AITO – The Specialist Travel Association
AITO Travel Writer of the Year Awards
In a dazzling display of camaraderie and creativity, AITO (the specialist travel association) recently hosted a remarkable gathering of travel journalists, tour operators, and tourist boards at the much-anticipated 'AITO Meets the Media' event.
Held on Tuesday, 31 October, at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, the vibrant atmosphere of ‘AITO Meets the Media’ celebrated the remarkable contributions of travel journalism while providing a unique opportunity to exchange invaluable insights and ideas.
The crowning jewel of the event was undoubtedly the highly anticipated 2022/23 Travel Writer of the Year Awards. This prestigious accolade recognises the outstanding talents and contributions of travel writers who have left an indelible mark on the industry. The sheer depth and diversity of entries showcased the immense creativity and dedication that define travel journalism today. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the entrants who poured their hearts into their submissions, sharing their unique perspectives and experiences with the world. Each entry was a testament to the passion that drives these storytellers to inspire wanderlust in us all. We are eager to unveil the deserving winners who have set the bar for excellence in travel writing.
Thank you to all who attended!
AITO, the Specialist Travel Association (www.aito.com), is delighted to announce the results of its
2022/23 Travel Writer of the Year awards.
There was a wide range of entries across the five categories, and the judges assessed each article according to four criteria, seeking copy that was not only inspirational, informative and interesting, but that was also well-written.
The five Travel Writer of the Year awards – and their winning entries – are:
AITO Travel Writer of the Year
This is the most hotly contested award and, over the past 25 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 Liz Edwards for Son, spa and sand in Oman, a piece published in The Sunday Times. All judges agreed that Liz’s article “Really captured the spirit of the destination”, and that it was “A really good introduction to tourism in Oman”.
In second place, for her article No homework needed: Learning life lessons in the lush jungles of Costa Rica, for Adventure.com, was Meera Dattani.
In third place was Emma Thomson for her piece Camping with Custodians, in National Geographic Traveller.
AITO Travel Writer of the Year (TWOTY) Under 1,500 words
In first place, for his article Following in the footsteps of Cézanne in Provence, for The Sunday Times, was Sean Newsom. The judges said it was “A Wonderful example of well-researched, well-written travel writing. Very atmospheric, informative and with a relevant hook”.
In second place was Sarah Gillespie, whose piece, The underrated country set to become Southeast Asia’s next big thing, was published in The Times.
In third place was Lucy Perrin for her article, The blissful Indian idyll perfect for first-timers, published in The Times.
AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year
This award celebrates travel writing talent in the under-30s.
In first place was Jacqui Agate for her article in Where the Crawdads Sing: on location in the new film’s Louisiana bayous, for The Times which was described by the judging panel as “Polished, professional piece with an interesting theme. Topical and well-researched”.
In second place was Anna Richards, with her article, Holy Fork, published in SUITCASE Magazine.
In third place, for his article titled Rio’s favela tours are back, but are they ethical?, was Doug Loynes, published in Fodors.
AITO Travel Trade Writer of the Year
This award recognises the many and varied challenges faced by travel trade writers – from a wide mix of complex travel industry issues, to briefing agents on how best to sell the huge and varied range of travel experiences available.
In first place was Madeleine Barber for her piece, School for Cool in TTG, about which one of the judges said: “Writing as crisp as the environment it describes. An outstanding entry”.
In second place was Erica Rich for her piece Star-studded journey, which was featured in Aspire.
In third place was Lottie Gross, for her piece, Why chefs should take part in Regenuary, in The Caterer.
AITO Travel Blogger of the Year
This category recognises the considerable – and expanding – influence of travel bloggers and their role within the travel writing community.
In joint first place, were two pieces by the same author, Heidi Fuller-Love. Her first article, Albania: The great value Mediterranean beach destination that needs to be on your radar, which was published in the Travelsupermarket.blog, was described by one judge as “An ambitious, comprehensive and exciting guide to a little-known country, that has made me want to visit”. Her second winning piece, Why it’s time to fall in love with Lefkada, published in Weather2Travel, was described as, “A professional painting of what you might find – and enjoy – on the island”.
In second place was Gambian Cuisine, by Abigail King, published by Inside the Travel Lab.
In third place, for her piece Rewilding Portugal: the valley that waited 400 years for the cows to come home, published on Guardian.com, is Phoebe Smith.
Executive Director of AITO, Martyn Sumners, said: “A huge thank you to all the writers who took part in the AITO Travel Writer of the Year Awards. As ever, we had some excellent entries, and would like to share our congratulations with all the extremely worthy winners”.
“While only the top three in each category win the glory and the prizes, we’d like to thank hugely all who made the effort to enter, and to say how many excellent and very enjoyable articles the judges took considerable pleasure in reading.
“We’d also like to thank all our great many judges for reading, and evaluating carefully, so many examples of very good travel writing. Special thanks to Gran Canaria, Christopher Kirker, former AITO Chair, and Travel PR who very kindly sponsored the cash prizes for the winners.”
For further information on AITO’s Travel Writer of the Year Awards, visit www.aito.com.
Press: For further information on AITO, please see www.aito.com or contact Travel PR on 020 8891 4440. Alternatively, email Gemma Minto (email@example.com) or Sue Ockwell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Notes to editors: For the full 2022/23 shortlist, see here.
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