Travel Awards

Travel Writing and Photography Awards Calendar

Travel Awards

Global Travel Awards

ASTW has partnered with the British Guild of Travel Writers and the Society of American Travel Writers for the inaugural Global Travel Awards. ASTW writers, photographers and PRs will be competing with colleagues from Britain and the US, with the winners pocketing US$1000 each as well as receiving a wonderful prize. More information here.

ASTW Awards for Excellence

The ASTW Awards are open only to ASTW members, with 21 categories in total. Entries close around 1 May 2020 and presented at the annual AGM in October. More information to be published soon. View the 2019 winners here.

CLIA – Media Award – Cruise Lines International Association

AFTA NTIA Awards – Australian Federation of Travel Agents

Nominations open Jan each year. Awards held in July.

Tasmanian Media Awards

Nominations close around mid-March. Awards held around May.

South Australian Media Awards

Entries close around March. Awards held around June.

PATA Gold – Award – Pacific Asia Travel Association

Entries close around April. Awards held around September.

Travel Media Awards (For work published in print or online in UK)

Entries close around April-May. Awards held in September.

Kennedy Awards – Outstanding Travel Writing

Entries close 1st July each year. Awards held around August.

Queensland Clarion Awards

Entries close mid-July. Awards held around September.

WA Media Awards

Entries open around June and close around August. Awards held around November.

NT Media Awards

Entries open around July and close around August. Awards held around November. 

Walkley Awards

Entries open around July and close around August. Awards held around November.

Australian Travel Awards

Categories include Social Media & PR Campaigns, Tourism Boards. Entries close around August. Awards held around November.

Photography Awards

Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize

Entries close around early March. Winners announced in May

National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

Categories include Nature, Cities, People. Entries close around March, late entries accepted until May for increased fee. Winners announced around June.

Head On Photo Festival

Categories include Portrait, Landscape, Mobile. Entries close around mid-February. Awards held around May.

Fremantle International Portrait Prize – Biennial Award

Entries closed for 2019. Exhibition 13-27 October 2019

Australian Photography Awards

Categories include Landscape, Travel/Street, Wildlife, Portrait, Mobile. Entries open June-Sept.

The Nature Conservancy 2019 Photo Contest

The global photo contest open in August. There will be a range of categories including one for Australia-based photographers, with fabulous local and global prizes you can win from a prize pool of $20,000.

National Photographic Portrait Prize

Entries open around October.

Underwater Tour Awards

This international underwater photography competition has five categories and closes 29 Feb 2020.

Prizes for each of the five category winners comprise; AUD$500 cash, a Nautilus Lifeline personal rescue beacon and Momento Pro AUD$250 photo book voucher PLUS an overarching GURU AWARD for the winning portfolio submission of a minimum of five (5) photos. The Guru winner will receive a Whales Underwater whale swim experience of 7 nights/5 days on the water in Tonga.

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 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 For speaking opportunities, please send a pitch to

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 or contact Secretariat, Justine White, on


The ASTW Awards of Excellence for 2017

Australia’s top travel writers and public relations professionals were honoured at the annual ASTW Awards for Excellence gala held at Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Queensland on 19 August, 2017.

The top writer accolade, Travel Writer of the Year was awarded to Catherine Marshall who was judged on three stories published in Qantas magazine, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller section. Catherine was also awarded Best International Story Over 1000 words.

“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 the Travel Writer of the Year award. I also thank AccorHotels for sponsoring the Best International Story Over 1000 Words category and Anthony Dennis for publishing my story,” said Catherine Marshall.

Photographer of the Year, with entrants judged on five images, went to Dan Avila: “It’s an extreme honour to receive this award for the second year in a row. 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.”

The top PR Accolade, Communicator or Communications Team of the Year, was awarded to Donna Campbell and Pip Macken from DC&A Worldwide – Destination Canada.

“This award would not have been possible without the hard work of the team in Canada and Australia, who work together to curate the essence of Canada for Australian journalists, so they can experience the destination through their own eyes and tell their passionate stories,” said Donna Campbell.

These prestigious awards are now in their 24th year and are a highlight of the annual ASTW Convention, with over 140 guests travelling from across Australia to attend.

