Australia’s travel industry was in full gala mode on Saturday night as the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) delivered the biggest award celebration the industry has ever seen.
The National Travel Industry Awards 2016 (NTIA) filled the Pavilion Darling Harbour with industry guests from around Australia. Thirty-eight travel industry individuals and businesses, recognised and awarded for their excellence and contribution to the travel industry, took to the stage.
Sometimes winners accepted awards on their own – in other cases the whole team went on stage together.
Helloworld Limited was awarded Best Travel Agency Group and Best Non-Branded Travel Agency Group. Queanbeyan City Travel and Cruise was announced People’s Choice: Retail Travel Agency of the Year and George Hedley was awarded with the 2016 Emirates Travel Consultant Scholarship, to name a few.
The full list is:
YOUNG AGENT OF THE YEAR: Brendan Ma, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, VIC
BEST TRAVEL CONSULTANT – RETAIL: Derek Neighbour, Flight Centre MET Centre NSW
BEST TRAVEL CONSULTANT – CORPORATE: Sam La Rosa, Show Group Enterprises NSW
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY MANAGER – RETAIL SINGLE LOCATION: Kobi Henderson, Flight Centre Sydney Airport, NSW
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY MANAGER – CORPORATE SINGLE LOCATION: Cherie Drummond, Corporate Travel Management, NSW
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY MANAGER – RETAIL MULTI LOCATION: Louise Dann, helloworld Hunter Travel Group, NSW
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY MANAGER – CORPORATE MULTI LOCATION: Andre Moten, Corporate Travel Management, QLD
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY – RETAIL SINGLE LOCATION: Bicton Travel
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY – RETAIL MULTI LOCATION: Escape Travel Toronto, Kotara, Glendale and Mt Hutton
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY – CORPORATE SINGLE LOCATION: Spencer Travel
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY – CORPORATE MULTI LOCATION: Stage and Screen Travel Services
BEST BUSINESS EVENTS TRAVEL AGENCY: Event Travel Management
BEST TRAVEL MANAGEMENT COMPANY: Corporate Travel Management
BEST TRAVEL AGENT TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION: Qantas Groups Website, Qantas Airways
BEST TRAVEL WRITER: Allan Leibowitz
BEST REGISTERED TRAVEL INDUSTRY TRAINING INSTITUTION: TAFE Sydney Travel & Tourism
BEST HOTEL / RESORT GROUP: Outrigger Resorts
YOUNG SALES EXECUTIVE – INDUSTRY SUPPLIER: Sarah Hoskin, Topdeck Travel, NSW
BEST SALES EXECUTIVE – INDUSTRY SUPPLIER: Elizabeth Hutchinson, Air New Zealand, NSW
BEST AGENCY SUPPORT SERVICE: Cover More Travel Insurance
BEST TOURIST OFFICE – INTERNATIONAL: Dubai Tourism
BEST INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE – OFFLINE: Finnair
BEST INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE – ONLINE: Emirates
BEST DOMESTIC AIRLINE: Virgin Australia
BEST CAR / CAMPERVAN RENTAL OPERATOR: Hertz
BEST ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCY: Cruise Guru
BEST SPECIALITY WHOLESALER: The Africa Safari Co
BEST TOUR OPERATOR – DOMESTIC: APT
BEST WHOLESALER – AUSTRALIAN PRODUCT: Sunlover Holidays
BEST TOUR OPERATOR – INTERNATIONAL: Trafalgar
BEST WHOLESALER – INTERNATIONAL PRODUCT: Excite Holidays
BEST CRUISE OPERATOR – DOMESTIC DEPLOYMENT: Royal Caribbean International
BEST RIVER CRUISE OPERATOR: APT
BEST CRUISE OPERATOR – INTERNATIONAL DEPLOYMENT: Royal Caribbean International
EMIRATES TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIP: George Hedley, Events Worldwide Travel, VIC
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: RETAIL TRAVEL AGENCY OF THE YEAR: Queanbeyan City Travel and Cruise
BEST NON-BRANDED TRAVEL AGENCY GROUP: Helloworld for Business
BEST TRAVEL AGENCY GROUP (50 OUTLETS OR MORE): Helloworld Limited
The attending airline sponsors lavished ticket give-aways on guests. Major sponsor Qantas, in partnership with American Airlines, gave two return business class flights. The Star Alliance network of 27 airlines delighted guests with more than 50 prizes in the napkin scratch and win promotion. Beverage sponsor Air New Zealand (“the drinks are on us!”) wowed guests with an epic give-way: 27 airline tickets to various destinations to celebrate their international flight routes.
Tourism Fiji gave guests a warm welcome on the chilly Saturday evening and thanks to EMCEE Sponsor Dubai Tourism, multi-awarding winning journalist and TV personality Anjali Rao steered the proceedings with elegance and style – sometimes having to rein back the high-volume of her enthusiastic audience.
Acclaimed performer/actor Johnny Ruffo delivered a high energy performance thanks to Express Travel Group and guest celebrations continued into the early hours of the morning at the Singapore Airlines After Party at The Watershed, Darling Harbour.
AFTA chief executive, Jayson Westbury, said that AFTA, “together with our valued and important sponsors are very proud to have once again delivered such a spectacular event.”
Written by Peter Needham