The final countdown has begun to the travel event of the year. Though the two go together like airports and security queues we aren’t talking World Travel Market here – but this year’s British Guild of Travel Writers Gala Awards Dinner that heralds the show’s opening.
The great, the good and the discerning from the travel industry and its associated media will gather at London’s Savoy Hotel next Sunday (November 6), when the winners of our sought after Tourism Awards – voted for by the Guild’s members – will be revealed.
The unmissable event, now in its 19th year, is all but sold out, with only a few remaining seats to be snapped up by tourism officials, travel companies, PRs, travel journalists and digital influencers.
In addition to the evening’s accolades – they include those awarded by independent judges to our own members, for their writing and photography – there will be presentations from our sponsors. This year there are three:
Our main sponsor is Rixos Hotels, one of the world’s fastest growing hotel groups. The Antalya-based chain has 26 luxury 5-star hotels and resorts in locations primarily in Turkey, around the Black Sea, Egypt and the UAE. In July they opened The Land of Legends, a theme park in Turkey, which attracted half a million visitors in its first three months. Since their launch in 2000, Rixos Hotels have been showered with praise and awards. For example the all inclusive Bab Al Bahr in the Gulf emirate Ras Al Khaimah made last year’s Conde Naste Traveller Middle East Hot List.
The French city of Nice together with regional partner Côte d’Azur and national partner, Atout France, have generously supported the opening event of the evening: the Champagne Reception. Nice and the Côte d’Azur’s new marketing campaign encourages locals, visitors and all lovers of Nice to share their best moments and memories of the city by posting their photos, videos, tweets and music via #NiceMoments making them ambassadors for a city whose name is synonymous with art, gourmet eating, jazz and Mediterranean glamour. Its museums include this dedicated to the works of Matisse and Chagall, it has an unarguable unrivalled choice of restaurants – and its Jazz Festival, first staged in 1948, has featured stars from Louis Armstrong to Abdullah Ibrahim.
Our third sponsor is Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, whose many attractions include the fascinating, open air, Old Town Museum and the Art Museum, with its striking “Rainbow Panorama”. Aarhus has been chosen as one of 2017’s two European Capitals of Culture. The theme for the year’s busy programme of cultural and artistic festivals, events, and artworks, is ‘Let’s Rethink’. It seeks to challenge the world to use arts and culture as a means of exploring the choices we must make for our future.
This year’s charity is Survival International and we have a terrific selection of holidays as raffle prizes, generously donated to enable us to raise as much on the evening as possible to support this worthy cause. Survival International’s founding director, travel writer Robin Hanbury-Tennison will explain how the organisation helps tribal peoples defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.
And there may be a surprise in store for our dinner guests in the form of travel influencer performance poetry, from a well known BGTW member. But we couldn’t possibly reveal more!