ASTW Awards for Excellence will open at 9:00am on Monday 10 August, 2020

The 2020 award entries are to be submitted via Award Force. You will need to follow the button below to be taken to the Award Force landing page. You will need to register on Award Force in order to submit your entry.

Award entries close on Friday 28 August at 11:59pm

Only fully paid current ASTW members are eligible to enter. 

About the 2020 Awards

The awards – which have been held annually since 1992 – celebrate the best of travel writing, photography and travel PR communications throughout Australia.

Given the current media and travel environment there has never been a more important time to recognise the very best published work and tourism promotion by ASTW members.

The announcement of the 18 categories follows a comprehensive review of the 2019 Awards for Excellence by the Awards Review Panel. Their recommendations, along with feedback from members, were assessed by a specially appointed ASTW Awards sub-committee, which didn’t comprise any current ASTW Committee members or members intending to nominate for this year’s awards. The Awards sub-committee was tasked with the job of revising the scope and criteria for categories to ensure greater clarity and relevance.

Updated categories include ‘PR Professional of the Year’, which replaces the previous ‘PR Communicator of the Year’ category first introduced in 2019, and ‘The Best Responsible Tourism Story’ category has also been updated to the ‘Best Sustainable Tourism Story’.

The ‘Hall of Fame’ has also been dismantled allowing everyone to enter regardless of previous Hall of Fame attribution.

To ensure maximum participation in the Best Travel Book award will be held over for a year, with entries in 2021 Awards covering the previous two years.

Criteria for judging is included in the category descriptions below, and submissions should cover articles published and PR activities implemented in the year from 1 May 2019 to 30 June 2020.

The Awards sub-committee also reviewed judges, who have been selected for their long-standing expertise in their field – writing, editing, publishing, photography, PR, and digital media – and are sourced from across Australia and overseas. They volunteer their time, which is massively appreciated, but to ensure transparency they cannot be members of the ASTW and must declare any conflict of interest when judging entries.

The link will guide you through to the entry site, which is managed by a new, sophisticated software program called Award Force. This new awards management system will ensure that the considerable administrative requirements of organising an Awards program are streamlined, taking the awards to a new level of professionalism.

It will require you to register, and with the entry system being new, members may need to allocate a little more time to ensure they upload their submissions correctly. In other words, act early, rather than last minute!

While the closure of borders and continued uncertainty surrounding the pandemic makes a physical gala awards ceremony logistically impossible in 2020, the ASTW will honour and celebrate the ‘best of the best’ at a virtual awards ceremony – the first in ASTW’s history – on Thursday 5 November.

Sponsorship opportunities will be available for 16 categories. We have confirmed Tourism Australia as a sponsor and will be seeking additional sponsorships soon. Sponsors will have the opportunity to present the award for their category at the virtual awards ceremony.  Expressions of interest from potential sponsors will be open until 11 September 2020, and should be addressed to the ASTW Secretariat.

Sponsors will have no involvement in judging their awards.

Award Categories

1) ASTW TRAVEL WRITER OF THE YEAR

Judging criteria: Awarded to the writer member with the best portfolio of three (3) published travel stories for the judging period. Articles can be either to industry or consumers but must have been published as part of paid editorial features, including magazines, books, newspapers or online media. Stories may be under or over 1000 words.

 

2) ASTW PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

Judging criteria: Awarded to the writer member with the best portfolio of five (5) published travel images for the year. Images must have been published as part of paid editorial features, including magazines, books, newspapers or online. The photographs can be from anywhere or of anyone as long as they illustrate editorial travel features. Additional judging criteria: photographs will be judged on ability to communicate a sense of the place, people, and/or culture; ability to evoke interest and engage the viewer; and use of lighting, composition, focus and other photographic techniques to produce an outstanding image illustrating a travel destination or experience.  Images that have been entered in previous years cannot be entered again. Images do not have to follow a theme or be connected. Images must have been published for the first time during the current membership year but might have been taken in previous years.

