Calling all budding travel writers

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) have collaborated to launch a new initiative, aimed at enticing a new era of travel writers in Australia.

In a first for the ASTW, the association will introduce the “Rising Star” award to their existing 2018 Awards for Excellence programme, designed to provide a boost for writers looking to expand their expertise into the often daunting but aspirational travel writing industry.

The award is open to writers and digital influencers who have had their first paid travel story published in the past two years.

Entries will be reviewed by three judges: HKTB Regional Director, Andrew Clark; author of the Hong Kong Precincts guidebook and ASTW committee member, Penny Watson; and award-winning freelance journalist and media industry academic, Lee Mylne. The travel editor for Australian media organisation, Fairfax Media, will review a shortlist of three finalists to select the final winner.

The winner will receive a trip to Hong Kong, including: return economy airfares; four nights’ accommodation; return Airport Express Line voucher; MTR pass with HK$200 credit; dinner at Ho Lee Fook; foodie tour of Sham Shui Po; tour of Tai Kwun – Hong Kong’s new centre for Heritage and Arts; traditional junk boat ride to view the nightly light and sound show – A Symphony of Lights. The winner’s subsequent Hong Kong story will also be published by Traveller.com.au and will be considered for Traveller’s print edition in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

The winner will also receive a one-year “Rising Star” membership to the ASTW valued at AU$400 and will be invited to attend an ASTW Christmas lunch where they will be presented with their award.

ASTW president, Danielle Lancaster said this is an exciting initiative for the ASTW that will give back to the writing community and ensure a healthy future for the society.

“The ASTW was founded in 1975 and today has more than 300 members. We want to share this wealth of knowledge and talent with those eager to also craft a career in the travel writing industry,” Ms Lancaster said.

“The committee are always looking for ways to mentor rising talent and educate the industry on the benefits of being a member, we were thrilled to be approached by HKTB with an idea to make this goal come to life.”

HKTB regional director – Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Andrew Clark said The HKTB are thrilled to be supporting grassroots development in the travel writing industry.

“It’s great to be a part of an initiative which supports up-coming talent and also the ASTW which we have long been associated with,” Mr Clark said.

“Hong Kong is also a fantastic destination to ‘cut your teeth’ as a travel writer, with so many experiences, neighbourhoods and environments to suit any style of writer. We look forward to working with the ASTW to grow this award and also the overall platform for Australian writing talent.”

Award criteria:

  • – Award entrants are writers or digital influencers who have had their first paid travel story published in the past two years and who are not existing ASTW members
  • – The award submission must be a travel related article under 1,000 words published between 31 October, 2016 – 31 October, 2018
  • – The article must have been a paid commission and judges will need to see evidence of story payment, upon request
  • – The article will have featured in a print publication with a minimum circulation of 20,000 or in an online publication with a minimum of 10,000 unique visitors per month

How to enter:

Entries are open from 1 August, 2018 to 31 October, 2018 via astw.org.au/rising-star
The winner will be announced on 30 November, 2018 on www.astw.org.au/news; www.facebook.com/australiansocietyoftravelwriters and will also be notified via phone.

For more information on the award visit www.astw.org.au or for information about Hong Kong, visit www.discoverhongkong.com/au

ASTW members collect awards

Australian Society of Travel Writers member Aleney de Winter has won the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Gold Award for Travel Journalism for her destination article entitled “Angkor Away”, which was published in Holidays With Kids.

Aleney de Winter, who will travel to Langkawi in September to collect the award, said she has had a decades long love affair with Cambodia and has seen first-hand how tourism has helped the country recover from its traumatic past. “To receive this award for celebrating the transformative power of travel and encouraging families to explore Cambodia’s many wonders is an incredible feeling.”

Photo: Aleney de Winter

Another accolade for the ASTW was received by member Jocelyn Pride who has been named “Best Travel Writer – Consumer” in the annual National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA), hosted by the Australian Federation of Travel Agents on Saturday, July 22.

Pride was one of five ASTW members to be named as finalists in the award category. Other nominees included Helen Hayes, Barry O’Brien, Christine Retschlag and Aleney de Winter.

