our greater team of clients and community partners.”

The 2023 “Top 25” honorees were judged by a panel of senior industry executives for their recent work based on the following criteria: creativity and innovation, cutting-edge sales or marketing campaigns, triumph in challenging situations, and/or efforts that resulted in dramatic gains.

“The Adrian Awards recognize the best of the best of our industry’s creative and innovative digital, advertising, and public relations/communications,” says HSMAI President and CEO, Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA. “The 2023 ‘Top 25’ celebrates the innovators in our industry. During a year when the travel and hospitality industry rebounded sharply and faced unprecedented challenges, these extraordinary professionals ‘rewrote the book’ and forged new paths to success.”
Karasek embodies a multi-faceted 30-year career in sales and marketing and has touched tourism in nearly every role, starting with her first job at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay during high school. Throughout her career, she has worked and lived in eight countries, traveled to 20+ countries, and has held executive-level brand marketing, sales, entertainment, operations, sponsorship, and licensing roles with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, and Sea World Parks & Entertainment. Along with her husband Tony Karasek, she acquired Paradise in 2018 from her advertising mentor Cedar Hames before his sudden passing.

As CEO of Paradise, Karasek has grown a Florida-based and operated advertising and marketing firm into a nationwide agency of record with 45 staff in 11 states, representing CVBs, tourism bureaus, economic development, hotels, resorts, and attraction clients in three time zones. Through her leadership, Paradise has earned more than 450 lifetime industry awards, including nine HSMAI Adrian Awards in 2023. Paradise was recently named the partner agency for Destinations International’s global Social Inclusion efforts.

Karasek serves on the DI Social Inclusion Committee, the DI Global Leadership Committee, the EDI subcommittees for Accessibility and CEO Engagement, and was recently named to the Advisory Panel for the Tourism Academy. Karasek previously served on the Board of Rethreaded, a non-profit supporting human trafficking survivors, and serves as a marketing campaign judge for the National Grocers Association, Web Marketing Association, and Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

“I am beyond humbled and very grateful to HSMAI for this incredible honor,” Karasek said. “I cherish every day that I get to work, travel, and innovate with our amazing team and serve as a partner for good for our clients and industry. I look forward to joining this distinguished group of extraordinary minds and continuing to impact livelihoods and communities through tourism for generations to come.”

About Paradise Advertising & Marketing, Inc.
At Paradise, we embrace our role as a Partner for Good℠, guiding communities towards a brighter future. Our mission revolves around fostering change through innovative, inclusive, sustainable, and data-led marketing strategies. We believe that by engaging people, we can inspire positive transformations that endure. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, Paradise extends its influence far and wide. Our dynamic team, comprising talented professionals spanning many states across three time zones, is passionate about delivering unparalleled results for clients throughout the country. We take pride in being an active member of prestigious industry organizations, including Destinations International, Destinations Florida, GACVB, PRSA, and Visit Florida. For more information about Paradise and the transformative work we do, visit our website at

For more information:
Cris Duschek
Chief Communications Officer & SVP, Public Relations
Paradise Advertising & Marketing, Inc.
Mobile (727) 434-3912

Cris Duschek
Paradise Advertising & Marketing
+1 7274343912
email us here
Visit us on social media:

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