Other categories included Best Family Travel Story, Best Travel Broadcaster, Best Australian Story Over and Under 1000 words and Best Food Travel Story. 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. Over 390 entries – a record breaking number – were received across the 19 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 with Visit Sunshine Coast, who were the major sponsor of this year’s convention. Finally, thank you to our esteemed judges from Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the USA who gave their time to judge the awards, all commenting on the high quality of work.”

For more information on the ASTW or to become a member visit


1) Best Story about AGM Host Destination 2016 Cape Town, South Africa – Sponsored by ASTW

 Safari Surprises – Mamamia

Aleney de Winter – Bites and Sites on the Streets of Stellenbosch – BoyEatsWorld
Shirley Sinclair – Drink in the Rugged Beauty – Sunshine Coast Sunday

2) Best Family Travel Story – Sponsored by Bound Round

Bound Round to sponsor major ASTW travel award


Angkor Away – Holidays with Kids magazine


Penny Watson – Rolling with the Kids  – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Tiana Templeman – Land Ahoy – Flight Centre Travel Ideas
Julie Miller – Jumbo Tales – Flight Centre Travel Ideas
Sheriden Rhodes – Family Face Time – Traveller/Fairfax Media

3) Best Travel Presenter – Sponsored by TFE Hotels  


Ben Groundwater – Flight of Fancy – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Pamela Wright – radio broadcaster

4) Best Australian Story under 1000 Words – Sponsored by Tourism Australia

A little Night Music in Sydney  – The Australian

Ben Groundwater – A taste of the original Australia – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Mark Daffey – Luck Be a Lady– Escape/News Ltd

5) Best Australian Story Over 1000 words – Sponsored by Tourism Australia 

On the Dreaming Track – Qantas Magazine

Craig Tansley – It’s a Long Way to the Top – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Andrew Bain – Camel trekking in the Flinders Ranges – Traveller/Fairfax Media

6) Best Food Travel Story – Sponsored by Outrigger Hotels & Resorts

Arctic Jewels – Nourish

Julie Miller – Eating in New Orleans– Traveller/Fairfax Media
Catherine Marshall – Great Southern Land – Qantas Magazine 

7) Best Responsible Tourism Story – Sponsored by Intrepid Travel

Lighting Up Kolkata’s Slums – Momentum.Travel

Mark Daffey – Thunder on the Mountain – Wild Magazine
Ben Groundwater – Poverty as a tourism attraction: Can travel to a developing country really make a difference?  – Traveller/Fairfax Media

8) Best Adventure Story – Sponsored by G Adventures

Tracey Croke – The Revival of Mavrovo – Adventure.Travel
Jayne D’Arcy – A Sacred Journey – Jetstar Magazine

Andrew Bain – Test your limits – Qantas magazine
Catherine Marshall – Africa’s Great Bat Invasion – Traveller/Fairfax Media
Andrew Bain – Grampians Peaks Trail  – Traveller/Fairfax Media
9) Best Tourism Organisation or Travel Product – Sponsored by Nugggit 


Kyoto Tourism – Alison Roberts-Brown
Glasgow Tourism – Laura Speirs 

10) Best Cruise Story – Sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association 

Passage to Paradise – Weekend Australian

Christine Retschlag – Beyond Bali – Holidays for Couples
Helen Hayes – She Sells the Seychelles – Vacations & Travel
Jocelyn Pride – A Voyage for the Soul – Cruise Passenger      
John Borthwick – Lao and Now – The Australian
11) Best International Story Over 1000 words – Sponsored by AccorHotels

On Board the Eastern & Oriental Express – Traveller/Fairfax Media

Louise Southerden – Morocco Unplugged – Traveller/Fairfax Media
John Borthwick – Maldives Surfing – Trailblazers’ Incredible Legacy – Traveller/Fairfax Media

12) Best International Story Under 1000 words – Sponsored by Sarawak Tourism

Mongolia’s Milk of Human Kindness – Traveller/Fairfax Media       

Belinda Jackson – Of Pharaohs and Heroes – Luxury Travel Magazine
Kerry Van der Jagt – Ice and Isolation – Luxury Travel Magazine      

