AITO Awards

Our awards recognise outstanding quality within our membership and also the wider travel industry.

AITO TRAVEL WRITER OF THE YEAR SHORT LIST ANNOUNCED

2017 shortlist

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has today announced the short list for the prestigious annual AITO Travel Writer of the Year awards. The five categories – Travel Writer of the Year (Over 1,500 words), Travel Writer of the Year (Under 1,500 words), Young Travel Writer of the Year, Travel Trade Writer of the Year and the Travel Blogger of the Year – were shortlisted from a total of 298 entries, which is the highest number received since the awards started in 1997.

Shortlists:

AITO Travel Writer of the Year (Over 1,500 words):

  • Tom Chesshyre, The Times, Nepal
  • Martin Hemming, The Sunday Times, New Zealand
  • Geoff Hill, The Weekend Australian, Vietnam
  • Michelle Jana Chan, Telegraph’s Ultratravel magazine, East Greenland
  • Lauren Jarvis, Spear's 100 Travel Guide, Kenya
  • Jane Knight, The Times, Namibia
  • Chris Leadbeater, The Sunday Telegraph, Sudan
  • Duncan Madden, Escapism, Senegal
  • Laura Millar, Escapism, Iran
  • Aaron Millar, National Geographic Traveller, Texas
  • Toby Skinner, N by Norwegian (Norwegian Air), Norway's Arctic
  • Oliver Smith, Lonely Planet Traveller, Armenia
  • Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveller, Peru
  • James Stewart, The Telegraph, Canada
  • Mark Stratton, Wanderlust, South China's Himalaya Range

AITO Travel Writer of the Year (Under 1,500 words):

  • Abigail Butcher, The Telegraph, Sri Lanka
  • Kerry Christiani, The Lonely Planet Traveller, Norway
  • Duncan Craig, The Sunday Times, Tour de France
  • Danielle Demetriou, FT’s How to Spend It, Japan
  • Chris Haslam, The Sunday Times, Mexico
  • Robert Hull, The Guardian, Iceland's Fjords
  • Brian Jackman, The Sunday Telegraph, Central Sweden
  • Jane Knight, The Times, Cambodia
  • Monisha Rajesh, SUITCASE magazine, Tibet
  • Ellie Ross, The Guardian, Sheffield
  • John Simpson, BA High Life, Australia
  • Nigel Tisdall, The Daily Telegraph, The Caribbean
  • Jonathan Thompson, SUITCASE magazine, South Korea
  • Tommy Trenchard, b.inspired (Brussels Airlines), The Congo
  • Nicola Trup, Independent.co.uk, Kilimanjaro (Africa)

AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year:

  • Cathy Adams, Independent.co.uk, China
  • Alex Allen, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Umbria
  • Stephanie Cavagnaro, National Geographic Traveller, Jamaica
  • Helen Coffey, Independent.co.uk, Ibiza
  • Will Coldwell, The Guardian, Chamonix
  • Harriet Constable, Nomad magazine, Nairobi to Mombasa by train
  • Ben Clatworthy, The Times, Croatia’s islands
  • Guy Kelly, The Telegraph magazine, Colombia
  • Sophie McGrath, Lonely Planet Traveller, America’s great lakes
  • Jonathan Wells, Gentleman’s Journal, Cuba

AITO Travel Trade Writer of the Year:

  • John Fitzsimons, ABTA magazine, Busting myths around millennial travellers
  • Laura French, Travel Weekly, Swedish Lapland
  • April Hutchinson, TTG Luxury, Cambodia
  • Pippa Jacks, TTG, Galapagos Islands
  • Rupert Parker, Selling Travel, Morocco
  • Jenny Southan, Business Traveller, Iran

AITO Travel Blogger of the Year:

  • Lisa Gerard-Sharp, Avanti Travel Blog, The French Riviera
  • Vicky Philpott, Vicky Flip Flop, Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam
  • Gabriel Power, Hidden Gabe, Dnipro – Ukraine
  • Josephine Price, Country by Country, Iceland
  • Kait Reynolds, Flaked Blog, Iceland
  • Hannah Summers, Burgers and Bruce, Tokyo – Japan

The winners will be announced, and the awards presented, at this year’s AITO Meets the Media event, held between 3pm and 6pm on Tuesday 17 October at Central Hall, Westminster. Please RSVP to events@travelpr.co.uk before 5pm on Tuesday 3 October.

If you are a bona fide journalist and would like to attend AITO’s Meet the Media event, please apply for an invitation, quoting your usual outlets and your interests, by emailing events@travelpr.co.uk.

Thank you to everyone who entered the AITO Travel Writer of the Year awards. Entries were of an extremely high standard, and the competition for places on the short list was more intense than ever. Good luck to those shortlisted!

For further information, visit www.aito.com.

Ends/ 5 September 2017

Press: For further information on AITO, please contact Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email Rebecca Milne (r.milne@travelpr.co.uk) or Sue Ockwell (s.ockwell@travelpr.co.uk).

