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2020 AITO Travel Writer of the Year Awards announced

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AITO 2020 Travel Writer of the Year awards

AITO, the Specialist Travel Association (, announces the results of its 2020 Travel Writer of the Year awards.

The five awards were presented at AITO’s Meets the Media event at The Barrowboy and Banker in London Bridge last week.

With over 300 entries for 2020, the judges reviewed each article according to four criteria, seeking copy that was inspirational, informative, interesting and well-written.

The five Travel Writer of the Year awards – and the winning entries – are:

AITO Travel Writer of the Year
This is the most hotly contested award and, over the past 23 years, some of the most respected travel journalists in the industry have featured on the roll of honour.

The prestigious AITO Travel Writer of the Year (TWOTY) Over 1,500 words award was presented to Mark Stratton for ‘A Vintage Tugboat’, a piece for The Daily Telegraph. All judges were in agreement that Mark’s article was outstanding on many fronts – descriptive prowess, an eye for fascinating detail and background history, allied with his knowledge of the natural world; it was a clear winner.

In second place, for her article ‘Delta Blues’ for National Geographic Traveller, was Emma Gregg.

In third place was Emma John for her piece, ‘In Berlin Everyone’s Wilkcommen!’, in Afar.

TWOTY Under 1,500 words
In first place for his article ‘Hiking the SW coastal path: UK breaks on a Budget’, for The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, was Alex Allen. The judges said it was “very personal and inspiring” and that it “reads like a story, completely drawing you into the journey”.

In second place was Chris Haslam, whose piece ‘The Turquoise Coast’ was published in The Sunday Times.

In third place was Karen Gardiner for her article ‘Canada’s little-known Emerald Isle’, published in BBC Travel.

AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year
This award celebrates travel writing talent in the under-30s.

In first place was Charlotte Wigram-Evans for her article in National Geographic Traveller, ‘Tales of the tiger cries of the wild’, which was described by the judging panel as “a well-told tiger tale, incredibly interesting and attention-gripping.”

In second place was Ben Parker, with his article, ‘I took my grandmother on an Indonesian cruise to thank her for saving my life’, published in The Telegraph.

In third place, for her article on ‘Take the Arctic Coast Way’, was Amelia Duggan, published in National Geographic Traveller.

AITO Travel Trade Writer of the Year
This award recognises the many and varied challenges faced by travel trade writers – from a mix of complex travel industry issues to briefing agents on selling many and varied travel experiences.

In first place was Hollie-Rae Brader for her piece, ‘Wildlife Wonderland’ about her travels to the Galapagos Islands in Aspire, which one judge commented that “without a doubt, it makes you want to go there and share the experience”.

In second place was Katie McGonagle, for her article, ‘Rocky Road’, which was featured in Travel Weekly.

In third place was Erica Bush, who wins for her piece, ‘Up, Up and Away’ in Aspire.

AITO Travel Blogger of the Year
This category recognises the considerable influence of travel bloggers and their role within the travel writing community.

In first place, the winning piece by Phoebe Smith, ‘Beyond Lapland’, published on, was described by judges as “a really enjoyable read that made me want to go and experience it for myself!”.

In second place was ‘Meeting Lemurs in Madagascar’, by Lauren Jarvis, published on

In third place, for his piece ‘The Swiss mountain that’s changing forever’ published on, is Mike MacEacheran.

Chairman of AITO, Chris Rowles, said: “Huge congratulations to all of the very worthy winners of this year’s awards. We had some fantastic entries for 2020, with over 300 wonderfully-written pieces to review.

“We’d also like to thank the judges for their time spent reading so many examples of great travel writing, with a special thanks to those who sponsored the cash prizes for the winners.”

For further information on AITO’s Travel Writer of the Year Awards, visit


Press: For further information on AITO, please contact Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email Laura Forbes ( or Sue Ockwell (


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AITO – The Specialist Travel Association


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AITO Travel Writer of the Year Awards
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Learn more

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