2016 HM Awards Winners Presented in Front of Record 700 Attendees

The winners of the 2016 HM Awards for Accommodation Excellence were named in front of a record 700 attendees on 2 September at Sydney Town Hall. There were a total of 68 winners on the night.

ASTW former committee member, Karena Noble from Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, won the award for Communications Associate, sponsored by TravMedia.

AccorHotels collected 10 awards, including the coveted accolade of Accommodation Chain of the Year.

For the full list of winners, visit: http://www.hmawards.com.au/

PATA Gold Award for ASTW Member

Congratulations to Roderick Eime for winning the PATA Gold Award 2016 for his story “Da Nang breathing fire” in the Travel Journalism – Destination Article category.

The story appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, which you can read here: https://issuu.com/rodeime/docs/vactrav96_danang_cruise

Rod is a long-standing ASTW member and has been a freelance writer and photographer for more than 20 years.

Finalists 2016 ASTW Travel Awards of Excellence

Travel Writer of the Year – Sponsored by South Africa Tourism

Craig Tansley
Coming Up Trumps – Traveller – Fairfax Media
The Last Great Ski Town – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Maldives Luxury Adventure on a Budget – Traveller – Fairfax Media

Kerry van der Jagt
Where to Sing and Swim with Wild Dolphins – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Grin and Bear It – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Myanmar: Floating on a wave of hope for a new beginning – Traveller – Fairfax Media

John Borthwick
Where the Cold War Thawed – The Weekend Australian
Burmese Daze – Traveller – Fairfax Media
In the Wake of Cape Crusaders– Traveller – Fairfax Media

Photographer of the Year – Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand
Dan Avila – Alone in the Universe/Love on the Bosphorus/Heaven
Jocelyn Pride – Three Pillars of Travel: Protect/Respect/Reflect
Mark Daffey – Antiquity/Harmony/Destiny

Best Story about the AGM Host Destination – Sponsored by Voyages Indigenous Tourism
Justine Costigan – Written in the Stars – Jetstar magazine
Angela Saurine – The Heart of the Rock – Best Weekend – News Ltd
Marie Barbieri – The Red Beating HeartAustralia & New Zealand magazine

Best Family Travel Story – Sponsored by Signature Media
Belinda Jackson – Dolphin Island Fiji: Family Experience for a chosen few – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Helen Hayes – Salzburg – A Favourite Thing – Holidays with Kids magazine
Sheriden Rhodes – Island Life Revisited – Five Star Kids Magazine
Mark Daffey –Are We There Yet? – Traveller – Fairfax Media

Best Travel Blog – Sponsored by TFE Hotels
Girl Tweets World – Jayne Gorman
Boy Eats World – Aleney de Winter
Rene Young – Together We Roam

Best Travel Broadcaster – Sponsored by Tourism and Events Queensland
Ben Groundwater – Beauty and the Backpacker travel web series – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Quentin Long – Mornings/Today Extra – Channel 9
Greg Grainger – Greg Grainger TV

Best Australian Story – Sponsored by Tourism Australia
Kerry van der Jagt – Where to swim and sing with dolphins – Traveller – Fairfax Medi
Andrew Bain – Cape Crusaders – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Celeste Mitchell – Girls Just Wanna Have 4WD Fun – Escape – News Ltd

Best Food Story – Sponsored by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
Sue Wallace – Summer in Aspen – Delicious
Sue Gough Henly – Dining for the Greater Good – Australian Traveller magazine
Carla GrossettiA Taste of HistoryCuisine magazine

Best Responsible Tourism story – Sponsored by Intrepid Travel
Kerry van der Jagt – Monaco’s Prince Albert is on a Mission to protect the environment – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Andrew Bain – Nature’s treasure trove – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Jocelyn Pride – Alaska Untouched – Wellbeing

Best Adventure Story – Sponsored by G Adventures
Andrew Bain – Back to Peak Performance – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Catherine Marshall – Drums of the Jungle God – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Roderick Eime – Southern Exposure – MINDFOOD magazine
Lee Atkinson – Driving Across the Simpson Desert – Traveller – Fairfax Media

Best Cruise Story – Sponsored by Hawaii Tourism Oceania
John Borthwick – Burmese Daze – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Jocelyn Pride – It’s (not) all Akademik – International Traveller magazine
Craig Tansley – Maldives Luxury Adventure – Traveller – Fairfax Media

Best International Story Over 1000 words – Sponsored by AccorHotels
Craig Tansley – Where Cross Country Skiing is a Religion – Traveller – Fairfax Media
John Borthwick – Where the Cold War Thawed – Weekend Australian
Marian McGuinness – Scents and Sensibility – Weekend Australian

Best International Story Under 1000 words – Sponsored by Macau Government Tourist Office
Rob McFarland – Cowboy in Training – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Kerry van der Jagt – In Wake of Van Gogh – Traveller – Fairfax Media
Tim Richards – A Boy and A Coin – Traveller – Fairfax Media

Best Tourism and Travel Trade Story
Kristine Madden – The Wheel of Fortune – Travel Bulletin
Lee Mylne – Traversing the Long, Open Road – Travel Bulletin
Sheriden Rhodes – Well, well, well – Traveller – Fairfax Media


Communicator or Communications Team of the Year – Sponsored by Travmedia
Klick Communications
Karena Noble

PR Campaign of the Year – Sponsored by Travmedia
Kim McKay – Positively Wellington Tourism
Karena Noble – Launch of Field of Light Uluru
Natalie Schofield – Westin – World Sleep Day

Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product – Sponsored by ZOIK
Caroline Davidson – Rocky Mountain International
Karena Noble – Ayers Rock Resort Indigenous Tourism
Leigh Maloney – The Little Nell


ASTW Convention and Awards 2016

The ASTW Awards for Excellence 2016 will be held in Cape Town, South Africa!

