Australian Society of Travel Writers announces Winners of 2018 Awards for Excellence

Australia’s top travel writers and public relations professionals were honoured at the annual ASTW Awards for Excellence gala held at Anantara Riverside, Bangkok Thailand, on 19 August, 2018.

These prestigious awards are now in their 25th year and are a highlight of the annual ASTW Convention, with more than 120 guests travelling from across Australia to attend.

The top writer accolade, Travel Writer of the Year, sponsored by Visit USA Australia, was awarded to Catherine Marshall for a second consecutive year. She was judged on three stories published in Qantas magazine, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller section.

Ms Marshall was also awarded Best Food Story sponsored by United Airlines and the Best International Story under 1000 words, sponsored by the Insurance Council of Australia.

“This is indeed a tremendous honour and an event to be celebrated with gusto. This accolade hinges on so many people: my editors; the operators who so kindly hosted me; the panel of judges; and the ASTW committee. A great big thank-you to Visit USA for sponsoring this award,” said Catherine Marshall.

ASTW Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent, went to Dan Avila, “It’s an extreme honour to receive this award for a third consecutive year. The ASTW is a fantastic organisation of hard-working professionals who care deeply about the travel industry. It’s through these relationships that wonderful opportunities to take photos and write stories come about.”

In a clean sweep, Dan also won the inaugural Best Instagram Photo sponsored by the ASTW 2018 Convention destination host Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Best Travel Photo sponsored by Thai Airways International.

The top PR accolade, Communicator of the Year, sponsored by TravMedia, was awarded to Pip Macken from DC&A Worldwide – Destination Canada.

Ms Macken said she was thrilled to be recognised among such amazing talent and thanked the ASTW and its members for their loyal support and encouragement.

“Working for Destination Canada is truly the dream job and I’m so grateful to have the chance to work alongside Aussie writers and photographers who are such fantastic Canada advocates.”

Other categories included Best Family Travel Story, Best Australian Story Over and Under 1000 words and Best Food Travel Story. All categories, winners and finalists are detailed below.

“ASTW members represent the leading writers, editors, publishers, content creators and public relations professionals of the Australian travel industry. More than 490 entries – a record breaking number – were received across the 20 Award categories with an exceptional calibre of entrants. Being named a finalist is an absolute honour and I congratulate you all,” said ASTW President Danielle Lancaster.

“I would also like to thank each of the sponsors, in particular the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who were the major sponsor of this year’s convention. Finally, thank you to our esteemed judges from Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, India, Sweden and the USA. Each award has three independent judges, each of whom gives their time to judge the awards. All commented on the high quality of work.”

For media information contact ASTW PR representatives:
Saskia Baker on 0407 752 813 or saskia@smbcommunications.com.au
Angela Thompson on 0481 368 018 or athompsonPR@gmail.com

For more information on the ASTW or to become a member see  How to apply

FULL LIST of WINNERS:

TRAVEL WRITER OF THE YEAR
SPONSORED BY VISIT USA AUSTRALIA 

WINNER – CATHERINE MARSHALL

Catherine Marshall

A budding romance – Traveller/Fairfax Media

Down to earth – The Weekend Australian

A town called Marfa – Qantas magazine

OTHER FINALISTS:

Kerry van der Jagt

Day of the Dead – Vacations & Travel magazine

Memories are made of this – Traveller/Fairfax Media

Jordan history tour – Traveller/Fairfax Media

John Borthwick

Into the wilds – The Weekend Australian *no link

A sandy road to Qld beachside adventure – The West Australian

Turn and face the strain – Adventure.com

ASTW PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by ABERCROMBIE & KENT

WINNER – DAN AVILA

Cable Beach Camels – Holidays with Kids
Abu Dhabi Sunset  – Signature Luxury Travel & Style Magazine
The Road to Hana – Signature Luxury Travel & Style Magazine
Pre-dawn Patagonia – Vacations & Travel Magazine
Ningaloo Nature – Vacations & Travel Magazine