Our Sponsors

AITO Travel Writer Awards

Many thanks to our 2017 sponsors of the AITO Travel Writer Awards. They will be offering cash prizes to our well deserved winners and will be there to present the awards on the night. All sponsors are members of AITO, click on the member name to find out more about the tour operator.

Travel Writer of the Year – long (over 1,500 words) - Inntravel

Travel Writer of the Year – short (under 1,500 words - Pettitts

Young Travel Writer of the Year (aged 30 and under) - On Foot Holidays

Blogger of the Year - InsideAsia Tours

Entry now closed for Travel Writer Awards 2017

UPDATE

Many thanks for everyone’s entries – the shortlisted entrants will be announced on aito.com on Tuesday 5 September and the awards will be presented at this year’s AITO Meets the Media event, to be held between 3pm and 6.30pm on Tuesday 17 October, 2017, at Central Hall, Westminster.

Best of luck!

AITO team

ENTRY IS NOW OPEN FOR THE PRESTIGIOUS ANNUAL AITO TRAVEL WRITER AWARDS 2017

The five categories include:

  • Young Travel Writer of the Year (aged 30 and under): Prize - £350 in cash
  • Travel Writer of the Year – short (under 1,500 words): Prize - £350 in cash
  • Travel Writer of the Year – long (over 1,500 words): Prize - £350 in cash
  • Blogger of the Year: Prize - £250 in cash
  • Trade Writer of the Year: Prize - £250 in cash

AITO Travel Writer of the Year

  • ‘Under 1,500 words’

  • ‘Over 1,500 words’

The AITO Travel Writer of the Year award is the ultimate accolade for travel writers. Recognising excellence in the field of travel writing, this prestigious award is always an impressive entry on any writer’s CV. Past winners include some of the most-respected travel journalists in the industry and it’s always a hotly-contested category. Entrants must be bona fide published journalists.

Only one print - or online - article per writer. The article must have been published between 18 August 2016 and 1 August 2017.

AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year (30 and under)

This award is designed to celebrate the achievements of younger travel journalists. It is open to bona fide published journalists who are aged 30 and under on 1 August 2017.

Only one print - or online - article per writer. The article must have been published between 18 August 2016 and 1 August 2017.

AITO Travel Blogger of the Year

This award recognises the increasing influence of travel bloggers and their creativity, many of which write eloquently and illustrate their posts beautifully.

Only one blog per writer, which must have been published between 18 August 2016 and 1 August 2017.

AITO Travel Trade Writer of the Year

This award recognises the technical writing abilities of travel trade writers – and sometimes that understanding of complex travel industry issues. Trade articles tend to be less descriptive/colourful pieces and more informative, such as trade-specific pieces on companies which sell via the travel trade and travel agencies/industry suppliers.

Only one article per writer and it must have been published between 18 August 2016 and 1 August 2017.

What the judges are looking for?

For AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year, Travel Writer of the Year and AITO Travel Blogger of the Year, AITO judges will be looking for articles that fit the winning formula of being well-written, interesting, informative and inspirational.

For AITO Travel Trade Writer of the Year, AITO judges will be looking for articles that are well-written, informative, clear and concise.

Writers can enter more than one category but only one submission per individual category will be accepted. Submissions do not have to mention AITO or AITO members.

Entries should be submitted by 6pm on Tuesday 1 August. The shortlisted entrants will be announced on aito.com on Tuesday 5 September and the awards will be presented at this year’s AITO Meets the Media event, to be held between 3pm and 6.30pm on Tuesday 17 October, 2017, at Central Hall, Westminster.

We’re requesting all articles to be sent as good quality PDFs or email links to the article, to save a huge amount of printing!

Please email your article to events@travelpr.co.uk. It would help enormously if you could put the following information in the title of the PDF or in your email above/below the link; it’ll save a lot of time…

  • Name, publication, category (e.g. save the PDF as Doug Smith, Wanderlust, Young Travel Writer Short.PDF)

We look forward to receiving either personal entries written by you or, if you are an editor, copies of articles that you have commissioned/published and feel are worthy of recognition.

Good luck; the judges look forward to reading your entries!

*

If you use Twitter, please use the following hashtags:

Meet the Media hashtag #AITOMTM17

Travel Writer of the Year hashtag #AITOTWOTY17

Best wishes,

The AITO team


Many Thanks to our Judges

Many thanks to our judges for their time and dedication to finding articles with that winning-formula: well-known, interesting, informative and inspirational. This year we have 18 AITO members participating in judging, of whom we offer our sincerest thanks and appreciation.

  • Alison Garcia Hall - Inntravell
  • David Owen - Kudu Travell
  • Aled Evans - Undiscovered Destinationsl
  • Melissa Hirst - Pettittsl
  • Ted Wake - Kirker Holidaysl
  • John Thirtle - Geodysseyl
  • Jess Millett - Tucan Travell
  • John Telfer - Explorel
  • James Mundy - InsideAsia Toursl
  • Rachel Healey - Abercrombie & Kentl
  • Simon Scutt - On Foot Holidaysl
  • Katie Cosstick - Cox and Kingl
  • Jackie Woon - Oasis Overlandl
  • Hollie Youlden - On the Go Toursl
  • Gerry Copsey - Just Grenada Groupl
  • Mandy Davies - Azure Collectionl
  • Heather McKinlay - McKinlay Kiddl
  • Tom Duncan - Ciceroni

Winners of the prestigious 2016 AITO Travel Writer of the Year Awards

19 October 2016

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has announced the results of its 20th Travel Writer of the Year awards. This year saw the highest number of entries since the awards began in 1997, with 240 articles submitted, all of an exceptionally high standard.

