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 www.astw.org.au

FULL LIST of WINNERS:

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

WINNER – ANGELA SAURINE
 Safari Surprises – Mamamia


OTHER FINALISTS
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

WINNER – ALENEY DE WINTER 

Angkor Away – Holidays with Kids magazine

OTHER FINALISTS

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  

WINNER – GREG GRAINGER – GREG GRAINGER TV

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

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

WINNER – MARIAN MCGUINNESS
A little Night Music in Sydney  – The Australian

OTHER FINALISTS
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 

WINNER – KERRY VAN DER JAGT
On the Dreaming Track – Qantas Magazine

OTHER FINALISTS
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

WINNER – JENNIFER ENNION
Arctic Jewels – Nourish

OTHER FINALISTS
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

WINNER – LOUISE SOUTHERDEN
Lighting Up Kolkata’s Slums – Momentum.Travel

OTHER FINALISTS
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

WINNERS – TRACEY CROKE & JAYNE D’ARCY
Tracey Croke – The Revival of Mavrovo – Adventure.Travel
Jayne D’Arcy – A Sacred Journey – Jetstar Magazine

OTHER FINALISTS
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 

WINNER – CAROLINE DAVIDSON – The Rees Hotel

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

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

WINNER – JOHN BORTHWICK
Passage to Paradise – Weekend Australian

OTHER FINALISTS
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

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

OTHER FINALISTS
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

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

OTHER FINALISTS
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

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

OTHER FINALIST
Relaunch of the Ultimo Hotel – Kim McKay – Klick Communications

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

WINNER – ANGELA SAURINE
Hot travel destinations FOR 2017 – Weekend Australian     

OTHER FINALISTS
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

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

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

WINNER – KARA MURPHY
Richelieu Rock star – Boat International

OTHER FINALISTS
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

WINNER – DC&A WORLDWIDE – DESTINATION CANADA – DONNA CAMPBELL/PIP MACKEN

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

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

WINNER – DAN AVILA
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

OTHER FINALISTS
               
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 

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

OTHER FINALISTS      

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