OTHER FINALISTS:

Jocelyn Pride
Walking on thin ice – Vacations & Travel
Midnight sun – Vacations & Travel
Crystal clear – Vacations & Travel
Concordia – Vacations & Travel
Bad breath – Vacations & Travel

Kara Murphy

Speckled humpback – Dockwalk
Manta parade – Southern Boating
Turtle trio – Southern Boating
Molokini crater convergence – 
Escape/News Ltd
Finding Nemo in the Similans –  
International Traveller

COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by 
TRAVMEDIA

WINNER – PIP MACKEN – DC&A WORLDWIDE – DESTINATION CANADA

OTHER FINALISTS:

Peter Hook – Hook Communications
Donna Parkin – Parkin PR
Shelley Winkel – Tourism Queensland

THE JACK BUTTERS AWARD
Honorary award given to someone who has made an important contribution to the ASTW
WINNER –   PETER HOOK

BEST STORY ABOUT AGM HOST DESTINATION 2017: SUNSHINE COAST, QUEENSLAND
Sponsored by 
VISIT SUNSHINE COAST

WINNERS:
JULIE MILLER
Sand Dunes And Sunsets – Julie Miller – Nat Geo Australia
JOHN BORTHWICK
A Sandy Road To Qld Beachside Adventures  – The West AUSTRALIAN

OTHER FINALISTS:

Christine Retschlag – Sunshine Coasting – The Global Goddess
Celeste Mitchell – Everybody loves the Sunshine – Australian Traveller

BEST FAMILY TRAVEL STORY
Sponsored by 
FAMILY TRAVEL

WINNER – SHERIDEN RHODES
A million-star experience on a floating hotel – Traveller/Fairfax Media

OTHER FINALISTS:
Jac Taylor – No work and all play – International Traveller
Mark Daffey – Wet ‘n Wild – Traveller/Fairfax Media

BEST AUSTRALIAN STORY UNDER 1000 WORDS
Sponsored by TOURISM AUSTRALIA

WINNERS:
BELINDA JACKSON
Luxury to bank on – Traveller/Fairfax Media
ANDREW BAIN
Australia’s most unusual natural wonder – Traveller/Fairfax Media

OTHER FINALISTS:
Roderick Eime – Adventures in the Kimberley – Courier Mail
Jennifer Ennion – Snorkel with seals off Tasmania’s southeast shores – Weekend Australian
Catherine Best – Branching out – The Australian

BEST AUSTRALIAN STORY OVER 1000 WORDS
Sponsored by 
TOURISM AUSTRALIA 

WINNER – BRAD CROUCH
Only in S.A. – Escape/News Ltd

OTHER FINALISTS:
Tracey Croke – Mountain biking in Far North Qld – Rad Season
Christine Retschlag – You’ll discover a bounty of beauty – Australian Senior
Celeste Mitchell – Everybody loves the Sunshine – Australian Traveller

BEST FOOD TRAVEL STORY
Sponsored by 
UNITED AIRLINES

WINNER: CATHERINE MARSHALL

Wildlife on the move – The Weekend Australian

OTHER FINALISTS:
Craig Tansley – Taste of Kakadu– Traveller/Fairfax Media
Penny Watson – Taste of Victoria – DestinAsian Magazine 

BEST INSTAGRAM PHOTO
Sponsored by 
Tourism Authority Thailand

WINNER: DAN AVILA
My bison moment

OTHER FINALISTS:
Aleney de Winter – Cape Hillsborough
Tracey Croke – Sled Ride
Lauren Bath – Choki check up
Kara Murphy – Turtle at Lady Elliot


BEST RESPONSIBLE TOURISM STORY
Sponsored by 
INTREPID TRAVEL

WINNER: LOUISE SOUTHERDEN
Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan: A sustainable hotel in the Dana Biosphere Reserve –Traveller/Fairfax Media