Any metadata on the images that could give away the name of the photographer must be deleted. An image taken by a member that for all intents and purposes is identical to another image published by that member in a previous year is ineligible.

Entries for the Photographer of the Year award should crop the photo to the same dimensions as presented in the published work. In all other aspects, photos should be submitted as originally sent to the publisher. It is understood that photos may not appear exactly as they were sent originally due to variations in printing and publication fulfilment.

 

3) PR PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR

Judging criteria: This award will be judged by an expert group of PR professionals who will make their judgement based on documented evidence outlining exceptional performance over the previous year. The winner will need to be able to outline specific campaigns and initiatives (up to 5) undertaken during the year that show creativity, strategic planning, the ability to deliver strong media results (with full analysis of return on investment), create positive (or turnaround) sentiment, collaborate with partners, and use an extensive array of PR tools – such as press releases, famils, events, social media campaigns, photo/film opportunities – to deliver the exceptional result. The submission can relate to one client or a range of clients.

 

4) BEST STORY ABOUT AGM HOST DESTINATION

Judging criteria: This award is for articles and professional blogs published on the previous year’s ASTW AGM destination, whether in Australia or overseas. The award this year is for stories published about Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, through the associated famils or trips organised with other entities by those members who attended the 2019 AGM in Cairns. Stories may be either trade or consumer.  NB. Stories entered into this category can also be entered in another category.

 

5) BEST FAMILY TRAVEL STORY

Judging criteria: This category is for articles – print and online, including professional blog sites – published about families with children travelling together in Australia or overseas. Stories may describe travel destinations or experiences and may range from a single destination to several destinations, products or activities.  Stories may also include tips and advice on travelling to or in that destination specific to the needs of families.

 

6) BEST AUSTRALIAN STORY UNDER 1000 WORDS

Sponsored by TOURISM AUSTRALIA

Judging criteria: This category is for destination articles about travel within Australia. Stories may describe travel destinations or products and may range from a single destination to several destinations, products or activities that are thematically linked. The published story must be under 1000 words.

 

7) BEST AUSTRALIAN STORY OVER 1000 WORDS

Sponsored by TOURISM AUSTRALIA 

Judging criteria: This category is for destination articles about travel within Australia. Stories may describe travel destinations or products and may range from a single destination to several destinations, products or activities that are thematically linked. The published story must be over 1000 words, not including fact boxes or breakout boxes.

 

8) BEST FOOD TRAVEL STORY

Judging criteria: This category is for articles published about all aspects of food – including wine, beer and other food-related aspects – in Australia or overseas. Essentially this should be a destination piece, with food at the heart of the story, utilising activities, people, technology and products experienced in the destination.

 

9) BEST INSTAGRAM PHOTO

Judging criteria: The image must have been taken and posted by the member on the member’s Instagram account during the current eligibility period. The image can be taken with any device including camera, iPad or smartphone. The image must have been taken on a famil or privately organised trip to illustrate a travel destination or experience. The Instagram shots will be judged on their ability to communicate a sense of the place, people, and/or culture; ability to evoke interest and engage the viewer; and use of lighting, composition, focus and other photographic techniques including the creative use of apps and filters. Judges will also consider the effective use of text to ‘set the scene’ in the Instagram post, and engagement of viewers.

 

10) BEST SUSTAINABLE TOURISM STORY

Judging criteria: Sustainable tourism is travel that is environmentally, socially, culturally and/or economically sustainable. Stories may be about a low-impact experience or destination, or an organisation or individual committed to sustainable travel; or analysis of responsible tourism issues. Additional judging criteria:  discussion and analysis of responsible tourism issues; quality of writing; ability to inspire readers to travel and live in a more responsible way.

 

11) BEST ADVENTURE STORY

Judging criteria: This category is for destination articles that focus on adventure travel (rugged, solo or group) with emphasis on a challenging experience (physically and/or mentally) using transport such as small boats, bikes, camels or horses and/or activities such as diving, hiking, mountaineering, rafting and kayaking.