The winning article “Poles apart” featured in Vacations & Travel magazine. It reviewed the nature and wildlife differences between the Arctic and Antarctic and touched on the Polar Code, which is being introduced to control tourism organisations to ensure stability in these vulnerable destinations.

“Being a part of the NTIA gala evening with the other finalists made me truly appreciate the scale and the positive vibe of the travel industry in general. I only recently joined the industry in 2014, after a long teaching career, so the award means a great deal to me because it validates my career change.” said Jocelyn Pride.

 

Photo: Jocelyn Pride-NITA winner with Tony Archbold – HAL Director of Sales, Australia

ASTW President, Danielle Lancaster said: “Congratulations to Aleney, Jocelyn and all the finalists on behalf of the ASTW community. We are thrilled at the recognition of talent within the Society and encourage members to take opportunities such as PATA and NTIA to profile their work”.

For more information about ASTW or to become a member, see How to apply or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on secretariat@astw.org.au.

About the ASTW

The ASTW is a 300-strong group of travel writers, editors, radio and television broadcasters, bloggers, guide book authors and photographers (as well as travel industry public relations and marketing professionals) whose work appears regularly in major newspapers, magazines, airwaves and websites across Australia and the world.

All ASTW members must satisfy strict criteria to join and are obligated to substantiate their membership annually by providing details of their published output or industry participation. They must also adhere to a Code of Ethics. By ensuring that only bona fide applicants are admitted, the ASTW maintains its integrity and the professionalism of the travel industry.

ASTW announces finalists for 2018 Awards for Excellence

The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) is proud to announce the finalists for the 2018 Awards of Excellence. We had a record breaking amount of entries this year, with some new categories introduced.

We would like to thank each and every one of our sponsors – without them, there are no awards.

The Society would also like to thank the judges. There are three independent judges for each category, all industry leaders hailing from the USA, UK, India, New Zealand, Canada, China and Australia.

The winners will be announced at the 2018 Awards for Excellence, to be held at Anantara Riverside, Bangkok, Thailand, on 19 August.

View the complete list of finalists

 

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.

ASTW pleased to partner with Visit USA again in 2018

The Australian Society of Travel Writers is pleased to announce that Visit USA have come on board as the sponsor for this year’s coveted Travel Writer of the Year award. Visit USA sponsored the 2017 award, won by Catherine Marshall.

Visit USA is a voluntary body that promotes travel to the United States of America. It is funded by individual members from the Australian Travel Trade as well as from associate members in the USA. The Board Members of the organisation work vigorously to promote the US as a desirable destination of choice.

The Travel Writer of the Year is Awarded to the writer member with the best portfolio of three published travel stories for the judging period. It is the most coveted of the 20 awards presented at the ASTW’s Travel Journalism Awards for Excellence, 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.

Visit USA will be sponsoring the award along with a prize, which will see the winner gain entry to the Brand USA visiting journalist program. The 2018 awards will be presented at the annual ASTW Convention in Thailand in August.

For more information about sponsoring awards, lunches or events; attending events as a member’s guest or for membership enquiries, please explore this website or contact secretariat Justine White on secretariat@astw.org.au

About the ASTW

The ASTW is a 300-strong group of travel writers, editors, radio and television broadcasters, bloggers, guidebook authors and photographers (as well as travel industry public relations and marketing professionals) whose work appears regularly in major newspapers, magazines, airwaves and websites across Australia and the world.

All ASTW members must satisfy strict criteria to join and are obligated to substantiate their membership annually by providing details of their published output or industry participation. They must also adhere to a Code of Ethics. By ensuring that only bona fide applicants are admitted, the ASTW maintains its integrity and the professionalism of the travel industry.

This news item originally appeared on ETB Travel News.

Entries for ASTW Awards for Excellence Closing Soon

Calling all ASTW writer and PR members to enter the 2018 Awards for Excellence before 1 May to showcase your best story, blog, photograph, PR campaign or organisation. The 20 award categories are inclusive of members working across traditional, digital, specialist or boutique media and tourism organisations.

Award winners and finalists will be celebrated by industry peers at the gala dinner held on 18 August, 2018 in Bangkok and will receive a new logo to include on their digital and print material to highlight the calibre of their work to editors, clients and colleagues. A prize and trophy will be presented to category winners.