OTHER FINALISTS:
Angela Saurine – Creatures Great and Small – MindFood
Kara Murphy – How to choose an ethical elephant encounter in Thailand – International Traveller
Krysia Bonkowski – Small but mighty – Jetstar magazine

BEST ADVENTURE STORY
Sponsored by G ADVENTURES

WINNER: RODERICK EIME
Riding the Revolution – Australian Road Rider

OTHER FINALISTS:
Jim Darby – From ski pole to South Pole – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Andrew Bain – Wild Finnish Winter – Outdoor

BEST TOURISM ORGANISATION OR TRAVEL PRODUCT
Sponsored by 
ASTW

WINNER: GLASGOW TOURISM – LAURA SPEIRS

OTHER FINALISTS:
Aiofe Finnegan – Tourism Ireland
Alison Roberts Brown/Leah Froelich – Visit Monaco

BEST CRUISE STORY
Sponsored By 
CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA)

WINNER: CRAIG TANSLEY
Tears of Joy – The Financial Review

OTHER FINALISTS:
Jocelyn Pride – Antarctic dreaming – Cruise Passenger      
Maggy Oehlbeck – Living the dream – The Australian

BEST INTERNATIONAL STORY OVER 1000 WORDS
Sponsored by 
ACCORHOTELS

WINNER: KERRY VAN DER JAGT
Day of the Dead – Vacations & Travel magazine

OTHER FINALISTS:
Rob McFarland – Seeing the gorillas in Africa’s safest nation – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Craig Tansley – Canada’s First and Last Great Ski Town – Traveller/Fairfax Media

BEST INTERNATIONAL STORY UNDER 1000 WORDS
Sponsored by 
INSURANCE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

WINNER: CATHERINE MARSHALL
On the Fragrance trail in Oman – Financial Review

OTHER FINALISTS:
John Borthwick – A Taste of the Royal Life – The West Australian
Mark Daffey – Tracking Hunter – Traveller/Fairfax Media

PR CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR – DIGITAL OR TRADITIONAL
Sponsored by 
ASTW

WINNER: DC&a wORLDWIDE – DESTINATION CANADA – dONNA

CAMPBELL AND PIP MACKEN 

OTHER FINALISTS:
Voyages – Field of Light Season 2 launch – Karena Noble
Mudgee Let’s Skip Town – Klick – Kim McKay
TFE Hotels & Frank PR – Doggie Degustation by – Caitlin Georghiou                    

BEST TOURISM AND TRAVEL NEWS STORY
Sponsored by PEREGRINE ADVENTURES IN HONOUR OF KRIS MADDEN

WINNER: ALENEY DE WINTER
The Capital of Cool – Vacations & Travel magazine     

OTHER FINALISTS:
Roderick Eime – Voyages of Discovery – The Australian
Jocelyn Pride – Poles Apart – Vacations & Travel magazine

BEST TRAVEL BLOG
Sponsored by 
OUT AND ABOUT WITH KIDS

WINNER – THE GLOBAL GODDESS – Christine Retschlag

OTHER FINALISTS
Have Wheelchair Will Travel – Julie Jones
BoyEatsWorld – Aleney de Winter

BEST TRAVEL BLOG POST
Sponsored by FAMILY TRAVEL

WINNER: BOYEATSWORLD  – The Call of Cambodia

OTHER FINALISTS:
Together We Roam – Phuket’s only ethical elephant tour
The Global Goddess –  My Saharan Stupidity

BEST TRAVEL PHOTO
Sponsored by Thai Airways International

WINNER – DAN AVILA
Pre-dawn Patagonia – Vacations & Travel

OTHER FINALISTS
Rob Dunlop – Clouds cling to mountaintop – Vacations & Travel
Kara Murphy – Molokini Crater convergence – Escape/News Ltd


Related information

2018 Awards for Excellence
2018 Awards judges