2019 Awards for Excellence Categories

The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) Travel Journalism Awards for Excellence is an annual celebration of outstanding travel writing, photography, and tourism communications.

Established in 1992, this is a closely contested competition among peers, focusing on the very best published work of the year. Recognition of talent, a coveted trophy and prizes are the rewards for the winners.

There are 22 categories in the ASTW awards. Eighteen awards are open to ASTW writer members and four awards are open to ASTW PR members.

  1. ASTW Travel Writer of the Year
  2. ASTW Travel Photographer of the Year
  3. Best Travel Photograph
  4. Best Instagram Photo
  5. Best Australian Travel Story over 1000 words
  6. Best Australian Travel Story under 1000 words
  7. Best International Travel Story under 1000 words
  8. Best International Travel Story over 1000 words
  9. Best Adventure Travel Story
  10. Best Responsible Tourism Story
  11. Best Cruise Travel Story
  12. Best Family Travel Story
  13. Best Food Travel Story
  14. Best Travel Blog
  15. Best Travel Story about the AGM host destination – Thailand
  16. Best Trade & Tourism News Story
  17. Best Travel Blog Post
  18. Best Travel Book *NEW

 PR AWARDS

  1. Communicator of the Year
  2. Best PR Campaign of The Year – Digital or Traditional
  3. Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product
  4. The Award for Responsible and Sustainable Travel Practices

CRITERIA

Before you enter your selected categories, please read the criteria carefully. By entering, you are agreeing to abide by the entry criteria and the rules therein. The decision of the judges shall be final and non-appealable and no correspondence will be entered into. Entry fee for each entry is $25.

1- Travel Writer of the Year – sponsored by Visit USA Organisation Australia

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- Travel Photographer of the Year

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 websites. 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.

3- Best Travel Photograph

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.

4- Best Instagram Photo

The image must have been taken and posted by the member on the member’s Instagram account during the current membership year. The image can be taken with any device including camera, iPad or smart phone. 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. Photos entered in other categories in the ASTW Awards of Excellence 2018 that may also have been posted on the member’s Instagram account, are not eligible. *PR members can also enter this award

5- Best Australian Travel Story under 1000 words – sponsored by Tourism Australia

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.

6- Best Australian Travel Story over 1000 words – sponsored by Tourism Australia

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.

7- Best International Travel Story under 1000 words

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.

 8- Best International Travel Story over 1000 words

This category is for destination articles published about travelling 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. There is no word limit on entries. The published story must be over 1000 words, not including fact boxes or breakout boxes.

9- Best Adventure Story – sponsored by G Adventures

This category is for destination articles that focus on adventure travel (soft, rugged, solo or group) and/or focus on an extreme journey using any mode of transport such as hiking or travelling by bike, car, train, boat, horse, camel, kayak, skis, snowboard, snowmobile or dog sled.

 10- Best Responsible Tourism Story – sponsored by Intrepid Group

Responsible 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 Cruise Travel Story – Sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

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.

 12- Best Family Travel Story – – sponsored by Family Travel

This category is for articles 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.

 13- Best Food Travel Story – sponsored by Tourism New Zealand

This category is for articles published about food in Australia or overseas. Stories may describe destinations, experiences, people, technology or products; or there be an analysis of food and beverage related trends or issues.

14- Best Travel Blog – sponsored by Family Travel

Open to personal blogs written by ASTW members where the majority of the content (at least 80%) is created by the blog publisher/s. Entries should be accompanied by a brief (100-word) background on the blog which includes the author’s goals, audience, and content; links to three blog posts from the judging period; and Google Analytics for 12 months. Judging criteria: While blogs will be judged primarily on the quality of writing, content, layout, quality of information given and ease of navigation will also be taken into consideration. This is not for commercial or travel trade websites.

15- Best Travel Story about the AGM host destination (Bangkok) – sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand

This award is for articles and blogs published on the previous year’s ASTW AGM destination, whether in Australia or overseas. The award this year is for stories published about Thailand, through the associated famils or trips organised with other entities by those members who attended the 2018 AGM in Bangkok. Stories may be either trade or consumer.  NB. Stories entered into this category can also be entered in another category.

16- Best Travel and Tourism News Story

Trade/industry articles report and comment on current developments in domestic or international tourism. Articles may be published in trade or consumer media. Additional judging criteria: newsworthiness; calibre of writing; analysis and evaluation of the topic.

17- Best Travel Blog Post

This category is for the best travel post (story) posted on the member’s own blog or published on a major travel website under the member’s name and as a paid story. 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 post, or any part of it, cannot have been published elsewhere.

 18- Best Travel Book (*reintroduced in 2019)

This category is for independently written (co-authored books not accepted) travel guides or non-fiction books published in hard format (ebooks not accepted) for the first time in the past two years, from May 2017 to end of April 2019. Eligible titles must have a 2017-2019 publication date and ISBN number. The author or the author’s publisher must provide three copies of the book – one for each judge – to the Secretariat (PO Box 3173, Helensvale Town Centre QLD 4212). Galley copies are welcome. When entering online, the author must also provide a short synopsis (maximum 150 words) of the book and the research process. If the books need to be returned, the entrant must provide suitable envelopes and postage. Books not returned will be gratefully used as prizes in the annual ASTW trivia night.

PR AWARDS

19- Communicator of the Year – Sponsored by TravMedia

Nominees should be ASTW PR members who have demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism in their relationships with members. This award is to be based on nominations from a writer member and the criteria is based on how well the PR member communicates on behalf of her/his client with the writer. IE responding to requests for information or images promptly, organising famils or providing great, well-written press releases for our writer members. Once nominations are in, all PR nominees will be contacted to then go online and pay the $25 entry fee. All the entries will be sent via Survey Monkey to all writer members, with the PR member receiving the most votes, named as the winner.

20-  Best PR Campaign of The Year – Digital or Traditional

This award category is open to all campaigns delivered by either traditional or digital media by ASTW PR members in the past 12 months that achieved the members’ organisation/client objective and involves the ASTW in some way. The campaign can consist of a familiarisation program, social media, traditional media or consumer event, or a wider-reaching campaign. Entries should include what the objective of the campaign was, what was the strategy and how was it executed, what was the result of the campaign, (coverage metrics, reach and impressions), and what was the impact on business performance (if known/applicable). Evidence of coverage should be provided.

21- Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product

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.

22. The Award for Responsible and Sustainable Travel Practices sponsored by KARRYON & ‘Travel to change the world’ (* NEW!)

To be awarded to the company, tourism provider or destination that is at the forefront of sustainable and responsible tourism practices. This can include but is not limited to, hotels, hotel groups, destinations, tour companies, cruise companies etc. Nominees should be companies or tourism providers represented by ASTW PR members. This award is to be based on nominations from a writer or PR member – PR members can nominate the company they work for. Once nominations are in, all nominees will be contacted to then go online and pay the $25 entry fee as well as providing further information on the company’s practices. All the entries will be sent via Survey Monkey to all writer members, with the company receiving the most votes, named as the winner.