The awards are judged by a panel of three independent, international and national industry professionals. Seventeen awards are open to writer members and three to PR members. Nominations for the Communicator of the Year Award have now closed, with writer members to receive an email to vote on finalists.

CATEGORIES INCLUDE:

  • ASTW Travel Writer of the Year
  • ASTW Travel Photographer of the Year
  • Best Adventure Travel Story
  • Best Australian Story under 1000 words
  • Best Australian Story over 1000 words
  • Best Cruise Travel Story
  • Best Family Travel Story
  • Best Food Travel Story
  • Best Instagram Photograph NEW in 2018
  • Best International Story under 1000 words
  • Best International Story over 1000 words
  • Best Responsible Tourism Story
  • Best Trade and Tourism News Story
  • Best Travel Blog
  • Best Travel Blog Post NEW in 2018
  • Best Travel Photograph
  • Best Travel Story about the AGM host destination – Sunshine Coast
  • PR – Campaign of the Year (Digital or Traditional)
  • PR – Communicator of the Year Now nominated by writer members
  • PR – Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product

TO ENTER: See 2018 Awards for Excellence

COST: $25 per entry

KEY DATES:

  • Entries must be received no later than 23:59 (11.59pm) on 1 May 2018
  • Finalists announced – Monday 9 July 2018
  • Winners announced at Gala Dinner – Saturday 18 August 2018

The 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.

For more information about ASTW or to become a member, see Who can join or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on secretariat@astw.org.au.

Terms & Conditions:

The ASTW Awards for Excellence are only open to financial writer members, including full writers, associate writers, photographers and digital influencers; and PR Members of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. All entries must have been published for the first time in print or online, in Australia or overseas, between 1 May 2017 and 30 April 2018. If you have a story that is published on 30 April 2018, you can enter the story without the proof of publication. Please send the proof of publication within a week of being published. New members can only enter awards that have been published after their joining date. Please read all terms and conditions on the entry form.

ASTW Calls Members to Substantiate for 2018-19 Membership

The Australian Society of Travel Writers committee invites current members to substantiate for 2018-19 memberships. Writer, PR and Digital Influencers are required to complete the online substantiation form between 1-30 April. Prospective members are invited to apply via the online registration form.

Members substantiate annually to demonstrate they are actively involved in the travel industry. This ensures the credibility of the ASTW as an association that represents travel media professionals. All members must satisfy strict criteria to join and provide details of their published output or industry participation.

Life Members, Friends of the ASTW and new members who joined from 1 May, 2017 are not required to substantiate.

For more information, please see Substantiation Guidelines or Frequently Asked Questions on the ASTW website.

The ASTW is a 300-strong group of travel writers, editors, radio and television broadcasters, digital influencers, bloggers, guide book authors, photographers and travel industry public relations professionals whose work appears regularly in major newspapers, magazines, airwaves and websites across Australia and the world.

Member benefits include networking with like-minded industry professionals at regular events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne; professional development seminars; the ASTW Awards for Excellence; access to member contact details and TravMedia; and travel industry discounts and deals. The highlight of the ASTW calendar is the annual convention and famil program held between August and November in Australia or overseas.

For more information about the ASTW or to become a member, please visit How to apply or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on secretariat@astw.org.au

Registration and Famil Preferences Open for 2018 Thailand Convention

Registration for the Australian Society of Travel Writers 2018 Convention in Thailand is now open. The program, sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand, features an array of inspiring speaker sessions, the annual general meeting, Awards for Excellence gala dinner, and an impressive choice of famil destinations.

Providing excellent value, the cost of $950 for writer members and $1,050 for PR members includes flights with Thai Airways International; accommodation at a choice of two 5-star hotels, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort or AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel; the convention program; networking events; plus a three day famil itinerary, available to both writer and PR members.

Tourism Authority of Thailand’s comprehensive pre or post famil program is themed around “Unique Thai Local Experiences” with a selection of 11 itineraries that span the country – from hillside villages to national parks and island retreats.

