AITO announces 2012 Travel Writer of the Year awards

AITO today announces the results of its 16th Travel Writer of the Year awards.
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Nov. 21, 2012 - PRLog -- AITO today announces the results of its 16th Travel Writer of the Year awards. The three award categories – Travel Writer of the Year, Online Travel Writer of the Year and Young Travel Writer of the Year – were presented at the AITO Meets the Media event held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel on 20 November.

AITO Travel Writer of the Year
The winner of the AITO Travel Writer of the Year 2012 award is Oliver Smith, writing for Lonely Planet Traveller with a piece entitled ‘Legends of the Lunatic Express’, documenting his trip on Kenya’s pioneering railway line. The judges were impressed with Oliver’s “engrossing tale of an African journey that successfully portrayed a sense of personal adventure but one which the reader would feel they could also experience” and “his absorbing balance of anecdote, history, observation and personal encounters”.

In joint second place are Adrian Philips’ ‘Turtle Power’ piece in Wanderlust about Heron island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and Ian Belcher for Sunday Times Travel Magazine with his ‘Star Trek’ tale of hiking to Tasmania’s Bay of Fires, which judges found was written in “an engaging style, both informative and inspirational, making you want to go there”.

In third place is Stephen Bleach of The Sunday Times and his article ‘It is dormant, right?’ about descending 400ft into Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano. Judges commended Steve’s “typically really well-crafted and attention-grabbing style of writing”.  Steve won the AITO Travel Writer vyfxf of the Year award in both 2010 and 2011 and also back in 2001.

AITO Online Travel Writer of the Year
This category was introduced three years ago to reward the many excellent articles that are written for online outlets. The winner is Chris Leadbeater for Mail Online and his article ‘A lament for Aleppo: Memories of Syria’s second city in a time before war’. One of the judges commented: “I simply couldn’t agree more with Chris’s well-expressed sentiments”.

AITO Young Travel Writer of the Year
This winner of this award, which celebrates new travel writing talent, is Rory Goulding of Lonely Planet Traveller for his article ‘The Art of Japan’ about the ancient artistic capital of Kyoto. Judges recognised Rory’s article for its “fascinating detail and sheer well-researched writing”.  

Says Derek Moore, Chairman of AITO: “We congratulate all entrants for the high standard of work put forward for the awards.  It took a lot of time to read so many excellent pieces and to weigh up the pros and cons of each article, but it reminded the judges keenly just how much skilled and inspirational writing we are privileged to enjoy across our huge array of print and online publications in the UK.  The AITO awards specifically aim to reward writers whose copy is interesting, informative and inspirational.  Our 2012 winners crafted travel tales that duly interested the armchair reader and serial traveller alike, informed the reader of a myriad of relevant and fascinating facts and inspired them to pack their bags, or to dream of so doing.

“We hope that winners and runners-up will duly celebrate their well-earned success, and that these awards will encourage still more endeavour from a wide range of travel writers next year, too.”      

The association welcomes one entry per person for its Travel Writer of the Year Awards, and encourages travel editors to enter pieces that have been published on their pages or their sites during the course of the calendar year.  

Shortlisted from a total of over 150 entries, the names of those who scored highest are as follows:

The top five places for the AITO Travel Writer of the Year award 2012 are

1.)   Oliver Smith
2.)   Adrian Philips and Ian Belcher (joint second place)
3.)   Stephen Bleach
4.)   Tim Moore
5.)   Marcel Theroux and Richard Madden (joint fifth place)

The top five places for the AITO Online Travel Writer of the Year award 2012 are

1.)   Chris Leadbeater
2.)   Lindsay Hawdon
3.)   Peter Moore
4.)   Caroline Phillips
5.)   Alex Wade and Roger Bray (joint fifth place)

The top five places for the AITO Young Writer of the Year award 2012 are

1.)   Rory Goulding
2.)   Nick Boulos and Steve Vickers (joint second place)
3.)   Helen Warwick
4.)   Eve Middleton
5.)   Ianthe Butt

Thank you to everyone who entered for one of the AITO Travel Writer of the Year awards.

Ends 21 November 2012
Press:  For further information on AITO, please contact Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or email Stephanie Reed ( or Sue Ockwell (
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