ASTW Convention and Awards 2015 – Finalists

The ASTW Awards for Excellence have been announced.


Many thanks to our members for making submission this year, I hear it made the judging a very hard task.


Can’t wait to hear who will be the winners when they are announced at the Awards for Excellence dinner in the
Spiritual heart of Australia, Uluru, at our convention.


Warm Regards

KH signature Kerry

Kerry Heaney

ASTW President
Award Category
ASTW Travel Writer of the Year

Catherine Marshall – Cuba: why this Caribbean island is a must-see travel destination; Scaling great heights; & Myanmar: how tourism has transformed this southeast Asian hotspot

Ben Groundwater – A day in the life of an Argentine cowboy; Where to find real cowboys; & Why you should visit a Muslim country

Daniel Scott – Beyond Utopia; The Tiwi Islands, the other “isle of smiles”; & Why you should visit Borneo right now

ASTW Travel Photographer of the Year

Mark Daffey – Reflection Time; High Dune; & Slow Boat to Halong

Kara Murphy – Turtle Party Southern Great Barrier Reef; Three Mermaids in Fiji; & Joyful Lady Elliot Turtle

Jocelyn Pride – Castaway; Hideaway; & Flyaway

Lee Atkinson – Buchan – East Gippsland; Pinnacles Desert; & Kakadu sunset

Best Travel and Tourism News Story

Serena Renner – Ace’s Next Hand

Kristine Madden – Profits with Principles

John Borthwick – Thailand’s cutting edge industry


Best Australian Travel Story

Andrew Bain – Savannah Strolling

Catherine Marshall  – Adrift in time: Ferry cruise gives insight into Tiwi life

Christine Retschlag  – Call of the Country


Best International Travel Story under 1000 words

Ben Groundwater  – Where to learn the tango in Buenos Aires

Kerry van der Jagt  – A feeling for ice

Robert McFarland  – Sunset kayak to island volcano

Catherine Marshall  – Sky’s the limit in the white powder of Breckenridge


Best International Travel Story over 1000 words

Craig Tansley  – Atacama, The Real Never Never Land

Catherine Marshall  – Myanmar: how tourism has transformed this south-east Asian hotspot

Louise Southerden  – Falling in love again (Berlin, Germany: Falling in love at second sight with this captivating capital)


Best Adventure Travel Story

Carla Grossetti – Riding the world’s longest rollercoaster zipline

Daniel Scott – Four-wheel driving adventure on the Gibb River Road, Western Australia

Andrew Bain – Small stature, great heights


Best Responsible Tourism Story

Kerry van der Jagt – Closer Encounters

Jocelyn Pride – The Mane Event

Julie Miller – In the Heart of Giants


Best Cruise Travel Story

John Borthwick – Rollin’ on the River Chindwin

Kerry van der Jagt – When a river ran red

Kerry van der Jagt – Amazon River cruise in Peru: Close Encounters


Best Food Travel Story

Belinda Jackson – Spice and all things nice

Tim Richards – Aussie Cafes Take Manhattan

Ben Groundwater – Where to find the best pizza in Naples


Best Travel Blog or Travel App of the Year

Rob Dunlop – Thirst For Sydney

Christine Salins – foodwinetravel.com.au

Christina Pfeiffer – travel2next.com


Best Digital Innovation

Christina Pfeiffer – TravelThereNext and Travel2Next

Lee Atkinson – OzyRoadTripper does the Big Lap

Daniel Scott – The Ultimate Travel Journalism Course


Best Travel Story about the AGM host destination -Fiji
Belinda Jackson – Resplendent, to be Pacific
Sheriden Rhodes – The happiest place on earth
Catherine Marshall – The underwater milky way


Best Communicator or Communications Team of the Year

Klick Communications

Macau Government Tourist Office

Karena Noble – Voyages Indigenous Tourism


Best PR Campaign of The Year – Digital or Traditional

Klick Communications – Klick Communications developed a strategic campaign to increase awareness and visitation to the Mudgee Region; Mudgee Smuggler experience.

GTI Tourism – HOT (Happening, Ownable, Talkable) and sharable. This campaign successfully raised the profile of New Caledonia and inspired a new audience to travel.

Darcy PR – For Australia’s largest cruise ship Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas was returning to Australia after an $US80 million make-over including the introduction of the first FlowRider surf machine at sea.


Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product

P4 – Group Seahaven Noosa is a luxury resort, located on world famous Hastings St in Noosa.

GTI Tourism – In March 2015, Vanuatu was hit by a category five cyclone which left devastation in its path. This caused havoc for Vanuatu’s major industry, tourism, which accounts for around 6,000 jobs. Subsequent media coverage spiralled and with limited communications inaccurate information quickly spread, causing alarm amongst the travel trade and travellers.