Australia’s top travel writers and public relations professionals were honoured at the annual ASTW Awards for Excellence gala held at Anantara Riverside, Bangkok Thailand, on 19 August, 2018.
These prestigious awards are now in their 25th year and are a highlight of the annual ASTW Convention, with more than 120 guests travelling from across Australia to attend.
The top writer accolade, Travel Writer of the Year, sponsored by Visit USA Australia, was awarded to Catherine Marshall for a second consecutive year. She was judged on three stories published in Qantas magazine, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller section.
Ms Marshall was also awarded Best Food Story sponsored by United Airlines and the Best International Story under 1000 words, sponsored by the Insurance Council of Australia.
“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 this award,” said Catherine Marshall.
ASTW Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent, went to Dan Avila, “It’s an extreme honour to receive this award for a third consecutive year. 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.”
In a clean sweep, Dan also won the inaugural Best Instagram Photo sponsored by the ASTW 2018 Convention destination host Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Best Travel Photo sponsored by Thai Airways International.
The top PR accolade, Communicator of the Year, sponsored by TravMedia, was awarded to Pip Macken from DC&A Worldwide – Destination Canada.
Ms Macken said she was thrilled to be recognised among such amazing talent and thanked the ASTW and its members for their loyal support and encouragement.
“Working for Destination Canada is truly the dream job and I’m so grateful to have the chance to work alongside Aussie writers and photographers who are such fantastic Canada advocates.”
Other categories included Best Family Travel Story, Best Australian Story Over and Under 1000 words and Best Food Travel Story. All 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. More than 490 entries – a record breaking number – were received across the 20 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 the Tourism Authority of Thailand, who were the major sponsor of this year’s convention. Finally, thank you to our esteemed judges from Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, India, Sweden and the USA. Each award has three independent judges, each of whom gives their time to judge the awards. All commented on the high quality of work.”