For the first time, AITO introduced a brand new category – Travel Trade Writer of the Year.

Additionally, after much deliberation, and following a suggestion from a high-profile writer, there were two separate categories for the Travel Writer of the Year Award: Under 1,500 words (for articles commissioned to be short and punchy) and Over 1,500 words (for those that can be as long and descriptive as the writer wishes).

Shortlisted from a total of 240 entries, the names of those who scored highest are as follows:

The top 10 places for the AITO Travel Writer of the Year award 2016 (Over 1,500 words) were as follows:

1. Liz Edwards, The Sunday Times Travel magazine

2. Hannah McKeand, SUITCASE magazine

3. Chris Haslam, The Sunday Times

4. Sarah Barrell, National Geographic Traveller

5. Alicia Miller, The Sunday Times Travel magazine

6. Nick Boulos, Wanderlust

7. Paul Bloomfield, The Sunday Telegraph

8. Nicky Holford, The Guardian

9. Sue Watt, The Daily Telegraph

10. Martin Hemming, The Sunday Times

11. Kerry Christiani, Lonely Planet Traveller

12. Annie Bennett, The Financial Times

The top 10 places for the AITO Travel Writer of the Year award 2016 (Under 1,500 words) were as follows:

1. Michelle Jana Chan, The Daily Telegraph

2. Aaron Miller, The Times

3. Rachel Johnson, Town & Country magazine

4. Matthew Teller, BBC News magazine

5. Ben Lerwill, Rough Guides

6. Nigel Tisdall, Marie Claire magazine

7. Jeremy Head, The Guardian

8. Simon Heptinstall, The Mail on Sunday

9. Richard Mellor, The Explorer

10. Jamie Lafferty, The Guardian

11. Sarah Bailey, Red magazine

12. Janine Di Giovanni, Harper’s Bazaar

The top eight places for the AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year award 2016 were as follows:

1. Francesca Angelini, The Sunday Times

2. Simon Parker, The Daily Telegraph

3. Emily Ames, SUITCASE magazine

4. Alex Allen, The Sunday Times

5. Cathy Adams, Escapism

6. Sophie McGrath, The Lonely Planet Traveller

7. Hazel Plush, The Daily Telegraph

8. Nicola Trup, The Independent

The top five places for the Travel Trade Writer of the Year 2016 were as follows:

1. Joanna Booth, Aspire

2. Josephine Price, ABTA magazine

3. Meera Dattani, Travel Weekly

4. Tamara Hinson, Travel Weekly

5. Sophie Griffiths, TTG

6. Lauren Jarvis, Selling Travel

The top five places for the AITO Travel Blogger of the Year award 2016 are as follows:

1. James Draven, Dearlydepartures.com

2. Emma Gregg, AllAboutEverywhere.com

3. Mike Gerrard, TravelDistilled.com

4. Hannah Summers, Burgersandbruce.com

5. David Whitley, Countrybycountry.com

6. Phoebe Smith, Wanderlust.com

2015 AITO Awards

Best AITO Operator, Agent and Affiliate

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (www.aito.com) celebrated its 40th anniversary at a special dinner and awards ceremony last night (Tuesday 23 February) in the dazzling Gladstone Library and Reading & Writing Room of the Royal Horseguards Hotel, London.

Over 150 AITO Tour Operators, AITO Agents, Affiliated Business Partners and Tourist Offices, Social and Honorary members and special guests attended. Simon Reeve – the British author, television presenter and explorer – was the special guest for the evening and delivered an inspirational speech. AITO was also delighted that Colin Murison Small, its founder and very first chairman, was able to attend the event.

AITO’s members’ awards, which have been reintroduced after a gap of a few years and are now based around client reviews on AITO.com. The categories were AITO Tour Operator of the Year, AITO Agent of the Year and AITO Affiliate of the Year.

2015 AITO Tour Operator of the Year

This award goes to the member which has had exceptional customer reviews on AITO.com during 2015. The number of reviews had to be 10% or more of the total annual passengers carried to ensure a true reflection of that company's performance.

Gold: Peter Sommer Travels

Silver: CICERONI Travel

Bronze: The Mountain Company

2015 AITO Agent of the Year

This award goes to the AITO Agent which has made bookings with the largest number of AITO tour operators during 2015 as voted by AITO’s tour operators.

Gold: Traveller’s World Salisbury

Silver: Journeys à la Carte

Bronze: Deva Travel

2015 AITO Affiliate of the Year

This award goes to the AITO Business Partner which provided the best service and product in 2015 as voted by AITO tour operators and agents.

Joint Gold winners: 3For and Holiday Extras

Bronze: Faremine