Explore Chiang Mai’s beautiful temples, local arts and crafts and the award-winning Mae Kampong Eco Village on the “Cultural Treasures, The Highest Summit, The Best Eco Village” itinerary. Tour Phrae and Nan, historic towns known for Lanna temples, beautiful teak mansions and tranquil lifestyle on the “Tranquil Old Towns with Unique Thai – Laos Culture” itinerary. Or discover white sandy beaches, dramatic rock features and turquoise waters dotted with shallow coral reefs on the “Krabi’s Green and Local Tourism & Bangkok’s All Time Favourites” itinerary.

Convention bookings and famil preferences close on 15 April, 2018 with members notified of their allocated famil from 4 May. Flight bookings close 30 June.

To register for the convention and submit famil preferences, visit 2018 ASTW Convention bookings.

Non-members interested in joining the ASTW can join this month and may be eligible to attend the convention.

For more information about the ASTW or to become a member, visit How to apply to join the ASTW or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on secretariat@astw.org.au.

ASTW Announces 2018 Convention Key Dates, Hotel & Airline Partners

The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) announces key dates and event partners for the 2018 Convention, ahead of registrations opening next week. Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand, the convention will be held in Bangkok from 16-19 August at Anantara Riverside Hotels and Avani Riverside with an exclusive flight offer available from Thai Airways International.

Registration and flight bookings open 5 March via astw.org.au. Key dates include:

  • Convention registration: 5 March-15 April
  • Flight bookings: 5 March-30 June
  • Members notified of famils: from 4 May
  • Convention: 16-19 August 

The 2018 Convention consists of a three-day program of events; including speaker sessions and workshops, the annual general meeting, and events culminating in the Awards for Excellence gala dinner.

Award sponsorships and speaking opportunities are available for members and non-members. For sponsor enquiries, please contact secretariat@astw.org.au. For speaking opportunities, please send a pitch to pr@astw.org.au.

Tourism Authority of Thailand’s 2018 messaging “Open to the New Shades of Thailand” showcases the depth of Thailand’s tourism as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further. A comprehensive pre and post famil program for media and PR members is themed around “Unique Thai Local Experiences” with a selection of 11 itineraries, from hillside villages to national parks and island retreats.

Set on the banks of the grand Chao Phraya River, Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort is a thriving oasis offering a unique way to experience the City of Angels. Majestic palms swaying in the breeze. Spa treatments hidden within lush tropical gardens. Luxurious suites lit by the twinkle of the city skyline. Delectable meals fusing tastes from around the globe.

At AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel, wake up in rooms and suites with arresting views – each and every one looks over the river and the city skyline. Wine and dine sky high and toast to the City of Angels taking in the panoramic views of the city’s skyscape. Treat yourself to a spa day or lounge by the rooftop infinity pool.

During 2018, Thai Airways International celebrates 58 years flying travellers from the heart of Asia across the world and 47 years connecting Australians with the world’s favourite Asian city, Bangkok. THAI now flies 39 times a week from Australia with daily services from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and connections through its global hub, Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport, to popular destinations in Thailand and across Asia to India and Europe.

For more information about ASTW or to become a member, visit www.astw.org.au or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on secretariat@astw.org.au.

 

Kris Madden

Vale – Kris Madden

It is with the deepest sadness The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) announces the unexpected passing of Kris Madden.

Kris was a multi-award-winning travel writer and editor, past president, secretariat and beloved member of the ASTW.

Kris held a Master of Applied Science in Communication Management and a special interest in wildlife tourism having studied Zoology at university. She also worked as an expedition leader and guide in Antarctica, the Russian Far East and the South Pacific.

Her travels have taken her to more than 60 countries and led her to be the respected editor of magazines including Traveltalk and TravelBulletin along with founding Eco Media Group. Her work appeared in a variety of print and online publications including National Geographic, Traveller, The Australian, Australian Geographic, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Sun Herald, Sunday Telegraph, Cruise Passenger, Vacations & Travel, Get Up & Go, Discovery Channel, Flight Centre Travel Ideas and Yahoo! among many others.

Kris, a full writer member of the ASTW was also a member of the Foreign Correspondents Association and a judge in the annual HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence and the Exhibition & Event Association of Australia awards.

Kris will be missed by our members and we send our prayers and condolences to Tony, her family and friends.