 

12) BEST TOURISM ORGANISATION OR TRAVEL PRODUCT

Judging criteria: This award is presented to the most effective one-off or ongoing liaison during the year for current clients that inspires the industry to write about the destination/or product. It is open to international, domestic/state and regional tourism organisations, tour operators, airlines, attractions, cruises, hotels, rail companies and other travel-related products represented by an ASTW PR member. Nominations should describe in 250 words why this tourism organisation or product deserves the award. Examples of coverage should be included.

 

13) BEST CRUISE STORY

Judging criteria: This category is for articles published about all modes of cruising, including ocean, river, expedition, luxury, sailing, freighter or small ship. Stories may be about single or multi-day cruises in Australia or overseas.

 

14) BEST INTERNATIONAL STORY

Judging criteria: This category is for destination articles about travel outside Australia. Stories may describe travel destinations or products and may range from a single destination to several destinations, products or activities that are thematically linked. Articles should be at least 700 words in length.

 

15) BEST TRADE AND TOURISM NEWS STORY

Judging criteria: Articles should be specifically trade or industry focussed, reporting and commenting on current developments in domestic or international tourism. Articles should not be “general” tourism pieces, but rather cover the business of travel, examining products that can change the nature of travel or trends that will affect the way people travel. Articles may be published in trade or consumer media. Additional judging criteria: newsworthiness; calibre of writing; analysis and evaluation of the topic.

 

16) BEST TRAVEL BLOG

Judging criteria: Entries should be accompanied by a 500-word background on the blog which includes goals, audience, links to five posts written by the entrant and Google Analytics for 12 months showing an average of 10,000 pageviews a month. Judging criteria: Blogs have to be operating on a self-hosted platform (such as WordPress.org) and will be judged on the quality of writing, use of digital content (writing, photos and videos), inspirational and informational value, design and structure, technical aspects and use of SEO.

 

17) BEST TRAVEL BLOG POST

Judging criteria: This category is for the best travel blog post published on a member’s own blog site. Stories may be about any travel-related post, including a personal narrative, an opinion piece, an issues-based article or industry analysis. It can be about destinations or products and may range from a single destination to several destinations, products or activities that are thematically linked. The judging criteria will include quality of content, inspiration and information.

 

18) BEST TRAVEL PHOTO

Judging criteria: Awarded to the writer member with the best-published travel image for the year. The image must have been published as part of a paid editorial feature including magazines, books, newspapers or websites. The image can be from anywhere or of anyone as long as it illustrates an editorial travel feature. Additional judging criteria: photographs will be judged on ability to communicate a sense of the place, people, and/or culture; ability to evoke interest and engage the viewer; and use of lighting, composition, focus and other photographic techniques to produce an outstanding image illustrating a travel destination or experience. Images that have been entered in the awards in previous years cannot be entered again. The image must have been published for the first time during the membership year but might have been taken in previous years. Images entered in the Photographer of the Year awards can also be entered in this category. Any metadata on the images that could give away the name of the photographer must be deleted. A shot, that for all intents and purposes is identical to another shot published in a previous year, is ineligible.

Entries for the Best Travel Photo award should crop the photo to the same dimensions as presented in the published work. In all other aspects, photos should be submitted as originally sent to the publisher. It is understood that photos may not appear exactly as they were sent originally due to variations in printing and publication fulfilment.

 

Special note re criteria for all the awards in the writing and photographic categories (excluding Best Travel Blog, Best Travel Blog Post, Instagram photo):

Entries must be an editorial feature/photograph commissioned and published on a platform or publication not owned, part-owned, run by, or affiliated with, the entrant. It must be featured on a media outlet and not a commercial platform and the entrant must have been paid an appropriate market rate by the media outlet commissioning the story/photograph. Proof of the above may be requested.