13) PR Campaign of the Year – Sponsored by ASTW

Arrival of Ovation of the Seas to Australia – Gail D’Arcy/Royal Caribbean
Experience Aloha – Hawaii Tourism Oceania/Walshe Group – Janaya Birse

Relaunch of the Ultimo Hotel – Kim McKay – Klick Communications

14) Best Tourism and Travel News Story – Sponsored by ZOIK 

Hot travel destinations FOR 2017 – Weekend Australian     

Christine Retschlag – All Things Spice – Travel Bulletin
Mark Daffey – Let the Games Begin – Vacations & Travel

15) Best Travel Blog – Sponsored by Beyond Travel

WINNER – BOY EATS WORLD – Aleney De Winter

Have Wheelchair Will Travel – Julie Jones
The Global Goddess – Christine Retschlag

16) Best Travel Photo – Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand 

Richelieu Rock star – Boat International

Mark Daffey – Usual Suspects – Get Lost Magazine
Dan Bannister – Ancient Stepwell in Jodhpur – Holidays for Couples
Dan Avila – Miles Away – Club Marine Magazine
Mark Daffey – Mirror Image – Lonely Planet Asia

17) Communicator or Communications Team of the Year – Sponsored by TravMedia


Janaya Birse – Hawaii Tourism/The Walshe Group, Sabi Sabi Private Reserve

18) ASTW Photographer of the Year – Sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent

Vanishing Warmth – Vacations & Travel Magazine
Spa Pool – Caravan and Camping with Kids Magazine
Snowy Istanbul – Just Luxe
Ranger Sarah – Kimberley & Pilbara Holiday Planner 2017
Washed Stones – Vacations & Travel Magazine

Mark Daffey
Winter Wonderland – The Johnnie Walker House Edit
The Usual Suspects – Get Lost Magazine
Perahera Partying – Lonely Planet Asia
Mirror Image – Get Lost Magazine
Bo-Kaapster – Lonely Planet Asia

Danielle Lancaster
Badlands Sunrise – Vacations & Travel Magazine
Sand Dunes – Vacations & Travel Magazine
Lester – Vacations & Travel Magazine
Solomon Islands – Travel2Next
Whale Tail – Where Gold Coast

19) Travel Writer of the Year – Sponsored by Visit USA Australia 

Great Southern Land – Qantas Magazine       
After the Big Chill – The Australian
Africa’s Great Bat Invasion – Traveller/Fairfax Media


Penny Watson
Meals on Wheels – Traveller/Fairfax Media 
A Taste for Incognito – Vacations & Travel
Rolling with the Locals – Traveller/Fairfax Media    

Mark Daffey
The Avocado Canoe Club – Wild Magazine
Polar Opposite – The Johnnie Walker Edit
Here be Dragons – Great Walks

Kerry Van der Jagt
On the dreaming track – QantasLink Magazine
South Pacific Spring – Nat Geo Traveller        
Life in the Deep Freeze – Traveller/Fairfax Media

Jack Butters Award – Honorary award given to someone who has made an important contribution to the ASTW
WINNER –   Rama Gaind

ASTW names founder of G Adventures as convention keynote speaker

The Australian Society of Travel Writers has announced Canadian entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip as one of the keynote speakers at this years ASTW Convention and Awards Night to be held on the Sunshine Coast from August 18-22.

Poon Tip is the founder of adventure travel company and social enterprise G Adventures (, the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company. It has 23 offices worldwide and hosts 150,000 travellers a year on more than 650 tours (across all seven continents).

Passionate about travel’s power to change the world for the better, Poon Tip has become a global leader on social entrepreneurship, leadership, immersive travel and innovation. His myriad successes include founding the nonprofit foundation Planeterra in 2003; and bestselling first book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business.  His latest book Do Big Small Things, is a journal about life and travel that invites readers to share their own inspiration and creativity.

The ASTW looks forward to welcoming Poon Tip to the Sunshine Coast.

For more information about the ASTW, including sponsoring awards, lunches or events; attending events as a member’s guest; or for membership inquiries, please visit our website or contact secretariat Justine White on

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.